Nasaruni Academy for Maasai Girls

Nasaruni students


Founded by Alice and Moses Sayo in 2013, the Nasaruni Academy for Maasai Girls provides schooling for disadvantaged girls in rural Narok, Kenya.

Maasai girls live very constrained lives, contending with the cultural history of parents who educate only sons. Girls thus have little hope for a future beyond the literal and cultural confines of child marriage, early child-bearing, and housekeeping. In fact, barely 5% of girls pursue a high school education.

Denying girls an education takes away their right to self-determination. Nasaruni Academy provides education and life skills (including self-awareness and self-empowerment), so they can make their own choices about the future.

Meet Alice Sayo, the Co-Founder of Nasaruni Academy

Alice Sayo’s remarkable story begins with being the 11th of 12 children from a Maasai family. As a young girl, her father died, and Alice was bound for an early marriage and bearing children.

But her family wanted her to get an education and live a different life. They sent her to high school in Kenya and university in England. Since then, she’s wanted to provide Maasai girls with the same educational opportunities. She’s been a school principal, community outreach educator, and has sponsored the education of Maasai girls. Nasaruni Academy fulfills her dream of educating and nurturing girls from primary to secondary school.

Maasai girls are often married off in exchange for livestock. Nasaruni Academy offers an alternative to girls while respecting their culture and giving them a chance to take a positive role in their community.

Education in general is key to improving girls’ socio-economic status, health, and work opportunities. As more girls get a formal high school education, their skills and expertise become more accepted in the community. In other parts of Kenya, the education of Maasai girls has begun the shift toward women’s equality, safety, a voice in their own future, and hope for their families.

At Nasaruni, girls experience the life-changing impact of education. They can dream about—and actively seek—their own futures of new opportunities. They delay early marriage and childbirth, and are independent.

In 2021, Nasaruni added a high school for the girls who were graduating from the primary school. There’s no other school with the nurturing, positive, safe environment where they can thrive. These girls would have been at high risk for being married off according to their cultural tradition if they had not been able to continue their education.

Population Connection has joined with Nasaruni to help provide scholarships for primary and secondary students; help build out the new high school; and provide job training for local women.

In 2024, Population Connection also sent small donations to Nasaruni’s sister schools, Oblolet and Entashata. The schools will be using the funds to help with the construction of school buildings.

All photos c/o Michelle Cude, Executive Director & Chair of the U.S. Board.

Learn more about Nasaruni in this Q&A!

Read More
The whole primary school at Nasaruni Academy.

Providing schooling for disadvantaged girls: Q&A with Nasaruni Academy

Through our Global Partners program, Population Connection supports a growing number of grassroots organizations around the world working to increase access to education, public health and family planning services. Their…

Read More