Entito Sidai is a registered Community-Based Organization (CBO) in Kajiado County, Kenya that focuses majorly on matters on women, girls, and children. The CBO has a special interest in the girl child.
How The Organisation was conceived.
Ms. Caroline Wairimu Kamau – the Organisation’s Founder and Executive Director, while on a trip encountered a group of expectant teenage school girls; a situation that made her hugely curious. Why were such young girls, teenagers, and even school going, expectant? She then proceeded to ask their teacher how come the situation was so, and to her dismay, the girls had been rescued from Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and Child Marriages, a practice hugely common in the Maasai Community in Kenya despite the fact that it is illegal. In that instance, Ms. Caroline thought of what she could do about the situation, to also help several other girls in the region, bearing similar experiences. That birthed Entito Sidai. – ‘An initiative that would address such issues first by harmonizing the community, its residents and culture’
“‘Entito Sidai’ means ‘the beautiful girl’ in the Maasai dialect. We chose to name the organization in the local language so as to give the community a sense of belonging to the initiative.” – Betty Cherotik Chepkwesi, staff at the CBO reveals.
On Discussing the Challenges they have faced while performing towards their objectives, the Organisation reveals that it’s the;
- Lack of funding
We are yet to receive any funding to run the projects involved. We rely on individual member contribution to run our projects which are very strenuous. However, recently we are considering a crowdfunding activity to finance our projects. Our projects entail running a nutrition program by supplying porridge flour, supplying sanitary pads to the girls, and mentorship.
The funding issue causes another strain as we are then unable to pay our volunteers as we are not funded. We are however grateful that we have a group of volunteers who have been committed to the course and they meet their transport and lunch costs in case of outreach events. In the meantime, we are still hopeful that we shall get to a point where can pay our volunteers.
- The Corona pandemic
Due to the government directives to quarantine and placing some towns on lockdown, the quarantine conditions have hindered the group from working and accessing Kajiado County. Schools have been closed and people have been advised to isolate themselves in their houses. We are affected because the projects carried out by the organization are normally 90% field-based, as opposed to working behind a desk.
- Nomadic lifestyle
The Maasai live a nomadic lifestyle hence often, we experience conflict between the children who’ve run away from their homes with their parents and locals because education to the girl child is less valued by the community. Girl child education is yet to be amplified. However, we have been able to work closely with local children’s office and local elders to ensure that due process is followed when rescuing the children.
- Young motherhood and Education
Sometimes the young mothers in schools and rescue centers struggle to balance motherhood and education. Also, the children in general struggle to transition to other environments such as boarding high schools or even going home as some parents completely cut off communication with their children when they find out they run away. The runaway children are often considered a disgrace by their families and communities. This has been a challenge for school mothers.
Transition to the community after finishing their education is yet another challenge. In schools, Entito Sidai works closely with the Administration who in their experience have been very supportive in offering a matron to assist the young mums in this transition.
To minimize conflicts between the parents and the teachers, the organization often conducts reintegration and reconciliation programs that see through the children successfully back home and their community.
Entito Sidai has managed to achieve a number of its objectives to the Maasai children, as many of them are staying in school and ditching FGM (Female Genital Mutilation).
Other Achievement by the organization includes;
Successful Pad drive events, mentorship programs, Sports for peace events, organizing birthdays for charity, a nutrition program at kumpa Holy mother’s primary school that caters for both early childhood development education and lower primary pupils, thanks to their partnership for good with ‘Cup of Uji’ Kenya.
The Organisation has also recently several awards such as;
- The Social Entrepreneur of the Year under 30 Finalist during the FOYA (Founder of the year awards) awards 2019.
- The Opportunity Desk Award, courtesy of the ODIC 2019 as the Top 30 under 30 Change Makers.
- The People’s Choice Awards finalists organized by Opportunity Desk courtesy of ODIC 2019 (Opportunity Desk Impact challenge 2020)
Publications in which Entito Sidai has featured include:
- The FOYA Awards (Founder of the Year awards) 2019
2. Entito Sidai interview at KUTV (Kenyatta Television University Kenya)
3. Entito Sidai Interview at a local daily called Kenyan Vibe.
4. ODIC 2019 Top 30 under 30 changemakers
5. ODIC February 2020 Changemaker of the month
In the next ten years, Entito Sidai would be able to reach out to girls not only in Kajiado but also nation-wide, advocating for the end of the retrogressive practices.
The Organisation’s advice to the youth is that “you can achieve that which you dream or think only if you start it. Get the idea and work on it with determination.”
To donate to the Organisation or get in touch, Find Entito Sidai via
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