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.
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.
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