The fight to ensure no girl gets left behind
Here’s how the Learning for a Better World Trust supported Dr Kakenya Ntaiya in her March 2017 media tour.
This article originally appeared in The Culture Issue, our August/September 2017 issue of Marketing magazine.https://www.marketingmag.com.au/news-c/culture-mk0817-mag-intro/
Campaign: Dr Kakenya Ntaiya March 2017 media tour
Client: The LBW Trust
Agency: Ogilvy PR Australia (comprising Pulse Communications)
Women for Change is a subcommittee of the LBW (Learning for a Better World) Trust, which aims to support educational programs for young disadvantaged women, and to drive positive, ongoing and scalable change – not only to the women it supports, but also their families and their communities.
Globally, 65 million girls do not attend school and, of those, 31 million are of primary school age. Seventeen million of these girls – one third – will probably never attend school in their lifetimes. Of the 123 million young people between the ages of 15 and 24 who cannot read or write, 61% of them are women. There are 33 million fewer girls than boys in primary school.
To address this, the LBW Trust is supporting the Kakenya Centre for Excellence (KCE). The KCE is a registered charity in the Republic of Kenya and was founded by Dr Kakenya Ntaiya in 2009 to empower and motivate young girls through education. It has two objectives: encouraging young women to become agents of change and, at the same time, to break the cycle of destructive cultural practices such as female genital mutilation (FGM) and early forced marriage.
The LBW Trust’s work in Australia is in two stages:
- Stage 1: scholarship fundraising structured around Ntaiya’s visit to Australia in March 2017 to raise funds to send her graduating students to university, which can be expensive in Nairobi.
- Stage 2: a longer-term initiative to deliver enabled technology and affordable mentoring to the graduating girls to assist them with the transition from a rural school to a busy city environment when moving to university. Ntaiya is hugely influential in the international educational field. She was honoured with the Global Women’s Rights Award from the Feminist Majority Foundation, was recognised by Women in the World as a ‘Woman of Impact’ and named a Top Ten CNN Hero.
Ntaiya was also honoured with a Vital Voices Global Leadership Award in 2008 and as a National Geographic Emerging Explorer in 2010. She was also named as one of Newsweek’s ‘150 Women Who Shake the World’ in 2011. Her story has been the subject of a Washington Post series, a BBC documentary and many magazine articles.
Ntaiya founded the first school for girls in her Maasai community in Kenya. At a very young age, she dared to be bold, fought for her right to an education and, through her journey, has given girls and women permission to hope for a better life through education. She did not bring back a dozen cows, she brought back funds to build a school and she set about creating the KCE.
As the founder and president of the Kakenya Centre for Excellence, a girls’ boarding school in Enoosaen, Kenya, Ntaiya believes that education will empower and motivate young girls to become agents of change in their community and country.
Dr Kakenya Ntaiya was in Australia for one week (5 to 11 March 2017) to create awareness for the Kakenya Centre for Excellence, and also to deliver the keynote address at the National Press Club in Canberra, in celebration of International Woman’s Day (syndicated on ABC TV and Sky News).
Twenty-six KCE alumni are due to graduate from high school in 2017. As the girls selected are among the most vulnerable in the community, a university education and related costs are out of reach for most of them and their families. Ntaiya wanted to use her visit to shore up a Scholars Fund to ensure no girl gets left behind. Five thousand dollars per student per academic year covers their university fees, accommodation on campus in a girls’ dormitory, books, a computer, living expenses, and transportation.
It is expected that at least two of the graduating students will receive a scholarship to study in Australia with Western Sydney University leading the way offering a scholarship for one student in 2018.
The LBW Trust contacted Ogilvy PR because it wanted to not only raise the funds around Ntaiya’s Australian press tour, but also raise the profile of the LBW Trust in Australia. As a result, Ogilvy created the strategy around the theme of Ntaiya’s work being ‘the power of education to change a life’. This would also align with the goals of the Trust and the global work it does in nine different countries, to assist more than 2500 children, women and men.
Overall, Ogilvy PR planned to reinforce the importance of education as a way out of poverty for millions of girls globally, build awareness of Ntaiya’s work in Kenya, the school, its unique mandate on ‘no FGM or early childhood marriage’, which sees girls as young as 12 being cut and married, only to give birth when they are 13 years old and drop out of school.
Ogilvy PR decided to focus on dialling up the education theme across all Australian media outlets – ‘educate one girl and you educate an entire community.’
We wanted to contain and, where possible, limit the message FGM, which could be unpalatable some, and have a negative impact when pitching editorial to broader audiences in the Australian mass media. We also worked to align Ntaiya’s story with the 2017 theme for International Women’s Day – ‘Be Bold for Change’ – which Ntaiya said was a motto of her life’s work. From the age of five she knew she had a husband waiting for her, through to trading FGM for her right to continue her education. Her boldness shone through every story and, with a small amount of media training, Ntaiya was able to weave her story into a framework that echoed many of the challenges women face in Australia.
Long lead pre-phase
Our goal was to deliver an exclusive interview with Dr Kakenya Ntaiya in celebration of International Women’s Week with the Sydney Morning Herald’s Good Weekend. To gain local coverage, we worked to the theme and vision of ‘the power of education to change a life’ and what this means from an Australian perspective. Ogilvy PR engaged a Good Weekend journalist to fly to Kenya for a week and have exclusive access to the school, Ntaiya and the students. The cover story featured in Good Weekend on Saturday 4 March, four days prior to International Women’s Day. This provided the perfect platform, and background, to launch the Australian press tour phase and also Ntaiya’s National Press Club speech.
Australian press tour phase
Ntaiya gave press interviews for International Women’s Week across the theming with the vision of ‘power of education to change a life’ and what this means from an Australian perspective.
- News LTD,
- ABC News 24,
- ABC Mornings with Wendy Harmer,
- ABC Lateline,
- ABC The World (Radio National) ,
- ABC Breakfast TV,
- Two Sky News interviews,
- SBS The Feed,
- Sky News Business, and
- The Australian.
Note: All media interviews coincided with Ntaiya’s National Press Club speech on International Woman’s Day syndicated on the ABC and Sky News.
The campaign achieved an estimated audience reach of 31 million across print, TV and online, including Good Weekend, The Age, Canberra Times, WA Today, Brisbane Times, ABC News 24, ABC Mornings with Wendy Harmer, ABC Lateline, ABC The World (Radio National), Sky News, SBS The Feed (Marc Fennell’s interview on The Feed’s Facebook – which usually averages 60,000 views – has had over 2.4 million views since March), The Australian, News.com.au, Herald Sun, Courier Mail, Adelaide Advertiser, Perth Now, Northern Territory News and The Weekly Times.
Project objective results:
- PM Malcolm Turnbull’s office asked for a meeting about what the Australian Government can do to help the schools, and
- over 26 fully funded scholarships were raised ensuring that not one graduating student will be left behind. This was an amazing achievement and, in addition, 22 interested guests were attracted to be considered as global mentors.