On Saturday, April 27, 2013, Vijana Amani Pamoja (VAP) hosted its first Stopping Early Pregnancy in Adolescents Football Tournament. Twelve teams of fifteen girls each joined VAP via invitation at the football pitch in Bihati, Nairobi for a day of fun, games and education. Throughout the event, the teams enjoyed friendly competition on the pitch in a tournament style round robin format. During downtime in between matches, the girls learned from peer educators the dangers of engaging in unprotected sex, especially while they were young. Focus was placed on abstinence and self-control, along with the dangers of abortions. The girls were warned of some of the challenges they would face if they became pregnant so early in life, include losing out on schooling, being an only parent and the increased potential for drug abuse, to name a few.
Energy and excitement ran high, for both competition and learning. One of the participants, Esther of the Golden Angels, had this to say: “We have come to learn and to play. We have learned about early pregnancies and abortion, and have learned how to abstain and how to control ourselves. We have really enjoyed the game, playing football, and eating!” Overall, the tournament was a success for all involved.Please see attached document for full report and pictures..
Five girls have started a three month in hair and beauty as the Mrembo Girls Program this year expands into economic empowerment. These first trainees are being hosted at the Mrembo Hair & Beauty Salon, which was opened last May to generate funds for the program. Nancy Waweru, Program Director, explains why the program has been expanded, "For some of the girls we work with, social empowerment unfortunately has its limitations. Very needy girls can't even afford the basic essentials and too many turn to older partners, prostitution or settle for unhappy and abusive relationships." "By giving these girls a skill and the means to make a living, they will be able to look after themselves. Coupled with our educational and confidence boosting program, this approach can make a significant impact." The organisation's ambition is to graduate 20 girls during this coming year and there are also plans to offer additional vocational skills including catering and dressmaking. "I taught myself braiding and plaiting and have been making money by doing the neighbours' hair. But there are lots of other skills I need to be taught like manicures and pedicures.Once i have all those other skills, I'll feel confident enough to look for a job." Benta,19 years old. "After my teacher told me about this training course, I wanted to take part so I could build my life. With the skills I'll learn, I'll be able to confidently offer services and in the future open my own business. I've had a passion for hair and beauty for a long time, at school I would plait the other girls hair so I'm really excited for the opportunity." Victoria, 16 years old MREMBO SCORES MAJOR FUNDING It's a momentous year for the Mrembo Girls Program as the initiative scores its first major funding partner. Women Win, a global organisation which uses sport as a strategy to advance women's rights, will fund the program for the next three years. As a result, the program will significantly scale up its work with marginalized girls, aged 10 - 21 years, growing up Nairobi's slums. The Mrembo Girls Program, which educates and counsels girls on issues of sexuality and reproduction, is set to support over 1,000 vulnerable girls in 2013, a five-fold increase on previous years. To drive this expansion, Elizabeth Okinda has been promoted to Program Officer and will be supported by eight experienced peer educators. "Before the Mrembo Girls Program comes to their school, the girls are poorly informed on sex, sexuality and reproduction and this leads to huge social problems such as early pregnancy, child marriages and inter-generational relationships." Elizabeth explains. "With the support of Women Win, we now have the capacity to support so many more girls and help them to lead happy and healthy lives." Hewlett Foundation grants over $2,000 In January, the Mrembo team received the unexpected and exciting news that the Hewlett Foundation was to grant the project $2,058. To honour a retiring board member, the Hewlett Foundation chose to gift 32 GlobalGiving projects which advance the health, rights and economic development of women. "Considering the sheer number of women's projects partnered by GlobalGiving, we were extremely pleased to be singled out as one of just 32 beneficiaries," Nancy Waweru, Program Director for the Mrembo Girls Program, commented. "With the funds, we will be able to strengthen Mrembo's income generating and vocational training divisions. Our 2013 ambition is to establish a restaurant where we can train girls in catering and which will also raise money for the program."
A grand total of $1,563 was raised for the Mrembo Girls Program last month during the Girl Effect GlobalGiving Challenge!
Whilst we did not receive contributions from enough unique donors to be one of the six challenge winners, we have raised enough money to significantly scale up our work with girls in Nairobi’s slums.
First and foremost, we now have enough money to expand the project into the field of economic empowerment. From January, we will be training two adolescent girls at our hair and beauty salon which was opened last May to help raise money for the project.
By gaining a skill, these girls will ultimately be able to provide for themselves and their families, give their children an education and avoid the kind of desperation which forces many young girls into prostitution or abusive relationships.
In addition, we will be able to;
I’ll continue to keep you updated on the Mrembo Girls Program as, I’m sure you will agree, 2013 is set to be an exciting year for the project.
41 young people received free HIV testing at VAP’s third reproductive health tournament in partnership with GOAL Kenya. The event in Korogocho - one of Nairobi’s largest slums where residents have very limited access to healthcare - targeted young mothers from the local community. 36 were screened for cervical cancer wth a further nine benefiting from free family planning. De-worming tablets were also provided to 250 young children.
African women must be involved in national politics
The fourth annual Feminist Leadership and Movement Building Institute (FLAMBI) Conference was held in Nairobi from 5-9 November 2012 and was attended by VAP’s Program Director, Nancy Warweru.
The course, designed to strengthen feminist leadership, strategies and collective power for social transformation in Africa, attracted representatives from over 10 East African organisations. Nancy Warweru, commented on her experience at the conference; “It is clear that women are faced with a myriad of glass ceilings including cultural stereotypes and religious beliefs. "For African women to successfully address female rights, it is paramount that they actively participate in decision making at the national level. As an organisation, advocacy is now an area we are committed to expanding into.”
On 23rd September 2012, Vijana Amani Pamoja in partnership with GOAL KENYA hosted the 1st edition of reproductive health football tournament targeting young mothers from all the walks of Korogocho. An exciting day of football, voluntary counseling, VCT testing,cervicalscreening and immunization brought together a total of 16 young mothers teams that also included 2 young fathers in each team . The tournament was organized under the theme of “Afya Leo ni Uzima Kesho”health today is live tomorrow. The teams converged at Korogocho community grounds, in readiness to participate in this unique 7-a-side football tournament.
Located in the Eastlands part of Nairobi Korogocho slum is the 3rd biggest slum in Nairobi with an average population of 150,000 slum dwellers. Majority of the people are depending on periodical manual jobs with a few being employed in informal sectors.Subsiquently,the slum is also on record with the highest numbers of a myriad of social and economical challenges ranging from :HIV/AIDS, TB, crime, lack of employment early pregnancies, rape, drug abuse etc.Despite the social and economic problems that engulf Korogocho, the area is a platinum standard as a football power house, having produced the finest youth football players who have represented Kenya in various international and national youth football tournaments. The hosting of reproductive health football tournament in Korogocho developed a great relationship with the community as far as preventing and solving out some of the social challenges and left a significant mark on how sports can be used as a catalyst for social change.
AN EXTRA BOOST OFF THE FIELD
What made this tournament special? The focus was not on which team won or lost but more on the participation of teams in the Skillz Kenya HIV/AIDS activities, VCT counseling and testing, cervical screening, family planning, and immunization services that were provided to the team members by Ministry of Health and sanitation.. A total of 472 young mothers and youth were reached out and tested on HIV,cervical screening, family planning and other services.Additionally.The community members around Korogocho also took the opportunity of the off field services and they too received similar services
During intervals and half time participants were taken through Skillz Kenya HIV/AIDS awareness activities by VAP's Skillz coaches and were given basic questionnaires regarding HIV/AIDS to gauge their knowledge and attitudes about HIV/AIDS.
Impressed with Vijana Amani Pamoja’s [VAP] Mrembo Girls Program, Clementine Klijberg, Resource Mobilization Director at Women Win, visited the organization in June to see the initiative in action.
Women Win, an international NGO based in Amsterdam, uses sport to help females exercise their rights. Clementine’s visit and encouragement paved the way for VAP to submit a three-year funding proposal to the Dutch Embassy in Nairobi, in support of the Mrembo program. If successful, the proposal would enable VAP to significantly scale up both the capacity and outreach of the scheme.
With ‘mrembo’ meaning ‘beautiful’ in Swahili, this program aims to build and restore the inner beauty of disadvantaged young women in Nairobi. In particular, it addresses reproduction, sexual health including HIV/AIDS and issues of sexuality with girls aged 12 – 18 years.
Having only been running for three years, Mrembo is VAP’s ‘new kid on the block’ program.
HELP GET MREMBO FUNDED BY GIRL EFFECT FUND
VAP’s Mrembo Girls Program is to compete in November’s Girl Effect GlobalGiving Challenge in partnership with the Nike Foundation. If successful, this could bring much-needed funds to the scheme.
The winners of the challenge will be the six projects which secure financial contributions from the most unique donors via GlobalGiving and will become members of the Girl Effect Fund for one year. An expert panel will select a further six projects, those they believe to be the most compelling and unique, to also join the fund.
Current members of the Girl Effect Fund, which supports projects targeting marginalised girls in developing countries, are on track to receive annual funding of $30,000.
If successful, VAP will use the money to expand the program to many more schools in slum areas of Nairobi, recruit more peer educators and sponsor girls to pursue vocational training in hair and beauty. In addition, VAP would be able to ensure the delivery of the Miss Mrembo Tournament 2013, an event which combines a beauty pageant with a football tournament to build the self-esteem of girls.
The Mrembo Girls Program lacks a funding partner at present and VAP urges you to show your support.
As the competition is judged on the number of unique donors, it doesn’t matter how much or how little you give. To count, donations must be made between 1st—30th November 2012.
Donations can be made by credit or debit card, Paypal, gift card, check or wire transfer. To make a donation visit: www.globalgiving.org/2221
FIRST REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH SOCCER TOURNAMENT KICKS OFF
On Saturday 16th September, girl soccer teams from Nairobi piled into a local ground in Korogocho to participate in VAP’s inaugural Reproductive Health Tournament in partnership with GOAL Kenya.
The event, part of VAP’s Mrembo Girls Program which empowers young women through sport, provided peer-led educational activities alongside HIV and cervical cancer screening. The matches were played in a seven- aside game with two boys included in each team.
88 boys and girls aged between 14 and 21 were tested for HIV with 65 females being screened for cervical cancer. The surrounding community were also able to take advantage of the field services.
A second Reproductive Health Tournament in partnership with GOAL Kenya followed on 29th September. This was VAP’s first tournament in the Mukuru area of Nairobi as the organisation strives to extend its’ message across the city. Here, 68 young people were tested for HIV and 48 girls for cervical cancer.
With many girls competing in both events, these tournaments are a key milestone in the development of the Mrembo Girls Program, VAP’s newest initiative.
VAP OPENS HAIR SALON TO GENERATE FUNDS AND EMPOWER GIRLS
Having opened its door back in May, VAP’s Mrembo Hair & Beauty Parlour in the Eastleigh area of Nairobi, is continuing to meet the beauty needs of the local community.
The decision to open the salon was an enterprising move by VAP to help generate vital funds for the organisation with all profits going towards supporting the Mrembo Girls Program. In addition, once enough money has been raised, VAP aims to use the salon to provide training opportunities and help economically empower local young women.
Managed by Bonila Sisia, an experienced hairdresser and beautician who volunteers her time free of charge, a full array of treatments are available.
For further details and to book an appointment, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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