Imagine for a moment that you’re back in the eighth grade. It’s graduation time. Where will you go to high school? The question for most is where, not whether. If you’re a female eighth grader in Kenya, less than half of your class will go on to secondary school. Cost, infrastructure, sociocultural norms, and health among other factors prove to be significant barriers to girls accessing education at the secondary level. In 2011, Dignitas initiated the Dottie Scholarship Program to remove the barrier of school fees from our female students’ educational challenges.


“I am grateful to all the benefactors of the Dottie Scholarship Program, this is a lifetime opportunity.
I remember when I completed my primary education, I did not know what the future would look like.
Luckily, I was selected [to the Dottie Scholarship Program]! The burden of school fees has reduced, at
least my parents now work hard to provide school fees for my two brothers.”

– Elizabeth Matilda, Dottie Scholar, Form Three

The current class of 35 Dottie Scholars recently completed a full day of personal and leadership development training, covering topics such as university level coursework, goal setting, and career planning. They also had the opportunity to cultivate skills that will serve them will into their careers as well as life outside of academics.

“I have learned about group work and working together with other people. I have improved on my communication skills. I have also had opportunities to experience many things through my learning at St Ann’s [Secondary School]. At St Ann’s, I am in a club called BTE – Bridge to Employment. In 2015, I had the opportunity to visit Washington DC in the U.S. for the Alliance Building & Training Session conference. This was an exciting experience, to represent my school in another continent that I had never imagined I would visit.”

–Immaculate Achieng, Dottie Scholar, Form Four

Since 2011, Dignitas has supported 48 Dottie Scholars to attend secondary school, covering full tuition and board. To date, ten Scholars have graduated from secondary school and moved on to university* and other professional endeavors. The Dottie Scholarship Program is supported by WLA – Women Leaders in Action as well as by local donors in Kenya. Their continued partnership enables and empowers our young women to excel in their education and beyond.

Congratulations to our Scholars for completing the 2016 Leadership Development Training!

*Current Dottie Scholars in university:


  • Kate Muchesia and Sharon Obaje – Partial scholarship at Kiriri Women’s University – Bachelor in Business Administration.
  • Pamela Akoth – Partial scholarship at Kiriri Women’s University-Diploma in Business Administration
  • Beverly Muhonja – Partial scholarship at Kiriri Women’s University-Bachelor in Business Administration
  • Susan Odhiambo – Partial Scholarship at Kiriri Women’s University-Taking Actuarial Science
  • Millicent Akoth – Government University Placement -Bachelor of Science – Kenyatta University


Milcah “Dottie” Okayo was born and raised in the Mathare community, one of the communities in which Dignitas works. She is remembered as a compassionate teacher who loved children and a community leader who sought to improve lives. In 2011, the Dottie Scholarship was begun in her name to provide high achieving female students with scholarships for full board and tuition to secondary school. Read more about some of our scholars here!