A host of international organizations promotes the belief that education will empower Kenya's Maasai girls. Yet the ideas that animate their campaigns often arise from presumptions that reduce the girls themselves to helpless victims of gender-related forms of oppression.
Heather D. Switzer's interviews with over one hundred Kenyan Maasai schoolgirls challenge the widespread view of education as a silver bullet solution to global poverty. In their own voices, the girls offer incisive insights into their commitments, aspirations, and desires. Switzer weaves this ethnographic material into an astute analysis of historical literature, education and development documents, and theoretical literature. Maasai schoolgirls express a particular knowledge about themselves and provocative hopes for their futures. Yet, as Switzer shows, new opportunities force them to face, and navigate, new vulnerabilities and insecurities within a society that is itself in flux.