As Kofi Annan identified back in 2008, there are 860 million illiterate adults in the world, and
two thirds of these are women. Out of more than 100 million children not currently in school,
the majority are girls.
MDG3 calls for the elimination of the gender disparity in education for women and girls at
all levels, by 2015. In this visually beautiful video, Kakenya tells her uplifting story and it
illustrates the great things that can be accomplished if we uphold our commitment to achieve
the third MDG.
Her story is a wonderful example of the far reaching effects of women’s empowerment in a
single community. It demonstrates that enabling a female child to go to school, and to get an
education equal to that of a male child, will positively change the lives of all members of her
The story of Kakenya shows how this type of change, or cultural shift, in a community needs
to come from within the community itself, rather than from the outside. And, that change
begins with a conversation.
Providing an education for women and girls equips them with the confidence to speak out,
and to assert more control over their own lives. An education also creates a space in which
women and girls can speak freely, and in which they will be listened to with equal respect.
As Kakenya’s story show us, when given the opportunity to speak and act in an environment
equal to that of their male counterparts, women can, and do bring about incredible change.
Vital Voices is an organisation working across the world with people like Kakenya. They
empower women and girls to create spaces in which to lead and to assert their voices with
confidence, and to transform their communities.