Save girls from
forced child marriage
and female genital mutilation

James Ekuwam (isiolo)

Hello team today while taking my landscape survey I visited manyatta zebra village in ngaremara ward isiolo county I found a young girl who have not gone to school I was. able to talk with a parents they and told me that they will be willing to enroll her to the school but the problem is that she the source of the family wealth because she is the only girl they have

1:31 PM
Initial message


During routine landscape surveys on July 2023, one of PlantVillage's field officers met a 7-year-old girl named Sabina who was not in school.

When he asked her family why she wasn’t in school, they said that because she is their only girl and they are living in poverty, they need to marry her to a man 4× her age for the dowry payment.

We then intervened and provided her with the opportunity to attend school instead, where she is currently thriving.

Sabina’s class
First day at school
Loyce at home


A couple of weeks later, a different field officer in Turkana met another little girl named Loyce who was in the same situation as Sabina, and we paid to get her in school as well.

Because we could not pay for their school with regular PlantVillage funds, we had to rely on the generosity of our staff who contributed their own funds to support Sabina and Loyce's education.

First day at school

Send more girls to school

We then created The Village Youth Fund to provide us with the necessary business infrastructure to extend educational opportunities to more girls in similar situations.

Our vision

We knew that simply paying school fees was not enough to keep girls in school and away from child marriage. Our vision is thus to create a sustainable framework wherein PlantVillage's broader resilience building initiatives are anchored around the school, enabling us to not only improve the quality of education but also to capitalize on the profitability of these initiatives.

The income from this will be allocated towards enhancing the learning environment in PlantVillage accredited schools, as well as establishing high-yield savings accounts for VYF-sponsored children to be able to access upon their graduation, ensuring a brighter future for each one of them. In this manner, we are not only creating a strong financial motivation for school attendance but also equipping children with versatile skills in fields such as business, science, AI, engineering, and more.

Who we are

David Hughes

PlantVillage founder and Village youth fund co-founder

Kate Ott

Village Youth Fund co-founder and CEO

Catherine Karungo

Kenya Team

Melodine Jeptoo

Kenya Team

James Ekuwam

Child protection officer for Isiolo

Frankline Lemasulani

Child protection officer for Isiolo

Evans Kangiro

Child protection officer for Turkana

Ejore Ekutan Vitalis

Child protection officer for Turkana

Gibson Ewaar

Child protection officer for Turkana


PlantVillage is a research group comprised of over 250 people, ~95% being African youth. It was founded by David Hughes in 2012 at Penn State University.

PlantVillage is a United Nations and USAID backed initiative that uses smartphones and AI to help African farmers adapt to climate change and increase food security.

In 2021, PlantVillage was named a USAID Innovation lab as part of the US Government's commitment to end malnutrition globally.

According to UN estimates, PlantVillage’s technology has protected the food security of 36.6 million people by preventing roughly $1.56 billion worth of food loss.

As part of the carbon capture initiative, PlantVillage has planted over 1.6 million trees in Africa and is working with communities to create biochar, which both pulls carbon out of the atmosphere and serves as an alternative source of income for smallholder farmers.

How we know what the problem is

>1,243 people surveyed

We surveyed community members in the Kenyan counties of Samburu, Turkana, Isiolo, Marsabit, Baringo, and Narok. These were  43% Male and 57% female with  more younger people than older people sampled.


reported that child marriage is harmful but often necessary / unavoidable

<15 years old

Socially acceptable 
marriage age for 14% of the respondents


It is not uncommon for young girls to die by suicide after being married to an older man.

Hi while taking my child welfare,l meet a young man called Chris Prvt., he welcomed me to his house.while taking him through question, when reached out to question of "in what ways can getting married young be harmful to a girl?"that man was almost to cry what made me to wonder, but later he told me that her sister was victim of what you are the year of 2006, her sister of 18 years was forced to be married by an old man of 56 years. the dowry was given to my parents and the sister was taken.there, the sister become pregnant. after giving birth in the year 2007, she take care of her girl upto 3 years where she decided to take suicide due to intimidations of her husband co wife.after her death, Chris who is the auncle take in charge of taking care of Christine Prvt. he took her to school and she is now schooling at Nabolon girl school at grade 7.her auncle is saying he is not in position to take her to boarding school due to lack of school fees.she is now a day schoolor.
8:47 AM

The most common reasons reported

for believing that child marriage is beneficial

  • Bear more children before menopause
  • Wealth to family
  • A man can educate his wife early
  • She will gain a husband and children
  • Able to assist husband with domestic duties
  • Husband will give her food and make her gain weight
  • Able to start a new life

Subscribe to our newsletter

Stay up to date on everything happening at the village youth fund

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while subscribing. Try again.