Tewa Vocational Centre

Tewa is one of the newest educational projects of Kianda Foundation officially inaugurated on 2nd February 2010. The centre is located at the Coast, in Kuruwitu, Kilifi County. The main reason of starting this project in Kilifi is because of the distinct difficulties faced by women in the area. Culturally, women in the area do not usually join commercial work. There is little development in the villages around Tewa mainly because of rampant poverty. Residents live at subsistence level so nutrition is poor, with a high levels of child mortality. Girls are traditionally married off at an early age, without schooling of any kind. The result is that the level of women’s literacy is the lowest in the country, at around 30%. Women in the area usually take up subsistence farming, that mostly sustains the immediate family but is neither wholesome or nutritious, let alone being commercially viable.

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There are difficulties in the area most especially the issue of water. Women have the responsibility of travelling for many kilometres to the nearest water point, spending hours on end during these trips. The culture has always been that the women have the responsibility of fetching water, they cook whatever is available from the small farms and take care of the children. All these factors perpetuate a cycle of poverty where many girls have no option but follow this cycle, dropping out of school due to culturally acceptable early marriage as well as to ensure continuity of home life.
The main objective of Tewa is to provide quality education for girls and women to enable them acquire professional skills in hospitality, for job placement or self-employment. Tewa aims to change the culture in the area that perpetuates school drop outs, early marriages and a lack of commercial initiative in order to improve the lives of the communities around Tewa.

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The Centre also runs outreach programs, geared towards raising the living standards of the women, through training in technical skills, such as agriculture and tailoring, that will help them be self-reliant and provide for their families. Because of the area’s prevailing culture, the Centre even had difficulties initially in getting girls enrolled into their programs. Through community outreach and understanding their challenges, the Foundation was able to put up 3 wells in the villages around Tewa to ensure that the issue of water especially the time taken away from home by women and girls for this activity is dealt with. In addition, some of the land at Tewa has been set aside for the agricultural training of the women in the outreach programs, as well as for income-generating activities.
This project has been made possible through funding from Foundacion Rode (Spain), IECD (France), the European Union and Safaricom Foundation.