EFF Rift Valley
The History of EFF-Rift Valley
In June 2006, EFF Rift Valley—then known as Kila Nafasi—was founded by Katy Califf, Audrey DeRose-Wilson and John Keshe. Audrey and Katy met in Kenya, where Katy was researching hyenas for her PhD, and Audrey was working as a research assistant on the Mara Hyena Project. At the time, John Keshe worked as a chef at the hyena research camp, while organizing a support group and network of shelters for Maasai girls who fled their homes and families to avoid being forced into marriage at a young age.
Audrey and Katy were inspired by the courage and dedication to independence these young women showed, and began paying tuition for some of them to attend secondary school, while convincing their friends and family members to sponsor others.
Audrey and Katy realized that by creating a formal organization, they could raise funds to sponsor more girls, and therefore founded Kila Nafasi, which means “Every Opportunity” in Swahili. They became the co-directors of Kila Nafasi, while John provided support in Kenya, coordinating with students, families and school officials.
Kila Nafasi officially became a subsidiary group of the umbrella organization of the EFF in 2007, and is now fully integrated into the organization as EFF-Rift Valley.
EFF-Rift Valley offers sponsorships to girls of all ethnic backgrounds based on academic excellence and need. We focus our efforts on girls for several reasons. First, families who can afford tuition are more likely to send sons to secondary school than daughters. Second, women are more likely than men to bring skills back to their communities and assist the next generation in attaining an education. Besides facilitating the education of as many individual girls as possible, our goal is to demonstrate that education is necessary for women too. Many of our students are the first girls in their community to attend secondary school, and our hope is that their success will motivate younger girls to stay in school and excel academically.
To date, EFF Rift Valley has sponsored 31 students. Our first student graduated in 2008, five graduated in 2009, and eight more will graduate in December 2010. For more information on our students, please visit the student pages.