Asembo Skills for Hope: Equipping women with skills to prosper

woman tailoring in a shop with shelves behind her
“The Skills Academy training was great because it enabled us to learn many things within a short period of time compared to a technical college. After graduating from Asembo Skills for Hope, I bought my own sewing machine with my savings. Now I have my own income, which I use to buy household goods and pay for my children’s school fees. I plan to expand my business by opening a store in the market center where more customers can find me.”

/ Dorcus Okinyi Opiyo, First Cohort Graduate
    Asembo, Kenya


50% of students in Kenya drop out of secondary school. 25% of children already drop out of primary school in rural areas. Many girls are unable to complete their education due to school costs. Without a path to earning a decent income many have little control over their own lives and instead follow the traditional roles of wife and mother. The cycle of poverty continues when they are unable to pay for their children’s education. Before participating in Asembo’s Skills Academy, the women’s average income was zero. Prior to joining the program, the 2023 cohort had less than 6€ in savings, no stove, and 20% of the women had to skip a meal due to a lack of money.



Asembo Skills for Hope provides an opportunity for women each year to enroll in their Skills Academy, which teaches vocational, entrepreneurship, and life skills, empowering them to earn an income and achieve agency. Their work is modelled after the Graduation Approach, which aims to break the generational cycle of poverty by focusing on impact over scale. Their core program, the Skills Academy, is an intensive year-long training program that equips 30 women per year with vocational, entrepreneurial, and life skills. Their current curriculum trains women to become seamstresses and they plan to add additional vocational skills in the future. Asembo Skills for Hope provides support long after the women graduate. Wellbeing is at the core, complemented by access to microloans and business coaching. They further launched a social enterprise in 2023 to close supply chain gaps for the graduates, create job opportunities, and stimulate economic growth in the region. Asembo stands out for their strong, data-driven internal impact monitoring, based on 70 indicators in 4 categories (income, economic status, agency, wellbeing).

3 key facts
  • $0 -> $64 USD
    average increase in monthly income for graduates
  • 100%
    of graduates’ children are attending school
  • 100%
    do not believe women’s primary role in life is to have children (baseline 7%) and that husbands have the right to hit their wives if they disobey (baseline 47%)

About the organization

Asembo Skills for Hope is a community-based organization that provides vocational training and holistic support to women under the age of 30 who were not able to afford high school. Asembo Skills for Hope was founded by Grace Ongong’a and Josephine Apiyo in 2020 and is based in Asembo, Kenya, where both were born and raised. Grace and Josephine founded Asembo Skills for Hope to create a path to economic independence and empowerment for the women of their hometown.


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