Funzo project champions girls in finishing their secondary school education
NAIROBI, KENYA – CFK Africa, an international nonprofit organization with offices in Kenya and the U.S., launched the expansion of its girls’ empowerment initiative this week to support teenage mothers. The Funzo project improves the health, wellness, and educational outcomes of teenage mothers residing in informal settlements in Kenya, including Nairobi and Kilifi Counties.
In 2018, the Funzo project first launched as a pilot program in the Kibera informal settlement, situated on the outskirts of Nairobi. Its primary objective is to empower teenage mothers to continue their education during pregnancy and after delivery by working closely with schools, healthcare facilities, parents, the community, and the government to reduce barriers young mothers face. The project expanded to Kilifi County in 2023, given the county’s high rates of teenage pregnancy.
“Too often, teenage mothers find themselves excluded at a time when they are most vulnerable,” said CFK Africa Executive Director Jeffrey Okoro. “The Funzo project is designed to empower young mothers to continue their studies and stay engaged with the broader community, ensuring their own success and ultimately bettering the lives of their families.”
The program, named after the Swahili word for “study,” was designed in response to community-identified needs. It provides targeted interventions to help teenage mothers pay for their school fees, monthly safe space discussions, and personalized counseling.
Participants gather to discuss topics such as sexual and reproductive health, the benefits of breastfeeding, strategies for preventing HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted infections, and how to advocate for issues facing girls and young women in their communities. The young mothers also conduct community service and other wellness and skill-building activities to bridge the gender equity gap.
Through the project, more than 400 teenage mothers have re-enrolled in school, and local schools have signed memorandums of understanding about the treatment and acceptance of teenage mothers in class.
CFK Africa’s girls’ empowerment programming is an essential part of its mission, combining the organization’s strengths in youth leadership development and public health education. In 2024, the NGO plans to establish further partnerships for its Funzo project in the informal settlements of Mukuru Kwa Njenga, Viwandani, and Mathare.
“Supporting teenage mothers also means working with teachers and school officials to ensure they also offer support,” added Okoro. “We are committed to ensuring that all girls can achieve their full potential, and this project is one that requires the entire community to work together.”
About CFK Africa
Founded in 2001, CFK Africa works to improve public health and economic prosperity in informal settlements in Kenya through integrated health and youth leadership initiatives. Using a participatory development approach, the organization works directly with community residents to develop and implement sustainable programs. After marking 20 years of service in Kibera in 2021, CFK began expanding to additional informal settlements in Nairobi County and across eight counties in Kenya, including Kajiado, Kiambu, Kilifi, Kisumu, Machakos, Mombasa, and Nakuru.
For more information, visit www.cfkafrica.org.