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.
Mrembo curriculum(A girls sexual health reproductive tool kit) has been hitting the communities for over 3 years and after getting views from the community, participants, coaches and teachers, it was high time for the curriculum to be taken to the garage for some alignment, adjustments and injection of some new fresh ideas and activities on the curriculum to catch up with the emerging trend, providing sessions that are relevant to what the youths are facing in their everyday lives. The effort of revising Mrembo curriculum was done through generous support from Women Win www.womenwin.org and individual donations through Global Giving.Views from various attendees: coaches, volunteers, staff and other invited guests from various institutions also played a major role in the review."We are so greatful that now we have a manual that addreses current issues affecting the girls of today."Said,Doreen one of the Mrembo participant who was present at the workshop.
Story Telling Workshop
20 volunteer coaches drawn from different VAP programs attended a one day of storytelling workshop where they were all trained on how to collect stories from the program participants and the community at large and how these stories are analyzed and used to shape the organization and serve the needs of the community. Volunteers were taught about the importance of conducting monitoring and evaluation and why it’s very vital as part and parcel of any particular program not only to the donors but to the program implementers and program participants. Also in attendance were representatives from other like-minded organizations who expressed interest in networking and learning with VAP.VAP intends to continue with collection of stories from program participants and community to back up its ‘Scorecard’a template that allows VAP staff to enter data offline and upload into a scoreboard which is a basic M&E that captures info including attendance, demographic data and pre/post surveys.
Six former Mrembo girls lifeskills program graduates have been recruited into Mrembo salon for vocational training. This follows after a successful graduation of 9 girls who spent 4 months learning on hair dressing, beauty and financial literacy. The process of placing these graduates into work places has already begun in earnest with job interviews being secured from various institutions. The new recruits will be requested to acquire their national identity cards as this is one of the impediments observed by salon manager when it comes to seeking job placements.
Seed Grant for Story telling project.
After a successful application, VAP was awarded a seed grant by Global Giving that would go towards collecting stories from the program participants and the entire community to gauge and evaluate VAP’s programs impact.VAP has previously been doing the story telling collection as one way of backing up its quantitative monitoring and evaluation systems and the awarding of the grant is so timely as the research, monitoring and evaluation crew have been working round the clock to strengthen this section. The stories will be collected by volunteers and be analyzed the research monitoring and evaluation team.
As part of VAP’s annual thematic football tournaments, the month of April was quite ideal to host the 3rd edition of Mrembo football tournament on various reasons the main one being a holiday month when all school children were on vocation. The one day tournament held on 26th at Kiambio grounds attracted 16 teams aged between 13-21 years from all the walks of Eastlands part of Nairobi who gathered under the theme of “personal hygiene and menstruation”. The football games and the presence of Mrembo peer educators who interacted with the teams and conducted off pitch sensitization interventions with emphasis on biological process of menstruation and how to use different sanitary pads made the chemistry and camaraderie to work so well for the day. Majority of the girls were interested in the menstruation topic which raised vital discussions amongst themselves and the peer educators who were at hand to address the burning questions and concerns. The winners and the runners up were both awarded with vouchers from the Mrembo Beauty and parlor and supermarket vouchers.
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