Engaged at age 5, Dr. Kakenya Ntaiya experienced female genital mutilation (FGM) as a young teenager in preparation for marriage. Her life was set to follow the traditional path of ending school to become a wife and mother, but Kakenya had a different dream. She negotiated with her father to return to school after undergoing FGM. When she was accepted to college in the United States, she promised her community she would use her education to help the village in exchange for their support. Kakenya went to earn her PhD in education and returned to her community to fulfil her promise.
In 2009, the Kakenya Center for Excellence boarding school opened doors, serving 30 students. Today, Dr. Kakenya Ntaiya reaches thousands of young girls and community members each year through the holistic, and girl-centered programs she pioneered at Kakenya’s Dream.
Kakenya is a proud CNN Hero Finalist and National Geographic Emerging Explorer. She was recognised by Women in the World as a “Woman of Impact” and named a Top Ten CNN Hero. Kakenya was also named one of Newsweek Magazine’s “150 Women Who Shake the World” in 2011 and counted among the Women Deliver 100: The Most Inspiring People Delivering for Girls and Women.