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Akili Dada

2014 Annual Report Nurturing Young Women’s Innovation






Brain Ability Intellect Strategy Knowledge Competence

Sister Sisterhood A term of endearment and familiarity among women

We envision a world in which African women leaders are actively participating in key decision-making processes across sectors. To nurture transformative leadership in girls and young women from underprivileged backgrounds to meet the urgent need for more African women in leadership. 2

WHO IS AKILI DADA? Akili Dada is an international award winning leadership incubator cultivating transformative leadership in a generation of young African women.

Scholars Community Leaders Thought Leaders

Our leadership development programs create the foundation on which young women ages 13-35 acquire the necessary skills to access key decisionmaking roles and leadership positions. By selecting from, and building the capacity of some of Africa’s most innovative young women, we are meeting the urgent need for both more African women in leadership, as well as the overall need for creative leadership that holds justice at its core.



Social Entrepreneurs

Akili Dada’s

Problem African women from underprivileged backgrounds are vastly underrepresented in decision-making roles and processes across the continent. This absence is directly correlated with women’s lack of access to quality education, relevant networks, skills, financial resources and basic human rights.


Strategies & Outcomes Financial Investment Girls and young women: • Have increased access to funding opportunities • Lead and implement social change projects • Access quality education • Scale projects to sustainability

Leadership Development

Skills Training


Girls and young women: • Develop self efficacy • Gain heightened social and emotional intelligence • Build skills grounded in service to others • Innovate against challenges in their communities • Realize their agency

Girls and young women: • Gain relevant 21st century skills • Are equipped with life-skills • Build hard & soft skills to better manage initiatives • Have job preparedness skills • Can increase and measure the impact of their projects

African women: • Develop intergenerational learnings and relationships • Build sisterhood and communities of support • Pay it forward through peer mentorship • Access networks

Results Girls and young women challenge the status quo

Increased percentage of girls have access to quality education

Young women leaders have a competitive edge to access the job market and leadership positions

Young women practice empathy in their leadership

Girls and young women engage in a global sisterhood

Young women have a holistic understanding of what it means to be a leader

Girls and young women practice collaborative leadership and invest in one another

Improved standard of living

Positive change occurs in the communities

Girls and young women have the skills necessary to lead effectively

The narrative is shifted to one in which African women are emboldened and support each other

Innovation is fostered across sectors




Akili Dada nurtures future leaders through two core programs that are strategically designed to equip budding leaders with the internal resources and skills necessary to effect change in their communities.

YOUNG CHANGEMAKERS PROGRAM This program creates opportunities for girls age 13-19 to develop as leaders in their schools and communities. Comprehensive Scholarships


Leadership Academies

Gap Year

We provide access to the highest quality secondary school education available in Kenya for academically talented and community minded young girls from underprivileged backgrounds. Akili Dada high school club members access an extensive network of devoted mentors drawn from a wide range of professional sectors. We provide leadership training and offer lifelong learning practices that our young women leaders can adapt as they grow in age and experience. We incorporate internship, intensive college preparation and experiential service-learning to prepare recent high school graduates for leadership in university and beyond.


INNOVATION IN LEADERSHIP PROGRAM This program has three components that work with young women aged 18 to 35. Dadas Ignite Fellowship We build the capacity of some of the continent’s most innovative young women changemakers to drive solutions to some of the biggest challenges facing African communities. In 2014, this program served as the catalyst for 15 of East Africa’s innovative women social entrepreneurs who collectively impacted over 15,000 people in just one year. Career Preparedness Workshops Invested in giving young women an unfair advantage, we equip budding young professionals with the right tools to transition into the job market and advance their careers. Young Women Leadership Development Dedicated to seeing more young women in decisionmaking roles across sectors, we work with student and community leaders to prepare them to become the change agents we need. In addition, we hold Dada Dialogue events to create space for young women to discuss global issues.



Clean Water In Chuka Beth Koigi’s project, Aqua Clean Initiative, aims to promote access to safe water for domestic use within the Rukindu Village in Chuka. Due to the mountainous nature of Chuka, the rivers from which the community gets their water are full of silt. At the start of Beth’s Fellowship, she was in the ideation stage. Over the course of the year, she worked with the community and experts to develop a prototype of a charcoal water filter that is affordable and effective. She has since also created educational materials around solar purification to accompany the filter. She is now being incubated and funded by the Innovation Lab at Strathmore University to scale her project.



Scholar Community Service

Club Social Enterprise

Due to intense deforestation in her area, Leah launched a tree-planting project in local primary schools with 1,000 KES and attracted additional funding from the Constituency Development Fund (CDF). Through her project, Leah is not only improving the conditions in her community, she is also raising awareness of environmental issues among youth.

The Maryhill Girls High School Akili Dada Club started an on-campus salon to offer low cost services to Maryhill students on the weekends. The Club invested KES 14,500 to purchase new blow dryers, adapters and combs to start the project. Beyond the value of the direct services provided, the Club is reinvesting their profits to support other students who are unable to pay school fees.



Memory Orode

Gloria Njoki

Humanity First Volunteer Program matches local under-staffed organizations with volunteers.

Deaf Outreach Program partners with local deaf schools to provide supplementary support to students.

Miriam Wambui Kamau Maendeleo Mtaa trains youth in information and communications technology (ICT).

Hadijah Nankanja

Beth Koigi

Wanjiru Kanuri

Community Women’s Enterprise Network cultivates and strengthens the capacity of Ivy Nyawira Mentoring girls on sexual and reproductive health, women entrepreneurs through production, packaging, branding, marketing, standardization, Ivy’s project increases awareness among girls of merchandising and promotions of their goods. their sexual and reproductive health and rights.

Aqua Clean supplies low cost charcoal water filters to communities in need.

Ayiorwoth Best Girls on Skills creates pathways to education and vocational training for girls who have dropped out of school.

Matasia Special Needs Centre provides therapy and rehabilitation services to children and youth with disabilities.

Lilian Balanga

Samburu Youth and Empowerment Organization Kenya (SYWEO) seeks to liberate women, girls and youth by working toward equal recognition Wilkister Ahinga Star Initiative nurtures talents and skills of youth and participation in the Samburu community and to give them a competitive edge in the job market. county governance.


U.S. Alumnae Academy

Where are they now?

Three Alumnae are currently attending university in the United States. They reunited in San Francisco for the annual Leadership Academy. During their visit, they attended the Akili Dada Concert, visited the Bay Area Video Coalition and Exploratorium, led a mentoring session around education with a group of immigrant and refugee youth at Oakland International High School, and hiked on the Northern California Coast.

Some of the first Akili Dada Scholars are now graduating from university. Sharon Adongo graduated from Vassar College and is now pursuing her passion in nonprofit technology at Uwazi Consulting. Angela Awour graduated from University of Nairobi and is now working at Standard Chartered Bank. Mwende Kyilungu has just graduated from University of Nairobi and is currently pursuing certifications to work in risk assessment.



Akili Dada Concerts

Dadas Lead Conference

In an effort to build community and awareness around girls’ and women’s issues, Akili Dada hosted concerts in Nairobi and San Francisco. Concerts featured women artists such as KIU, Maia Von Lekow, Fena Gitu, Zéna and Piwai. Executive Director, Purity Kagwiria, spoke to audiences about global sisterhood and the need for action to end violence against women during the 16 Days of Activism Campaign.

Each year, the Akili Dada community of Scholars, Alumnae, mentors, Board, staff and supporters come together to celebrate the achievements of the girls and young women in our programs. The theme of the 2014 conference was “Nurturing Young Women’s Innovation”. We welcomed a number of young trailblazers to share their work, successes and challenges with the audience.



In the next year, Akili Dada will continue to scale and refine our work. Based on our 2014 strategic planning meeting held with Akili Dada staff and Board, we have identified key result areas (KRA) where we will focus our development efforts.

Akili Dada KRAs KRA 1: Strengthening and Expanding Programs

KRA 2: Organizational Strengthening



• Diversify our programs to include more highly

• Invest in training and professional development

marginalized young women, including those with disabilities, refugees, pastoralists, etc. • Deliver top quality mentoring that enriches our core constituency. • Expand partnerships with additional schools and numbers of Scholars/Fellows. • Develop and Implement a Gap Year Program. • Develop and strengthen our Monitoring,

for both Board and staff members. • Develop more strategic partnerships with organizations and people who align with our values and standard of excellence. • Develop and strengthen our Monitoring, Learning and Evaluation processes on the level of the organization.

Learning and Evaluation processes on the level of programs.


KRA 3: Financial Sustainability

KRA 4: Improve Visibility and Public Engagement



• Expand our existing fundraising base and

• Build a strong local and international profile

mitigate dependency on one type of donor. • Experiment with alternative forms of revenue generation. • Acquire capital assets to contribute to financial sustainability. • Strengthen our Monitoring, Learning and evaluation processes on the level of finance and administration.

as a thought leader in the area of women’s leadership. • Increase our engagement with civil society and feminist movements in order to diversify and embolden the narratives of African women. • Develop a more comprehensive communications strategy, including additional assets that better tell our history and the story of our transition. • Improve integration of our fundraising and communication strategies. • Foster a vibrant social media presence to build our brand and grow our constituency. • Strengthen our monitoring, learning and evaluation processes on the level of communications.



Akili Dada had a budget of $820,000 in 2014


4% 17%

19% Management & General


Program cost


Communication & Fundraising 19%


Monitoring & Evaluation




A huge thanks to our funding partners and supporters. Your commitment is providing girls and young women with increased opportunities to lead. We would also like to acknowledge the invaluable contributions of all the Dadas who work tirelessly to become the leaders we need.

Learn More


There are many ways to be part of the Akili Dada community. Please visit our website or contact us directly for more information.

Website: Phone: +254 020-2013873 or +254 0721-552120 Email:


Twitter: @akilidada Instagram: Akili Dada YouTube: akilidada

Akili Dada 2014 Annual Report