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
Impressed with VAP’s Mrembo program (“Mrembo” means “beauty” in Kiswahili and the program focuses on delivering sexual reproductive health messages for girls 12-18 years old), in June, Clementine Klijberg, Resource Mobilization director for Women Win visited VAP’s offices and the Mrembo program. Clementine's visit paved way for VAP to write a 3- year funding proposal to the Dutch Embassy in Nairobi to support the Mrembo program. The proposal that was submitted would see VAP receive approximately Euro 10,000 per year for 3 years.
Women Win (www.womenwin.org) is recognized as a leading global organization using sport as a strategy to advance women’s rights, and has emerged as a thought leader, strategically positioned at the intersection of the women’s rights and sport for development sectors. Women Win aims to raise the bar on quality programming by setting standards around good practices for girls and women's sport programs – programs that address critical issues affecting the lives of girls and women in their communities, including sexual and reproductive health concerns, gender based violence, and economic empowerment.
In a theatre in Babadogo 10 girls from all over Nairobi are meeting up to learn how they can prepare for the challenges they will be facing later in life. Mary was chosen to be a part of the Braintrust program as a volunteer from the Kib-era girl Guide Centre. All the girls participating in the program are representing different girl groups from all around the city in the sun. Eliza-beth Okinda, one of the assistants in the program can mention some: Binti Pamoja, Kwen Serious and Heshima Kanya are some of the girl groups.
A great network . Susan Adhiambo is one of the main coordinators working with the Braintrust program. - The main purpose of Braintrust is giving the girls knowl-edge they wouldn`t get elsewhere, in their schools for example, she explains. – This program is a result of a great working network, Susan contin-ues and can mention the Nike foundation to be one of the head funders, supporting their project. - Normally we would be three times as many girls here today and our great goal is to eventually reach out to two million girls, with the growth of the program the coming years.
Learning to believe in themselves. Each of the girl groups taking part in Braintrust will be attending for a period of six months, meeting with their coordinators two Saturdays each month. - During these sessions we learn a lot. Among the topics our coordinators teach us I can mention financial education, the reproductive system and life skills, Mary explains. - The life skills is a big one covering thing such as communicative skills, assertiveness and having confidence in yourself. After the six months period is over the girls will have an exam to make sure they are worthy of the Braintrust certificate. - This certificate will open many doors for me, with it it will be easier to get into college and later getting a good job, I really hope I will pass.
The leaders of tomorrow
You might think that living in Nairobi`s second biggest slum reserves you from a life of sexual knowledge, personal hygiene and HIV prevention. One might even think that people living in the slum lack of interest in these subjects. In that case, these girls can prove you wrong.
During the past twelve weeks they have gained great amounts of knowledge, knowledge they never thought they would possess.
Two curious girls. Jacinter Adhiambo and Eddah Awino were designated as the two girls who had stood out the most, as interested students with dedication and willingness to learn. After having a talk with these young ladies about their experiences with Mrembo, and what they had learned, there was not a question to that designation. - For girls, especially us lining in the slum it is very hard to know how to handle many things. Kidnappings occur often in the slum, we even have to be careful just going to school, Eddah tells me. - Mrembo has thought us how to han-dle issues like dangerous men, rape cases and pregnancy. How the mother should handle all the stages of the pregnancy process, Jacinter compliments.
An uncomfortable topic. An important part of the Mrembo program is teaching the girls about their menstruation. What it is and how to handle it. A big problem for girls in the slum is that they don`t learn about this anywhere, therefore thinks something might be wrong with them, doesn`t tell anyone and skip school for the period. If a girl stays away from school every time she is menstruating, she will lose a lot of teaching in a year.
Women Win Impressed Over VAP and Mrembo
An important Visitor. To the graduation VAP brought especially one very important visitor. Clementine Klijberg, the resource mobilization direc-tor for Women Win. Women Win is a great Dutch organization fighting for women’s rights. Throughout the world you find plenty of non-profit organizations, Women Win targets the ones using sport to teach young girls about their rights, just like the Mrembo program does. - I am especially impressed with Mrembo`s curriculum. At our organization we work to build up the capacities of the organiza-tion we fund and co-operate with. Now we can bring the Mrembo curriculum to other organizations as a good example of how their programs can be run, Clementine says. She also agrees with Moses, the head teacher of Graham secon-dary school. – Mrembo has done a lot, and there is still a lot for the organization to be done.
A grand Graduation. - This has been a really nice graduation, Clementine can gladly ascertain. – Many, many girls were attending and they all looked really happy. I also found the com-ments of their male teacher very motivating, nice to hear a man`s view on a pro-gram like this. The teacher took the girls through all of the learning objectives on the certificate, making sure every girl knew the importance of every point.
Potential funder. After seeing the good work of the Mrembo program and VAP in general, Clementine hopes to assist the Mrembo program in searching for new funding within the Dutch government.
Some of the girls got the honor of receiving their certificate from Clementine Klijberg, Women Win.
talk to their parents about this, especially if they are a little bit shy, Eddah thinks. Every month, the girls are given pads and sanitary towels by Mrembo, but this isn`t enough. - Fortunately for me, I have talked to my mum about this and she can buy the pads for me, but this isn`t the case for many girls, Jacinter says.
Saving up for marriage. Both Eddah and Jacinter wants to keep their virginity until marriage. - This is extra hard when you are living in the slum, and next year I will be starting High School. In High School the pressure will increase as the boys are getting more mature. Eddah can also tell me that if you are living in the slum it is extra important to stay away from sex as the chances of getting pregnant, getting HIV and other STIs.
For more information,please read the attached newsletter that was developed by VAP’s volunteer Sigrid Eikland from Norway.Additionally,we want to thank you for your continous donation and support that is making the entire project a big success..
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