Global Initiatives: In Africa


Women’s Institute for Secondary Education and Research (WISER)

    Muhuru Bay
  • Issues
    • The Women’s Institute for Secondary Education and Research supports community programs in Muhuru Bay, Kenya and a private boarding school for girls. Muhuru Bay suffers from the highest HIV infection rates, total AIDS orphans, infant mortality and malaria rates in Kenya. Lake Victoria is the only source of water for drinking, washing and bathing but it is also a major source of infection. In addition, the community has traditionally offered more opportunities for boys than girls in education, career development and community leadership, along with better health resources. Through community-wide initiatives, WISER seeks to address these issues and end the cycle of gender disparity, not to mention, create stronger relationships between boys and girls.
    Wiser's Vision
  • Solution
    • WISER operates as an independent Kenyan non-governmental organization but it has close ties to Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. Students and faculty from the university, including the Duke Global Health Institute, have spent extended periods of time in the village working on projects to improve the quality of health, education and economic development. A Duke student organization has also raised money and awareness for WISER.
    • WISER programs address such issues as the prevention of HIV and other diseases, and the improvement of teaching and academic performance, water supply, health conditions, business and technology training and the relationship between boys and girls.
  • LAFC Foundation Partnership
    • The LAFC Foundation formed a three-year partnership with WISER to help unemployed youth better understand the link between sports, academic excellence and health education. WISER sees soccer as a powerful way to connect with the community, particularly in encouraging gender equality and girls’ empowerment. The Foundation will build a soccer field and running track for the community and establish the first primary school soccer league in Kenya for girls and women. The organization will also provide uniforms and equipment, including cleats for up to 400 children and resources for coaching and refereeing clinics. WISER hopes that the soccer field will become a convenient meeting point where it can also provide health education activities and programming to build self-esteem.
    • "Our partnership with LAFC will allow us to create the first football league in the community that not only allows girls to play, but also builds their self-esteem and connects sports with academic excellence and health education. LAFC's support is also essential for building the first public football pitch, providing employment opportunities for out of work youth, and allowing WISER to deepen its core mission of keeping girls in school. The smiles on kids faces when they talk about LAFC are huge!"
    • Sherryl Broverman, Ph.D
      Co-Founder and Chair of WISER
      Associate Professor of the Practice
      Director, Global Health Certificate — Duke University