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Don Sheppard visiing Morgan Sheppard at WISER in Muhuru Bay, Kenya

Morgan Sheppard with two of her students while teaching at WISER

Don Sheppard with Professor Sherryl Broverman, the founder of WISER

  • A pledge of $0.01/mile will generate $32.15 which can provide:
    • All textbooks and school supplies for one girl for a year. WISER covers all costs for its students, most of whom could not attend school if they had to purchase their own books as they do in other schools.
  • A pledge of $0.05/mile will generate $160 to support:
    • Clothing for 4 girls including two pairs of skirts, blouses, socks, sweaters, a tie, and a pair of shoes. Many of our students come to school dressed in rags and clean, new clothes provide them with dignity and pride.
  • A pledge of $0.10/mile will generate $321 to support:
    • A safe place for 11 girls to live. Most girls in the community sleep on the ground and have never been in a bed. At WISER we provide safe and healthy living accommodations including mosquito nets. Your pledge could provide 11 girls with beds and all dormitory furniture so they have a safe place to live.
  • A pledge of $0.25/mile will generate $804 to support:
    • Desks for 25 girls to study at. Each girl at WISER gets her own desk in the classroom, a rarity in many schools. WISER also has a student-centered educational philosophy, which empowers girls to actively manage their own learning.
  • A pledge of $0.50/mile will generate $1,607 to support:
    • A year of medical costs for 120 girls. Many of our students do not receive regular health care. WISER is the only school in the region that provides medical care when a student is ill. In a region with the highest levels of malaria, cholera, and typhoid in Kenya, this is critical.
  • A pledge of $1.00/mile will generate $3,214 to support:
    • Keeping the lights on for a year so our students can study at night. WISER is the only school in the region with electricity. Power also supports our computer center so students and teachers can find educational materials online and develop computer literacy skills.
  • A pledge of $2.00/mile will generate $6,430 to support:
    • Feeding 20 girls for a year. Most of our students have never had three meals a day, never mind a healthy, balanced diet that includes fruits, and vegetables. Your pledge helps WISER keep our students strong and healthy.
  • A pledge of $5.00/mile will generate $16,075:
    • Salary for two teachers for a year. The majority of our students have never met an educated woman. WISER provides strong female role models in its teachers, the first in the region, and a positive learning environment for girls.

Supported Charities / WISER

Play this video
I Am Born A Girl

Educating girls has dramatic health benefits and has been shown to be the single most potent factor globally in reducing infant mortality. This "return on investment" is linear, with "dividends" increasing with the level of education of the mother. Secondary school education for girls has also been shown to be highly protective against HIV infection.

The mission of the Women's Institute for Secondary Education and Research (WISER) is to improve educational, economic, and health outcomes for girls, particularly those orphaned by AIDS, while promoting community-wide enhancements in health and development. WISER is a Kenyan NGO formed in 2007.

Educating girls yields a higher rate of return than any
other investment available in the developing world.
—World Bank
  • Where We Are
    • WISER is based in Muhuru Bay on the shores of Lake Victoria in Kenya, an area that is isolated geographically, economically, politically, and educationally. This region has the highest HIV, malaria and infant mortality rates in the country. Less than 10% of all children receive the full schedule of childhood vaccinations. The region has limited electricity and access to clean water. Many school age girls receive little or no education because of discrimination, early forced marriages, orphan hood by AIDS, and early pregnancy. Sexual exploitation of school-aged girls is endemic and 50% of sexually active adolescent girls are involved in transactional sex in order to obtain funds for school fees, clothing and hygiene items.
  • Partners
    • WISER has partnered with Duke University, UNICEF-WASH, Johnson & Johnson, the NIKE Foundation, and the Fogarty International Clinical Research Program to develop and assess signature programs that address the interplay of health, education and development. These programs include a boarding secondary school for 120 girls (opened in 2010) that provides all resources for a safe and effective education as well as healthy psychosocial development. WISER works closely with the Ministry of Health to provide health care and health education to its students, one third of whom are AIDS orphans. WISER also provides a primary school program, WISERBridge, that currently serves over 700 co-educational students. WISERBridge builds educational capacity and helps all students be more competitive for secondary school. WISERBridge also distributes sanitary pads to girls preparing for national exams. Our health programs include the first source of clean drinking water for the community via a water purification facility and pumping system, and a community- and church-based HIV prevention program that enhances family communication and economic strategies that reduce HIV risk behaviors in youth.
  • Progress
    • Prior to WISER's work in Muhuru Bay, very few girls in primary school continued to secondary school. After two years of the WISERBridge program over 40% of girls now qualify for secondary school. The number of girls completing primary school has increased by 50% and early marriages have been reduced. WISER also has extensive co-educational programs to build gender allies in boys and young men. We believe WISER's programs will increase the quality of life for everyone in the region, especially with the strong community partnership WISER has carefully created and nurtured.
  • For More Information on WISER:
  • 4216 Oak Hill Rd.
    Chapel Hill, NC 27514
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