Down a rural road in Naivasha, we found St. Francis Xavier Girls’ School. We were greeted by hundreds of radiant, smiling young faces, and we were excited to talk to them. We decided to present them with the beloved Canadian story by Robert Munsch, the Paper Bag Princess. Unlike many of the stories that girls around the world grow up hearing, Munsch’s story carries powerful messages that everyone should keep in mind.
For instance, you can lose your castle, prince, and prized possessions, but no one can take your courage and intelligence from you, you can fight your own dragons, and that you don’t need a prince to live happily ever after. Among the many issues that Kenya is dealing with, gender inequality is rooted in the country’s history and culture. As a result, it is not uncommon for girls to grow up believing that they do not have a place in the country’s development. Empowering young girls and instilling them with the belief in their self-worth and self-efficacy is the key to a community and society that lifts itself out of poverty with all genders on a level playing field. The next generation of feminists, both boys and girls, have the potential to completely change the world.
By: Amin Farah and Adele Richardson (MMASc in Global Health Systems in Africa Candidates); Rael Adhiambo (BSc Masinde Muliro Univeristy, Kenya)