If you have been keeping up with WISER this year, you might have noticed that news from campus and around the globe has come at a breakneck pace. During this season of reflection and celebration, we want to take a moment to look back at this unprecedented year in WISER’s history. Here are some of our favorite moments from 2019:
#1: Solar energy came into the classroom.
We Share Solar, which partnered with WISER in 2018 to install solar panels on our campus, came back to bring solar energy into the classroom! WISER got the chance to host STEM educators from across the region as they learned how to implement We Share Solar’s “solar suitcases” into their own school curricula. Thanks to this work, WISER girls and students across Western Kenya have the opportunity to both hone their STEM skills and learn all about renewable energy. We can’t imagine a better combination of skills for students to carry with them into the future.
#2: Clean water’s reach tripled.
With the help of partners at USAID, the Kenya Integrated Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Project, and the Muhuru Bay Community Water board, WISER helped bring clean water to 15,000 people—tripling its previous impact. These water kiosks are sustainably powered through solar energy and will help prevent water-borne illnesses throughout the Muhuru Bay area and beyond. WISER is committed to keep WISER girls and their communities healthy for years to come.
#3: Partners around the world focused on women’s empowerment.
WISER’s partnerships grew to new heights in 2019, and each of our partners centered women’s empowerment in creative ways. Saalt provided WISER girls with menstrual cups, helping WISER to foster a culture of agency and self-assurance around sexual health and menstrual hygiene. WISER also got the chance to highlight the importance of athletics in personal development in our work with the Duke Women’s Soccer team. These women-led partnerships remind us that when women are united, nothing can stop them from succeeding.
#4: We watched the Class of 2018 graduate.
29 incredible women celebrated their graduation from WISER this year, and every single one of them had exam scores that qualified them for university. Not only that, but 70% of the class will attend college on full scholarships. In a community where few girls have the opportunity to finish secondary school, the fact that all 29 of these girls not only graduated, but are headed to college, is astounding. We wish these girls all the best in 2020!
#5: Our alumni are changing the world.
This year, WISER alumni were in the spotlight all over the world. Our alumni support programs grew with the help of the Morris Family Foundation, and WISER celebrated its second annual Alumni Mentorship Day. Meanwhile, on the other end of the globe, two alums from WISER’s first graduating classes brought WISER’s message of empowerment and education to powerful places. Floviance (WISER c/o 2013) added her voice to a room full of entrepreneurs at the Titan Generator Summit at Google Headquarters in Austin, TX, while Mercy (WISER c/o 2014) told her story to a room full of girls’ education activists at the Obama Foundation Summit in Chicago, IL. As our alumni network continues to expand with each passing year, we know that this growing group of change-makers will continue to transform their world in 2020 and for years to come.
None of this work can happen without the support of the global WISER family. We are grateful to each of you for partnering with us to make a life-changing impact in the lives of girls and their communities, and we are so excited to see what 2020 brings!