Since its inception in 2012, 115 girls have graduated from the Transition Program. The concept for the program developed in reaction to the long “gap” in the Kenyan academic calendar between national secondary school exam results and college matriculation. We decided to use this time by extending our curriculum for graduating students, ensuring that every Daraja girl could be as prepared as possible for higher education, career, and adult life.
The length of the programming varies according to the Kenyan academic calendar, but typically lasts between three and five months, commencing soon after students finish their K.C.S.E. exams. The Transition Program allows students to learn life skills in both a classroom and practical environment.
In the Classroom
Transitioners stay on campus, giving them additional time to strengthen relationships with each other and their teachers. The primary focus of their new course load is building up their career and life skills. Class topics include:
Integrity & Ethics
Computer Skills has been one of the most popular Transition topics. All 34 Transition participants in 2016 completed computer training, and tested and received completion certificates in each Microsoft Office program. After completing the program, they all pointed to this training as one of the most impactful parts of the program. Transitioners also continue to take the ever-popular W.I.S.H. class, and dive deeper into topics that concern the development and empowerment of young, adult women.
In the field
To put their new skills to practice, girls spend a significant portion of Transition in community service, internships, and entrepreneurship training.
Transitioners volunteer in similar, or even the same, projects they devoted so many hours to in secondary school. During the 2016 program, more than 3,000 individuals indirectly benefited from community service projects performed by Transitioners from Daraja. Projects included conducting workshops for primary school girls on feminine hygiene, reproductive health, and the dangers of FGM (Female Genital mutilation.)
2016 Transitioners also organized and participated in a Red Cross blood drive, and taught a seminar on water sanitation to an audience of 300 community members.
Every Transitioner is required to undertake an internship. In the past, students have worked at various businesses, non-profit organizations, research centers, and local schools. Through internships, girls learn valuable work skills, build up their resumes, and insert themselves into positions of responsibility in their communities. Daraja has consistently received stellar feedback from the girls’ employers about their performances.
Students also gain practical business knowledge: In 2016, seven Transitioner groups presented their business plans to a 52-member audience including college students, entrepreneurs, County Assemblymen, four NGO representatives, and the Chairman of the Chambers of Trade and Commerce. In fact, many of the Daraja girls have proven to have a real affinity for business: Mary, a Transitioner from 2013, supplements her income by helping aspiring entrepreneurs write their business plans.