As the world was observing the last day of sixteen days of activism against gender based violence and celebrating human rights day on 10th December, VAP’s Mrembo project zipped it up by organizing a GBV procession walk. Sixteen football teams from all the corners of Nairobi mainly composed of girls and few boys came with their guns blazing with whistles on their mouth carrying a huge banner and placards written on different types of messages in support of a girl child and under one #stopping Rape joined in the procession that started from the streets of Eastleigh, through the slums of Kiambiu all the way to Kiambiu football ground. The procession had a brief stopover at the Kiambiu chief’s camp where the chief applauded VAP’s effort in fighting gender based violence and pledged to work together and support VAP in its fight against gender based violence especially in Kiambiu slum where the prevalence of G.B.V is sky rocketing.
Scoring Against Gender Based Violence
After amplifying their voices on the streets, it was time for the teams to put their best feet forward on the football pitch and compete for the 4th annual Miss Mrembo tournament. The sixteen teams played in small sided games 7 vs 7 with football 3 methodology where boys and girls had equal time to discuss before and after the match. The methodology teaches young people to learn how to solve issues themselves and build consensus. The approach has been of great impact to VAP towards achieving its core aim of transmitting and reinforcing important messages on health issues as well addressing other topics such as gender equality, social inclusion, peace building and youth leadership.Off the field, Mrembo peer educators were at hand to take the teams through gender based violence topics, discussions and the rights of a girl child
Queens Against Gender Based Violence
Putting the cream on the day’s cake was Mrembo beauty pageant contest that attracted twelve girls from the participating teams. Mrembo salon staff were at hand with all the salon’s beauty paraphernalia to provide the necessary beauty applications to the participants who had to perform a catwalk on the runway displaying their outlook and walking styles. Vivian from Golden Angels team was crowned Miss mrembo 2015 by the two judges as a result of not only looking stunning and performing an excellent catwalk but answering G.B.V questions correctly which was the key aspect of miss mrembo beauty pageant. The winner walked away with a voucher to purchase educational supplies, one ball and one year supply of sanitary towels. Runners up walked away a voucher to purchase educational supplies, ball and six months supply of sanitary towels. Third runners up walked away with a voucher to purchase educational supplies, a ball and a three months supply of sanitary towels.”I have gained the confidence to speak out against on rape issues” Said 13 years old Vivian . “I will speak out and protect our sisters against G.B.V”.Said 15 years old Alfred.
The month of September was a month of surprise for two Mrembo VCT graduates: Benta and Faith as job openings came beckoning for them. Through efforts and a partnership made by Mrembo Vocational Training manager and 'Step In 'salon where Brenda works and 'Shine Out' barbershop where Faith works, the two girls were first absorbed as interns for one month the whole of September and later confirmed job placements in the month of October."Am happy that I can make my own money and support myself and my family."Said Faith. "I had given up my life but since I joined VAP programs and the vocational trainings, my hope started coming back. Am also so proud that I have a job to help myself and live independently."Said Benta. The entire VAP fraternity wishes both girls the very best in their future endeavors. Hands On! VAP coaches and volunteers were caught unaware when the newly recruited Mrembo salon vocational training girls emerged with salon equipments ready to treat them on: manicure, pedicure and facial as part of their practical sessions. The practicals were done at VAP's head offices where coaches and volunteers had converged for a monitoring and evaluation meeting. The exercise provided an avenue for assessment of their work led by their head trainers, Celestine Onyango and Bonila Otieno. Since the admission of the new girls in the Mrembo vocational training, there has been a significant piece of improvement for practicals and theories as well as financial literacy and computer skills that was introduced recently Girls Football Tournament Under the theme of 'Cheza Ball avoid kuget ball' which is a Swahili version coupled with some english and slung meaning, play football to avoid early pregnancy, Nairobi Brain Trust (NBT) a network composed of over 20 organizations who work with vulnerable adolescent girls in Kenya in conjunction with VAP's Mrembo program, rolled up their sleeves with VAP through Mrembo program in organizing a one day girls football tournament targeting 15 teams of ages 14-19 years. The tournament was held at Jericho community grounds attracting a crowd of over 400 people who came to watch football and witnessing participants being taken through: causes of teenage pregnancies, effects of teenage pregnancies on adolescent girls, role of sports and attending school as well as preventing early sex debut and other health talks all these provided by Mrembo peer educators. The football matches were conducted using football 3 methodologies where Prior to each match, teams came together to discuss how they would want to play the match and agree on specific rules which they would like to apply during the match where there was no referee and so players were given a chance to solve their disputes through dialogue with an aim of creating peace. Becoming A Citizen Journalist More than four organizations, VAP being one of them were invited to attend Nairobi Brain Trust NBT media workshop held at Henessis Hotel in Nairobi. The three day workshop attended by three young girls from VAP was all about how to capture compelling stories, media ethics and how to be a good Citizen Journalist in the Community and to identify a problem in the address it in a more robust way to the people affected, narrating a story as it is, work on with the community on how to come up with possible solution.
Six immediate former Mrembo program graduates from three slum areas: Kiambio, Majengo and Mathare have been recruited into Mrembo salon and vocational training. This brings to a total of 17 girls so far who would have undergone through Mrembo vocational trainings since the inception of Mrembo vocational training program. The four girls are expected to be trained on: hair beauty, .barber, business development and financial literacy just as their predecessors and are expected to graduate in October before the intake of the last batch that would conclude this year.
Fundraising and Sustainability Workshop
Sustainable funding remains a key concern to many charity organizations around the world. This is amplified by dwindling funds from traditional donor sources who support projects for a limited period of time. In most instances, the organizations and communities are left stranded after completion of projects. Further Resource Mobilization strategies have in the recent years changed significantly. This therefore begs the question, with the emerging funding trends, how can non- profit organizations adopt sustainable funding? VAP represented by Business Development and I GA team was amongst the invited organizations in Kenya who were invited by The Knod Foundation and standard chartered to think together, share and sort ideas on how to tackle this. The Knod foundation in collaboration with Standard chartered organized a workshop at Serena Hotel, Nairobi and brought on board seasoned, experienced and respected personalities in the field of Resource mobilization and organizational sustainability who shared great ideas and strategies that would orchestrate charity organizations address financial sustainability within themselves.
Mrembo football club being an off shoot of VAP originated from the ribs of Mrembo program (a program that addresses sexual health reproductive issues amongst girls).The team comprises of 40 girls aged between 10-15 years old who train at Kiambio grounds under master coach Everlyn Anyango.Despite training for various tournaments and leagues within Nairobi, the team also serves as an avenue for safe spaces where players and coaches can talk candidly,think,and make decision about issues affecting girl child. Due to the initial success of Mrembo FC and the urge of empowering girls participation in sports, VAP has emerged with four more Mrembo football chapters namely: Undugu, Crescent, Goodwill and Golden Bridge where the same opportunity is provided. All the chapters have been assigned with one Mrembo coach who doubles up as lifeskills/football coach
Coach of the Month
Having the DNA of a sports family background, 25 year old coach Evelyn has been very instrumental in her responsibilities both as a life skill coach and a football coach. She has a vast coaching experience coaching various institutions and community centres. Evelyn who is in charge of Mrembo FC, Kiambio chapter, spends her morning hours of the day in VAP’s ground office, serving the community members who stream in either for counseling or referral advice. In the evenings she leads her Mrembo team in football practices and winds up with group discussions talking about critical issues engulfing the girl child.
Women Win Visits VAP
On 24th July 2014 VAP was privileged to welcome Yvonne from Women Win who had paid a courtesy call to VAP offices. Yvonne was in Kenya visiting various Women Win supported projects .She had an opportunity to meet with VAP’s Mrembo coaches during their monthly monitoring and evaluation meeting, and was taken through the monitoring and evaluation systems by Boniface, VAP’s M&E mogul. Women Win has been a great partner to VAP and it has been supporting VAP’s programs specifically Mrembo program and Salon vocational trainings.
Through Kenya Sports for Development Partnership (KSDP) under the initiative of “Women empowerment through sports” VAP was engaged as a mentor organization to Society Empowerment Project (SEP) in Homa-Bay county. This was a follow up of the women empowerment workshop organized by KSDP where VAP was one of the organizations that attended. The two days exchange program event that took place on 26th and 27th of July was conducted by VAP’s experienced master coach Anne who covered a myriad of topics including: leadership and mentorship, sports for development, adolescent, sexual and reproductive health, HIV/AIDS etc.Anne also mentored and built the capacity of Joan, a young leader from SEP who would as well trickle down the ripple effect.
After graduating from VAP’s soccer life skills programs, VAP provides vulnerable young women with an opportunity to be trained on hairdressing, beauty and financial literacy through the Mrembo (Girls) salon vocational training. Girls who complete training courses are placed for jobs in various salons and institutions and some are empowered to start their own businesses.
It’s due to this success that VAP through Mrembo program is targeting to raise $ 7000 by the end of this year to set up a Mrembo Restaurant that would provide catering training, financial literacy and employment opportunity for the Mrembo girls who graduate from life skills programs and bridge the sky rocketing gap of 67 % youth unemployment rate in Kenya. The proceeds from the restaurant would as well go towards sustaining the Mrembo program that addresses issues of sexual health reproductive amongst girls.
”Am so glad that I set up my own salon and now am independent and I can support myself.” Said Aisha. "The hairdressing, beauty, and financial trainings that I received at Mrembo vocational training, has helped me to secure a job in a salon where am getting paid.” Said Salome.
“We are calling upon well wishers from Global Giving and everywhere to support us to realize this dream where vulnerable girls would also get an opportunity to trained on, catering, financial literacy as well as creating employment opportunity for this girls to work in the restaurant or even they themselves creating their own business.”Said Nancy VAP’s Project Director.
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