As One Village At A Time says goodbye to Kenya, we look back with fond memories and lessons learned. Our “Empower 200 Mothers and 1,000 Girls in Kenya” project helped girls and women get educated, gain self-confidence and a voice, and grow as women and community leaders. And we couldn’t have done it without you.
Adolescent girls in Western Kenya bear the burden of a number of challenges ranging from the HIV/AIDS epidemic and unsafe abortions to teenage pregnancies and early school dropout/poor attendance due to many factors, such as a lack of basic needs. These basic needs include something as simple as sanitary pads, which are too costly for these girls whose families live below a dollar a day.
Our reusable pads program has been one of our biggest successes. Before this program, girls missed a week of school each month because of their menses. But with the reusable towels, these girls are in school full time. In 2013, in just three schools -- Nina, Nangeni and Got Oyenga – 451 girls got sanitary towels.
The impact of the reusable sanitary towels program has been far-reaching. The girls experience:
Among our goals with this project was decreasing the dropout rate among girls. The girls have been doing very well and the dropout rate has decreased! And fewer girls are getting pregnant, thanks to the life skills sessions they attend every month that address reproductive health issues.
And to top everything off, in the year 2013, more girls than ever enrolled for the national exams.
This all bodes well for the future of this country.
As we say goodbye to Kenya, we are excited about future projects in Guyana. Please stay tuned to GlobalGiving as we will be posting a new project soon.
Thank you so much for your wonderful support and for helping and empowering so many women and girls in Kenya.
The community of Got Oyenga in Siaya, Kenya is receptive to the Participatory Integrated Community Development (PICD) process. This is clear in the response of those who regularly attend the meetings.
Got Oyenga Primary School is doing wonderful work with adolescent girls as part of your funding to One Village At A Time. Life skills sessions are held regularly with high attendance. Girls are purchasing reusable sanitary pads that allows them to stay in school during their menses. Our girls are empowered, confident, and vocal. This is rubbing off on the community.
At the Got Oyenga PICD meetings, the women are more vocal and participate more than the men. The teachers from the school, including the head teacher, are always present during the meetings and participate well.
One Village, in partnership with Kisumu Medical Educational Trust (K-Met), identifies a community and school with severe poverty and children suffering from malnutrition and high HIV rate. As a team, we introduce PICD to help the community being to coalesce and form a strategic plan for feeding the children in the school and to become self-sustaining. We set up a team that works regularly with the school and the community.
The PICD process has enabled the community members to realize the reasons some projects were started within the community but did not last due to lack of ownership. But the community of Got Oyenga is taking ownership of the school feeding program.
Parents contribute maize and beans toward the school feeding program. The pupils bring any available food from home to eat for lunch at school. Students are not allowed to leave the school grounds during lunch, necessitating sharing. That means that even those who do not have anything to eat will still have food. The school also has a garden where they cultivate maize.
Thank you for your support of One Village At A Time. Together, we are making a difference!
Got Oyenga Primary School epitomizes the work done by One Village At A Time.
Got Oyenga Primary School in Siaya, Kenya, has 8 teachers employed by the government and 4 others who are paid by the parents. It boasts about 600 pupils. Just this year, Got Oyenga started a secondary school with assistance from local leaders and community contributions. Due to high demand, the only secondary school in the community enrolls 26 students.
Life skills sessions for adolescent girls are held regularly in the school. Attendance is always high and the girls themselves propose topics for learning. The teachers actively participate in these forums.
Some girls are purchasing pads one at a time. Reusable sanitary towels are given to the most needy teenage girls. Your contributions to One Village At A Time provide reusable sanitary pads that allow girls to stay in school full time instead of missing one week a month during their menses. We’ve found that in schools where girls receive sanitary pads, they are more confident, more vocal, and more empowered.
Girls in Got Oyenga are not allowed to drop out during pregnancy. This is a strategy by the headmaster, who says it has helped reduce pregnancy incidences.
Because of your contributions, our girls are becoming community leaders. Thank you!
Empowering girls and women in Kenya is not enough. As a responsible small nonprofit, one of my goals as Executive Director is to see that young women are brought into positions of power in our organization. At present, our board consists of members who are under 40 years old, most of whom are women around 30 years old.
While Global Giving has and continues to help us raise the funds needed for the girls and women in Kenya, we cannot rely upon them alone. We have a dynamic team of women who planned and executed a fundraiser on Feb. 12, 2013. Their skills at marketing, social media, and planning events are extraordinary.
I believe that too many nonprofit organizations rely on the same people to sit on different boards. I believe that they can rely too heavily on older people with “contacts” who will bring in the large donations. And that is probably true. But if we are to survive and raise a philanthropic nation, we must encourage the young. We must give them the opportunities to sit on boards, know how a 501©(3) works, and listen and incorporate their “out of the box thinking.” We do that at One Village at a Time.
"Now that my daughter has [sanitary] pads, she speaks up in the house and teaches me what she learns. She has found her voice." A mother in Siaya, Kenya, whose daughter would hide in the bushes during her menses, shared this revelation with us. Her daughter is now able to attend school every day because she has the supplies she needs during her menses.The key to keeping Kenyan girls in school is to make sure they have the necessary supplies. Yes, pencils and tablets are important, but more important are sanitary pads. Without pads, the girls miss one week of school every month and miss out on vital education. Last year One Village At A Time started giving the girls pads, but it took a full year before they told us that they were also missing the panties they needed to use the pads. It is difficult to comprehend poverty in which little girls do not have underpants. And it was not until they trusted us enough to tell us that we could change the situation. In the schools where girls received pads and panties, we've found that they are more confident; they feel empowered to speak up in class. They also teach their mothers about reproductive health. When you educate a girl, you change the life of the village!Thanks to GlobalGiving, we can now equip our girls with the panties and sanitary pads they need ... and all the girls in our 3 schools can attend school every day. Thank you for helping our girls find their voices!
For more, please check out this video:
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