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Kianda Secretarial College

Kianda Secretarial College effectively set the pace for all other Kianda Foundation projects. It was given the name ‘Kianda’ meaning ‘fertile valley’ where everything blossoms. The college offered training in secretarial and business studies to the girls, and oversaw their development into women of integrity and initiative. Some in society were vehemently opposed to the idea of different races learning together. Kianda College was determined to offer opportunities for further education to Kenyans becoming the first multiracial college in Kenya. At the dawn of independence many white families opted to move back to their homelands, creating a skills flight. Many corporate entities and government bodies were in need of a skilled workforce. Kianda College was already training girls from all over Kenya to be work ready. Many international and local companies supported the girl’s training through bursary/ sponsorship programs which covered tuition, boarding, pocket money and books. The trainees who opted for sponsorship were then bonded to the sponsoring companies for work.

About Us

The Story

Kianda Foundation was founded by four determined women:-

  • Mary Mahoney (USA)

  • Margaret Curran (Ireland)

  • Olga Marlin (USA)

  • Teresa Temes (Spain)

They arrived in Kenya in 1960 at a time when racial segregation was the norm, with a clear mission to ensure that women in Kenya have equal access to opportunities for education. They wanted to give girls and women a chance at a dignified life. In the 60's most African women did not even have an opportunity to complete primary school with chances of joining secondary school few. Moreover, it was unheard of to start or run an interracial college.

With these challenges in mind, Kianda Secretarial College was started in 1961.


From very humble beginnings, in a one storey building with just a few rooms at Kianda, the college grew to have over 7,000 alumni from 43 nationalities working in various industries in Kenya and around the world. In its 30 years the College trained secretaries who quickly filled the secretarial positions in government and private offices of post-Independence Kenya, effectively positively affecting the development of the country. The college offered a new and positive outlook in the lives of Kenyan girls setting the scene for them to further their careers and be counted among the most prominent women in the country.

Kianda College merged with Strathmore College in 1993, at that time a post-secondary institution of higher learning, and it later became Strathmore University.

Kianda Foundation has been impacting the lives of girls and women since 1961 by providing them with opportunities for success

Foundation's Purpose



Before getting a chance these girls have:-

  • No funds to continue with their education

  • No hope to get out of the cycle of poverty in which they find themselves in



During their education and formation the girls:-

  • Have the joy of learning

  • Start discovering their talents

  • Start envisioning a better future



After getting the formation:-

  • Their self esteem increases

  • They are able to get gainful employment and income that supports their whole family


A dignified life for every woman in Kenya through quality education.


To provide quality and personalized education to women and girls, developing all aspects of each individual to the full in accordance with Christian principles.




Formal Education

We are actively involved in Kindergarten (Gatina Nursery in Tigoni), Primary and Secondary Formal Education (Kianda School).

Board of Trustees

The Foundation was set up by a group of professional women in Kenya who decided to place their education, management expertise, time and knowledge at the service of women in this country.

  • Olga Emily Marlin - M.A. H. Dip. Education

  • Prof. Christine Gichure - PhD (Philosophy)

  • Dorothy Khamisi, B.A. (History and Linguistics), Masters in Educational Management

  • Wilfreda Chepkoech, H. Dip. Pharmacy

  • Seraphina Mwangi, H. Dip. Business Studies

  • Bernadette Musundi, M.A, Administration and Management

Management Board


Kianda Foundation relies on funding from donors both in Kenya and overseas. Expenses of the running of the Trust are kept at a minimum, employing only the essential staff and relying heavily on the volunteer work of dedicated professionals.

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Mercedes Otaduy

Managing Director

Jayne Njoroge

Administrator and Financial Controller

Susan Kinyua

Public Relations Manager and Outreach Programs Director

Sylvia Wamalwa

Programs Manager

Penninah Maina


Evelyn Tiren

Projects Coordinator