Amongst the trees and vast landscape, is a school that aims to empower young women through education.

Ogande Girl’s School in Homabay County, south of Nairobi, enables and encourages young women to pursue their dreams through education. Every year they hold an assembly for this specific reason called Mama County Says. It brings all private girl’s school from across the country to participate and invites guest speakers, such as the first lady, Ida Odinga, of Kenya. Representatives from each school give speeches, there is dancing, and many other opportunities to empower these young women.

Mama county says targets girls between the ages of 9 to 25 years because this age is at higher risk for early initiation of premarital sexual activities and exposure to sexually transmitted diseases, out-of-wedlock births, drug use, and school dropout more than any other age group. Research shows that most young girls in this region engages in premarital and/or early unprotected sexual intercourse due to peer pressure. This leading to early pregnancies and child birth complications like death, still birth, injury and on the other hand be exposed to HIV/AIDs infection.

It is because of this and more assessment that the office of the women rep Homabay county began this programme of #MamaCountySays.

OGANDE 1
One of the many groups of girls attending #MamaCountySays. An assembly to bring empowerment to young ladies. Homabay, Kenya
OGANDE 2
Girls at the Ogande School practice with their trumpets to play the national anthem. Homabay, Kenya
A dorm in Ogande School for Girls. Homabay, Kenya.
A dorm in Ogande School for Girls. Homabay, Kenya.
OGANDE 4
Two Ogande school girls practice their routine for Ida Odinga, the first lady of Kenya.

The programme is intended to address the need for young girls to view themselves as intelligent and powerful with infinite potential, besides creating awareness among the communities where equality is about shared responsibility, communication and equal opportunities for both young girls and boys. And a community free from school dropouts, early marriages and pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases.

In a nutshell, this programme aims at reducing school drop outs among the girls and expose them to mentors that empower, inspire and motivate them by increasing their self-esteem for girls need a voice and a hand to mentor and empower them on their rights and opportunities.

OGANDE 5
Young girls attending #MamaCountySays raise their hands to answer a question about HIV/AIDS asked by their teacher. Homabay, Kenya
OGANDE 6
A young girl is in her classroom at Ogande School for Girls after the female empowerment assembly. Homabay, Kenya.
OGANDE 7
A school girl runs back to the #MamaCountySays assembly to empower young women. Hombay, Kenya
OGANDE 8
A young girl poses for a portrait in her school desk. In her hand she holds a math textbook, her favorite subject. Homabay, Kenya.
A young girl shows her math notes in her desk at Ogande School for Girls.
A young girl shows her math notes in her desk at Ogande School for Girls.
OGANDE 10
Two girls walk back to the #MamaCountySays assembly which aims to empower young women to continue their education. Homabay, Kenya.

This photo essay was put together by Emma Francis.

Emma is a documentary photographer based out of the United States.
She strives to connect humans to humans, and bring to life the ordinary.

Find out more about Emma and her amazing work ~
Site: https://www.efrancis.work/
Instagram: @efrancisadventure

Featured image by Vincent Tom on Unsplash

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