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Community Impact: Activating Local Leaders in the Fight for Education

WCF’s Community Impact Partner empowers local leaders in their mission to change the lives of young girls and their communities through access to education.

 

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WCF’s community impact partner, For The Good, works to help girls in sub-Saharan Africa stay in school. A key aspect of FTG’s approach is activating local leadership. As individuals respected by and involved with the community, local leaders are uniquely positioned to create lasting change. Christine, whose story was originally published on FTG’s website, is one of those local leaders. By attending WCF, you support FTG and make her work possible.

 

Christine Mpoe, our coordinator for our Team Angaza interns, offers a powerful role model to local girls because her own remarkable life journey reflects many of the same overwhelming barriers they face –– and shows that it’s possible, with deep courage and persistence, to overcome them. 

As a child, she lived in significant poverty after her mother left due to the painful violence she was experiencing in the home. Then, compounding the economic poverty, she had a baby after a devastating encounter when she was in Grade Six. Her father arranged a marriage for her after she had her baby and wanted her to quit school.

But Christine refused. She found a woman to caretake her baby and a sponsor to help her pay for secondary school. When those funds ran out the following year, she began sneaking into her former classroom to learn as much as she could before being kicked out. Later, she found a different sponsor to help her pay for her final years of high school and entered University. 

While in college, she journeyed across Kenya back to her village to first rescue her younger sister from an arranged marriage and then, on subsequent trips, the baby she had in Grade Seven, and later, two more girls from early marriages. She paid her own way through college selling her Maasai beadwork, ultimately earning a bachelors in Gender Studies and a minor in IT. In the process, she became one of just a few Maasai women in the region where we work to earn a university degree. 

“It’s very difficult for people to change,” says Christine, reflecting on the painful exile she was subjected to after she chose to reject the marriage her father arranged for her and pursue her education instead. “It’s like trying to build without the right materials….Girls need the love of their fathers, but they may have to lose that to change the culture of early marriage. Now, I teach girls how to accept and live without that. Helping them by buying them necessities like pads and panties or food so they can stay in school, and sometimes even helping them to run away from forced marriage is risky. But these challenges are stepping stones to a different, brighter future. To have vision and an education is key to change.”

 

Join us at WCF 2024 to support For The Good and local leaders like Christine, who are changing the lives of young girls and their communities. Your attendance makes this work possible and allows you to empower women across your industry and across the world.