Dr. Kakenya Ntaiya is the founder and president of Kakenya's Dream, an international nonprofit organization leveraging education to empower girls, end harmful traditional practices and transform communities in rural Kenya.

Why you should listen

Engaged at age five, Dr. Kakenya Ntaiya experienced female genital mutilation (FGM) as a young teenager in preparation for marriage. Her life was set to follow the traditional Maasai path of ending school to become a wife and mother, but Ntaiya had a different dream. She negotiated with her father to return to school after surviving FGM. When she was accepted to college in the United States, she promised to use her education to help the village in exchange for their support. She went on to earn her PhD in education at the University of Pittsburgh, and returned to her community to fulfill her promise.

In 2009, the Kakenya Center for Excellence (KCE) boarding school opened its doors, serving 30 vulnerable Maasai girls in rural Kenya. Today, Kakenya's Dream reaches thousands of girls, boys and community members each year through three visionary, girl-centered programs. Ntaiya is a CNN Hero and National Geographic Emerging Explorer. She received the Feminist Majority Global Women's Rights Award and the Vital Voices Global Leadership Award. Ntaiya was also named one of Newsweek's "150 Women Who Shake the World."

Kakenya Ntaiya’s TED talks

More news and ideas from Kakenya Ntaiya

Live from TEDWomen

Moving forward: Notes from Session 6 of TEDWomen 2018

November 30, 2018

After three days of astonishing speakers and bold ideas, you may be asking yourself: Where do we go now? The answer: forward. The final session of TEDWomen 2018, hosted by TEDWomen curator Pat Mitchell, featured a dynamic lineup of forward thinkers: Ariana Curtis, Galit Ariel, Majd Mashharawi, Soraya Chemaly, Katharine Hayhoe, Cecile Richards, Kakenya Ntaiya, […]

Continue reading