PCSE Seed Grants in Action: Report #1 from Accessible and Affordable Sanitation for Women

Each year, the Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship awards $5,000 seed grants to fund the launch or early-stage growth of a project, program, or venture. Accessible and Affordable Sanitation for Women run by Sydney Ochieng ’22 and Ziyaan Virji (Aga Khan Academy Mombasa), was one of this year’s winners. This is their first report since receiving funding from the PCSE in March 2019.


Since receiving the grant AASW made efforts to expand the work we are doing. We had interested stake holders such as One Love who we discussed with a collaboration of donating female underwear. Unfortunately, our main collaborator; the women’s group we worked with in the community are moving away to a new country. This was a major setback as they were a backbone for us in regard to our community engagement. We decided to bring the initiative closer home where we were more accessible in the summer. This would make it easier to create a new team, gather resources, look for collaborators and re brand ourselves in the new city.  Since then we reached out to several women empowerment organizations in Kisumu city expressing our interesting in working with them to improve girls’ educational access. We wanted to pitch AASW to them for a partnership within their organizations however most of them already have a menstrual sanitation project in place.

Nonetheless with our overall goal of improving educational access to girls, I reached out to a peer Ferdinand Quayson ’20 founder of Young Achievers Foundation Ghana (Yaf Ghana).  Yaf Ghana is a nonprofit organization that seeks to improve access to higher education to students of marginalized and poor economic backgrounds. I wanted to expand his nonprofit currently based in Ghana to Kenya (Yaf Kenya).  This is because we felt that we could still impact girl’s education in this respect even thought it was different from provision of hygiene products.  Also speaking to organizations most of them said that the girls they helped had poor high school to college transition.   

Over the last 3 weeks, we have been able to gather relative SAT practice materials from Yaf Ghana and had numerous calls with Ferdinand to learn how to run the initiative. Currently Yaf Kenya is a 4-person team consisting of, Alvin Kibaara a rising sophomore at Wesleyan, Drake a student from Amherst, Ferdinand Quayson and myself. Our plan is to run SAT preparation workshops in the two different cities simultaneously as we shortlist top 3 students from each of the three cities; Nairobi and Kisumu. These students will proceed with to make college applications in the fall.  So far, we have made visits to 4 different schools and expressed our interest in collaborating with them to try and ensure a college transition. Next week we will get a chance to speak to the students about Yaf Kenya and start running SAT preparation workshops shortly after. We are excited to share with you how our work unfolds in the next few months.