About Us

Who We Are


Our Background


NEWI, the Women’s Initiative in Education, was founded on April 17, 2010 out of a shared vision of Kenya Literature Bureau managing director, Mrs. Eve Obara and Dr. Mark Matunga of Microsoft Corporation to champion the educational rights and welfare of girls in school.

It brings together professionals, mainly women, with the primary aim of uplifting the education of the girl-child.

“It was quite discomforting for the founding trustees, both of whom sat at the then Nyanza Provincial Education Board to witness the deteriorating standards of girls education in the region,” says Joseph Ndegwa, a member of NEWI.

The Initiative began its operations in Nyanza Region, which was at its lowest ebb in girl’s education at the time. With the support of the government and education sector officials in the region, NEWI reached out to professionals and currently boasts of a membership of over 600. The Initiative continues to attract a growing number of men, who have joined the organization as friends of NEWI. Last year, the Ministry of Education signed an MOU with NEWI to support girl child education across the country.

In its first 90 days, NEWI reached out to more than 162 girls and mixed secondary schools in Nyanza region, working with girls, teachers and communities to establish and offer solutions to challenges that hinder girl’s excellence in academics.

Since then, the NEWI caravan of hope has visited and revisited schools, offering mentorship, counseling, role modeling and material support to girls. These activities have been extended to rural villages, where girls who had dropped-out for one reason or another are helped back to school.

NEWI sees education as an enabler of social change and has, therefore, partnered with various stakeholders to enhance girl’s access to quality education. They include the Ministry of Education (MoE), Microsoft Corporation, Research Supported Centre for Universal Education at the Brookings Institution, Kenya Literature Bureau, Proctor & Gamble, Forum for African Women Educationists (FAWE), Maendeleo Ya Wanawake (Women in Development), the Caucus for Women Leadership (CWL), among others.

The Women’s Initiative has enjoyed goodwill from its partners. It has experience, and has remained prudent in managing funds for research and other interventions from members, donors and other well-wishers.

Some of our programmes and interventions include:

  • Use of integration and research through community meetings, discussions and interviews to increase awareness on the need to educate the girl child.
  • Participatory rural assessment to establish the educational status of school-age going girls, OVC’s and sanitation in schools to aid identify support areas such as scholarship provision to girls in school.
  • Utilization of the home environment for learning, especially for girls who lack family support.
  • Women literacy classes for awareness creation.


Our Vision

“To enable the girl child realise her potential”

Mission

“To promote and support quality education for the girl child through various interventions.”




Our Trustees

The Trustees are the Board and policy makers of NEWI.


Dr. Mark Matunga

FOUNDING TRUSTEE

Dr. Mark Matunga whose name is synonymous with computer literacy campaigns in Kenya and Africa, is a champion for girl’s education. He has been petitioning and influencing education policies on ICT in 15 African countries including Uganda, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Mozambique, Angola, Botswana, Burundi and Namibia. In his cross-cutting engagements, Dr Matunga is a champion of building community ICT centres, schools and health facilities. He is the Head of Corporate Affairs for Intel Corporation in East Africa.

In 2010, Dr. Matunga co-founded NEWI, where he is a Founding Trustee and an active volunteer, mentoring and supporting girls in the region.

Dr Matunga attended African Nazarene University in Nairobi, where he studied Computer Science and Theology, and then dual Bachelor of Arts degree in Computer Science and Religious Studies in Carroll College, Waukesha, USA. He has an MA in International and Intercultural Management from the School for International Training in Brattleboro, USA. He got a distinction in Project Planning and Design, Peace and Conflict Management, and also in Social Entrepreneurship and Economic Planning. His thesis, ICT in International Development – Narrowing the Digital Gap using Information and Communication Technology, has remained a gem for learners in the digital age.

He holds a Honorary Doctorate degree in Management Leadership and Christian Service from United Graduate College and Seminary, USA.

His experience, passion and vision are a great asset to NEWI.


Dr. Mary Akinyi Otieno

OTHER TRUSTEE

Dr. Mary Otieno is a lecturer in Educational Planning, Policy Studies, Leadership and Research Methodology at Kenyatta University in Nairobi, Kenya.

She is a holder of a doctorate of philosophy (PhD) and a Master’s Degree in Educational Planning and Economics of Education, and a Bachelor of Education Degree from Kenyatta University. She is a Trustee and member of NEWI.

During her career, Dr. Otieno has gained vast experience in the fields of policy development and analysis, management and leadership, HIV/AIDS management, conflict management, change management, mentoring and coaching both regionally and internationally while working and consulting for several reputable institutions including World Vision, National Aids Control Council (NACC), UNAIDS, KNHCR, among others. She provides guidance on the Women Initiative projects and plans.


Mrs Eva Obara

FOUNDING TRUSTEE

She is the NEWI Founding Trustee and Chief Executive Officer at Kenya Literature Bureau, a position she has been holding since 2007. In the publishing industry, Mrs Obara has held various positions including as a Council member of the lobby Kenya Publishers Association, Fellow of the Institute of Human Resources Management and member of the Marketing Society of Kenya. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology and Political Science from the University of Nairobi and an MSc in Business Administration from the University of Illinois at Urbana - Champaign, USA.

She has led the turnaround of the institution from a basket-case to a showcase, that last year, among 189 others, KLB was ranked as the 3rd best most consistent State Corporation in Performance. In Nyanza region, she was a member of the Provincial Education Board and has served as a Board member of several schools in Kenya. She is the chairperson of the Maendeleo Ya Wanawake Organization (MYWO) Nyanza and National Executive Committee (NEC) member of MYWO, the largest women's organisation in Kenya.

In 2008, she was awarded the Moran of the Order of the Burning Spear (MBS) by the President of the Republic of Kenya, recognition for Kenyans who contribute to humanity in their fields of specialisation. She is also a recipient of the Marketing Society of Kenya (MSK) Warrior Award, 2010 for innovation in industry and the Girl-Child Crusader Award, 2010 by the Ministry of Education.


Dr. Mildred Jennifer Lodiaga

OTHER TRUSTEE

Dr. Mildred Jennifer Lodiaga is a Lecturer, Department of Gender and Development Studies at Kenyatta University.

Dr. Lodiaga holds a doctor of philosophy (PhD) in Population Studies from Kenyatta University, Master of Arts (M.A) in Population Studies from the United Nations Institute for Population Studies, Legon University and a Bachelor of Education degree from the University of Nairobi, Kenya. She is also a Board Member of UN Women Leadership Centre, Kenyatta University’s Mentorship Programme and the Institute of Peace and Security Studies and also a member of the Executive Committee of the Population Association of Kenya. She is a Trustee and member of NEWI.

In her Master’s Degree, she specialized in reproductive health and population development. Her thesis titled “Proximate Determinants of Fertility: A Comparative Study of Kenya, Lesotho and Sudan” remains a gem.