CUSSW Alumna Dennitah Ghati Shares Her Story
Born into a pastoral tribe in the Kuria District of southwest Kenya, Ghati ran away from home at twelve years old to escape “the female cut” and early marriage.
Ghati learned that to succeed in life, she needed to pursue an education and study hard. She completed her primary education in a boarding school with the support of Catholic nuns and her secondary education with her mother’s guidance. During this time, Ghati grew increasingly concerned about the plight of the women and girls in her community, and increasingly determined to do something about it. She continued her education by earning a bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Kenyatta University and began a career in journalism. In 2001, Ghati was granted the Fords International Foundation Program (IFP) Fellowship to attend the Columbia University School of Social Work as a member of IFP Kenya’s first cohort.
Ghati chose to pursue a master’s degree in Social Work because she wanted to better understand how to help people experiencing injustice and to determine the best solutions in addressing these problems. Upon returning to Kenya, Ghati founded the Education Centre for the Advancement of Women in the Kuria District, a grassroots organization that advocates on behalf of local women and girls through community workshops and empowerment activities. Today, Ghati continues to conduct advocacy work with local women and girls to promote women’s rights as human rights.
"I am no longer the village girl that I was five years ago. I am a transformed person. I want to ensure my whole community understands what it is they need to know – especially about giving respect and recognition to women, who are definitely the pillars of development. I have all the energy, zest and confidence I need."