WISER Secondary School

WISER’s mission is the social empowerment of underprivileged girls by improving health and education. WISER removes the gender-based violence found in many Kenyan schools and has psycho-social support and leadership training built into the curriculum at the free boarding school.
2007Kenya

CEI Plus Status

Program Results Status
Monitoring and Evaluation Reporting
DeliveryWISER (Women’s Institute for Secondary Education & Research) (3783)Secondary EducationLower secondaryUpper secondary

Location Data

NyanzaMuhuru BayRural

WISER is located in Muhuru Bay, a fishing community in rural Kenya that is characterized by extreme poverty and deeply entrenched gender roles. Girls rarely complete secondary school level education due to forced marriages, early pregnancy, physical and psychological abuse, and a general lack of support and positive female role models. Many girls engage in transactional sex in order to pay school fees or buy sanitary pads, resulting in some of the highest HIV rates in the country (38%).

WISER removes the root causes that prevent girls from achieving academically, such as: lack of parental support, gender violence, and low cultural expectations. By providing an entirely free boarding school, girls have a “gender-safe” and academically challenging environment where they are able to focus on their studies and reach their full potential. WISER is creating a new generation of female role models and changing how a girl is valued.

WISER students are selected from all 16 primary schools in the village. Most of the girls are the first women in their families to attend secondary school. The selection process takes into account academic growth during primary school, personal interviews, the national KCPE results, and student need (financial and social backgrounds). 30% of WISER girls are orphans. WISER girls receive all of the materials they need to excel academically including tuition, books, clothing, food, medicine, clean water, and sanitary pads. More importantly, WISER provides a strong support network by integrating weekly empowerment and leadership sessions into its curriculum. Most importantly, the WISER curriculum includes psycho-social support and group counseling classes. These classes include self-confidence and self-esteem, communication skills and expression, teamwork, leadership development, sexual health, and organizational skills. WISER girls often design and lead these sessions.

WISER works closely with the community to ensure the safety and success of its students. 90% of the WISER budget is used to directly fund our educational programs and operational costs including scholarships, accommodation, school supplies, desks, food, water purification, and textbooks.

Who we work with: