New Restaurant for Economic Empowerment
Arguably one of the greatest challenges facing young Kenyans today is unemployment and low employability.62% of the population in Kenya is under 25 years of age. The youth unemployment rate hovers around 13% on average. This figure, while high, masks the gravity of the problem of under-employment, discouraged work force and lack of career opportunities.In response to this,VAP being an organization that embraces and works with young generation through football for social and economic empowerment,has opened M-food restaurant.Originating from the loins of Mrembo (Girls) program, the new M-food restaurant and catering school is intended to engage and motivate Mrembo program graduates, provide them with valuable soft skills including,catering,pastry,financial and computer literacy and prepare them for the job-market as well as helping them create their own sustainable income generating opportunities. Just like Mrembo salon vocational training where VAP works so closely with well-established hair and beauty shops for the purposes of providing internship and job placements for the graduates-food will work closely with various well established restaurants that would provide internships and job placements for the M-food graduates who will eventually join the other lot of ‘VAP Achievers’ (graduates who have been socially and economically empowered).Additionally,proceeds from the restaurant will go towards supporting Mrembo(girls) program in different ways e.g purchase of sanitary towels and other support.
Wasichana Wacheze(Girls Play) Champions League
Clinging on the same trend of unveiling the inner beauty of a girl child through football based activities via Mrembo program, a mini football league dubbed ‘Wasichana Wacheze’ composed of girls from various chapters both in schools and community centres was organized from 30th June ending on 6th August. The aim of the ‘Wasichana Wacheze’ champions league was to create a springboard for the girls to showcase their football talents and a safe space for them to discuss crucial topics crowding sexual health, reproductive and rights issues among adolescent girls. Jericho chapter emerged the first winners of Wasichana Wacheze and were awarded with a trophy and other educational supplies, including sanitary pads. The other participating teams also walked out with educational materials that would support their education with sanitary pads.
With schools on vocation, the month of August turned out to be a bee hive of many community events and activities spreading out in various parts of Nairobi. Top on the list was ‘Goal Events’ where a total of three events were conducted. The event focused on girls who had a privilege of being taught on communication, health and hygiene, rights and financial literacy coupled with football matches. Some of these events were attended by Standard chartered bank staff who had to depart their comfort zones and have program’s hands-on experience with the participants and the community. Despite the Goal events, a series of other program activities were well on track and with an additional Kick N Test football conducted at the tail end of August that saw participants getting to know their HIV status and receiving other health services which is already a culture of Kick N Test football tournaments
Due to the ever rising and the huge volume of sexual and GBV cases occurring and being reported to the attention of VAP’s customer care desk and counselling department, VAP has deployed a mitigation plan by enrolling two of its coaches to attend further studies for counselling and guiding at Amani counselling centre. The two candidates, Mbinda and Linda will join Elizabeth who has been at the forefront of rapidly responding to GBV cases, getting in touch with other local referral institutions, giving them all the necessary support and making follow ups of the victimized youth and individuals. The three will be expected to form a strong unit that will adequately handle and reduce a backlog of GBV cases being reported as well as teach other coaches basic counselling and guiding topics. They will be expected to create a hotline number that would be at the disposal of the community, embark on educating everyone involved on early signs of Gender Based Violence cases and other important prerequisite for child protection in the organization: coaches code of ethics, rules, regulations and policies. Equally important is the hand-in-hand working collaboration between community volunteers, community leaders, parents, teachers and authorities, which VAP would really want to bank on as it drives on this important agenda. Additionally, they will work closely with HIV testing partners during Kick N Test football tournaments.
A day mixed with football, fun, mentorship and girl talk is what described VAP’s international women’s day that was globally celebrated on 8th March 2015.Right from the echelons of VAP: women staff, coaches and volunteers joined the bandwagon of other women from all the corners of the world to celebrate this extra ordinary day by gathering at Jericho community field with their football gears ready to play football matches with Mrembo Girls program participants. The teams were divided into groups, mixed with staff, coaches, participants and volunteers and lasted for two and a half hours. The tail hour of the games was spent on girl talks and mentorship where both participants had to open up and talk about experiences of issues they have gone through as a ‘girl’ child. In small groups, coaches took the lead by making an introduction and narrating the challenges they had gone through and how they had to overcome them. These introductions opened a Pandora’s box as partipants one by one started to get unglued, opening up and sharing their ordeal with the rest of the team including coaches and staff. Based on their vast experience of handling girls issues, and some of them by the virtue of after ‘been there and done that’,VAP coaches and staff offered supportive talk and advice to the participants including making informed choices and referrals to cases that were critical.
Coach of The Month
After having a short stint working with the community in a different capacity outside VAP, the two years experience that Carol has so far had with VAP since joining as a coach has been a springboard of advancing and cementing her talent and dreams of serving her fellow youth mates. Carol has been so phenomenon and passionate in executing her responsibilities both as a football coach of Mrembo FC and a life skills coach in various schools and community centres. The latest spanner thrown into her work was the digital story telling workshop that she attended in Netherlands a couple of months ago courtesy of Women Win which she has excellently built on it by training a couple of program girls on how to tell and write their personal stories. Despite teaching football and life skills to program participants, the ripple effects of digital story telling continues with other program participants who are learning from Carol on how to package and write their own personal stories
Following up on the DST young leaders training that they received in Netherlands courtesy of Women Win, three young leaders from VAP: Ann, Carol and Liz conducted a 5 day digital story telling workshop with 16 high school adolescent girls from Golden Bridge high school. The girls were taken through a media making process that involved communicating a story in first person using digital media such as recorded voice, video, audio, still images and music. In addition they were also equipped with technical skills, knowledge and opportunity to write, produce and share their personal stories of transformation through sport as well as producing their own videos on challenges they faced, how they overcame them and the impact sport has had in their lives. DST is a unique tool for outreach, healing and recovery. As a process, the act of telling one’s story can have a profoundly empowering impact on the storyteller. Participants actively construct and reconstruct themselves and their stories through the process of narration. Sharing one’s story, it enables healing, building community, and inspiring social change.
Who's This Girl?
Ten years ago Ayoti was 12 years old and just had a first stint as both Skillz and Mrembo participant at Morrison primary school as well as playing football for Mrembo fc.Over the years she has been a great and interactive program participant and showed a high degree of charismatic leadership rooted from her days when she used to be the team captain for Mrembo FC.From her different spheres of life ,strings of achievements and accolades including sports have been on her feet even during her high school time. After her high school graduation in November 2014, she decided to keep up the spirit by joining VAP as a coach and give back to the community what VAP initially installed in her at her tender age.Ayoti is now actively involved as a certified Skillz and Mrembo coach and very busy doing what she likes most,’Changing lives’
No sooner had the New Year started than the two former Mrembo Salon vocational training graduates: Atieno and Achieng got jobs at Hopeline Salon and Beauty centre. The two girls had to embrace a three months hair and beauty vocational training at Mrembo salon where they were also trained on computer and financial literacy. The two girls had exemplary performance both in their theoretical and practical lessons during their vocational training and this played into their advantage on the very first day of their job interviews and confirming to their boss that their job preparation was not a fluke.”Having graduated from Mrembo program, and recruited into Mrembo salon for vocational training and finally landing a job is something that am fully proud of and will never forget.I feel am fully equipped both socially and economically.”Said 16 years old Atieno.
Mrembo's Voice Goes Vital
Launched on a shoestring budget but with an ambitious goal, Mrembo program a facet of VAP is amongst the 146 applicants selected from a highly competitive pool of over 1200 outstanding applicants for the Vital Voices Global partnership class for the 2015 VV Lead fellowship program. With funding support provided by the UK government’s Department for International Development, Vital Voices have selected a group of emerging and established women leaders who provide unusual and sustainable solutions to pressing problems that have impeded women and girls’ progress to participate fully in society and the economy.VV Lead Fellowship program offers participants unique opportunities to exchange information, obtain resources and tools, mentor and be mentored, share knowledge, best practices and learning and receive training over the course of one year through offering tailored to meet your professional needs, goals and objectives. Vital Voices Global partnership was founded by: former US first lady and US secretary of states the honorable Hilary Rodham Clinton, honorable Nancy Kassebaum Baker (Senator R-KS) and honorable Kay Bailey Hutchison (senator R-TX) with a mission to identify, invest in and bring visibility to extraordinary women around the world by unleashing their leadership potential to transform lives and accelerate peace and prosperity in their communities. It’s as well a preeminent non-governmental organization (NGO) that identifies trains and empowers emerging women leaders and social entrepreneurs around the globe, enabling them to create a better world for all.
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