Global Partner Series

Marking International Women’s Day with Hope for Kenya Slum Adolescents Initiative

We marked International Women’s Day with Melvine Ouyo, Founder of Hope for Kenya Slum Adolescents Initiative (HKSAI). During the event, we learned about HKSAI’s mission. Their work promotes education access and enhances the social and economic empowerment of vulnerable girls and women in Kenya’s informal settings. Through our partnership, we help support HKSAI’s Hope through Education Empowerment Program. This is a transformative initiative to elevate enrollment, retention, and graduation rates in higher education institutions. This program focuses on women residing in the slums of Kenya, particularly young mothers and adolescent girls, ensuring they do not miss out on high school or tertiary education opportunities.

Presentation Date: March 6th, 2024

Melvine Ouyo

Founder, Hope for Kenya Slum Adolescent Initiative

Melvine Ouyo is a health policy expert and reproductive rights activist. She holds a BS in Nursing from the Great Lakes University of Kisu, a master’s degree in Public Health specializing in Population and Reproductive Health from Kenyatta University, and an MPA from Harvard Kennedy School of Government. She is the founder and Executive Director of Hope for Kenya Slum Adolescents Initiative (HKSAI).

Melvine previously worked with marginalized communities at Family Health Options Kenya (FHOK), a Member Association of IPPF. Melvine has consulted for the Population Connection Action Fund and the #Fight4HER campaign for the past few years, expanding its network with organizations in Kenya and greater East Africa. She recently became a member of Population Connection’s Board of Directors.


Questions from the audience, with responses from Melvine Ouyo

Global women’s empowerment is correlated to growing middle-class opportunities.  What is Kenya’s median income and level of wealth inequality?

Whereas the drivers of inequality vastly vary, inequality between men and women in Kenya is widespread and remains one of the significant obstacles to sustained human development in Kenya. Kenya’s median income is estimated at less than $5,000SD per annum.

Is the organization DYG (Days for Girls) known to our speaker? DYG provides washable/reusable pads plus reproductive rights education for girls whose circumstances make it hard to go to school on days they’re menstruating.

I have not previously interacted with DYG, but check it out to find out about the possibility of a partnership.

Are the girls instructed in methods of birth control?  Is abortion available in Kenya?

The girls receive sexual and reproductive health information, including information on the available family planning methods, for them to make informed choices. In Kenya, abortion is not permitted, except in the opinion of a trained health professional, there is a need for emergency treatment, or the life or health of the mother is in danger, or if permitted by any other written law.

What is capacity training, and how does it help the individual girls and women?

In this context, capacity building is providing the girls and women with the knowledge and leadership skills necessary to help them be able to make informed decisions and take up leadership roles for them to influence change in their communities.

What are the names of the communities in Kenya where you are working?

We work in the slums of Kisumu (Nyalenda A&B), Obunga, Manyatta A&B), Uasin Gishu (Langas, Huruma, & Munyaka), Nairobi (Kibera, Soweto, Mukuru Kwa Njenga, Mathare, Kawangware, Kangemi, Dandora) and Mombasa (Bangala, Matangini, Mlapanga & Machumani).

Additionally, an additional thing that excites me most this year is the upcoming USA elections. I call on Americans to vote for defenders of reproductive justice and leaders who have women at their hearts.