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.
What started as a football club in 2003 transformed to be a vehicle of social change a few years later. Enouce Ndeche (VAP founder) attended a seminar on sports for social change in Nairobi in 200. A staff from Global Giving talked about how grassroots projects like VAP would benefit from online fundraising. About three months later, Enouce registered Skillz HIV program (a program that uses soccer to educate children and youth on HIV and life skills) on GlobalGiving. The idea came in handy as fundraising issue was something that VAP was grappling with given the fact that it was just a start-up organization with no strong financial stability and capacity to approach major foundations for funding. Young girls growing up in Kenya lack information pertaining their sexuality and reproductive health. These are topics which are rarely discussed in an African context.
In 2008 Mrembo girls program which creates a safe space for girls to discuss and share issues pertaining their reproductive health and sexuality was born. The program uses soccer as a tool to reach out to vulnerable girls in Nairobi slums. GlobalGiving was the only source of income for the project. The first disbursement in January 2009 enabled us to purchase a fridge and put in our small cubicle office. We started selling sodas to nearby offices, and money raised was used to purchase sanitary towels for our girls who couldn’t afford. The girls were assured of not missing schools during those days and they could also not miss out on football trainings.
Through GlobalGiving, mrembo program is running in schools and community centers in Nairobi. The program works with peer educators who act as mentors in communities where there are few role models. In 2011 it was an honor for Mrembo program to host Marc Maxson from GlobalGiving in one of the graduations to present certificates to the girls who would later act as change agents to their peers. We knew that we were transforming lives and nurturing leaders in our girls program. But again the question was how sure we were.
Storytelling was an answer to this question. Through the storytelling project, VAP peer educators and staff were trained on how to collect stories by GlobalGiving. Mrembo program embraced the project and would collect more than 100 stories from our participants. It was quite encouraging to hear directly from our girls about the program:
‘Mrembo program has helped me know if a man sweet talk you with money don't go. Mrembo program has taught me that if a man touches me I should scream and if a man tries to trick me with money I should not go’. - a 16 year old girl from Majengo slums.
‘Mrembo has tought me good manners and to have good friends. I love mrembo’.- 13 years old, Shauri Moyo.
We also learnt that from the stories, girls would narrate more on sexual abuse. We knew that sexual abuse was a major problem in Nairobi slums but through the stories it was quite vivid. We decided to come up with a beauty pageant called Miss Mrembo tournament. Girls would play soccer and also engage in self esteem talks with peer educators. We would invite Nairobi Women’s hospital (one of our referral centers) counselors/nurses to talk more about Gender Based V violence and to let girls know about free medical treatment for Gender based violence survivors.
In addition to storytelling, VAP use scorecard to monitor and evaluate its programs. Our partner grassroot soccer has consistently been training our M&E team on how to collect and feed M&E data to the score card. The card captures pre and post analysis which evaluates behavior change attitude and knowledge gained e.g. on HIV. The scorecard also captures the schools and community centers that we have worked with, number of participants their age&sex and number of peer educators implementing the program. During 2012 girl child effect challenge through Global Giving, our mrembo program launched vocational training program in 2013. It commenced with impacting girls with hairdressing and beauty skills. Up to now more than 15 girls have participated in the program. Some of the girls have advanced the course in other institutions while others are employed in different saloons.
Currently VAP is working with 2754 participants in our HIV skillz program, 1200 girls in our mrembo girls program. We have come this far as a result of generous contributions through our friends, GlobalGiving ,GlobalGiving individual &Corporate donors, our other partners and members.
We remain extremely thankful to for their overwhelming support.
8th March 2014 marked an international women’s day and VAP having a girls program and being in the forefront of championing the rights of young women was part of the global bandwagon celebrating this momentous day. Starting from the female staff, coaches, volunteers and girls program participants, they all gathered at the Jericho community grounds for a one day football event filled with jubilation.The program started with a football match pitting coaches mixed with staff versus Mrembo girls’ program participants and then wrapped up by coaches and girls talking about life experiences and challenges of a girl child. Inspirational and encouraging words from their mentors opened up the entire atmosphere for program participants who also developed self-esteem and confidence to share out their personal life stories and challenges
Donate to VAP through Global Giving UK 50% Bonus Week Campaign
Global Giving UK has announced a 50% bonus this week through their additional bonus funds campaign http://www.globalgiving.co.uk/leaderboards/bonus-week/ GG UK started matching all donations made from 3rd-3-2014, 12:01 midnight last night (UK time) and there are still more bonus funds available (over £4,000)! The match is only up to £600 per unique donation (e.g. if VAP gets £1000 donation, GG UK matches up to £600 by 50%. This means VAP will receive £1000 plus £300 in matching that is £1300). For VAP to compete for the final prizes decided on 10th March at 12 noon (UK time) VAP will need to have raised at least £2,000 from 15 unique donors. Please hurry up and support VAP by donating.
Mrembo Lifeskills and Sports Program
Opportunities for girls to have a safe space and create an avenue to share out their personal sports dreams, gender equity and issues regarding sexual health reproductive and making their own informed choices has been going on in 3 schools: Undugu, Child Survival, New Pumwani and St.Anne’s as well as 2 community centres:Jericho and Kiambio. Through Mrembo programs vulnerable girls have been encouraged to take a stand for their future, participate in sports and making their own informed choices regarding their lives. A bonus of sanitary pads donations to these girls has been of great improvement to their self esteem and helps them to stay in school without missing classes. Mrembo life skills and sports programs play a springboard role to majority of these vulnerable girls who join Mrembo Salon for vocational training.
Continous Assesment Test
Since the beginning of this year, Mrembo has recruited 12 girls to take part in the vocational training at the salon. The girls who are programmed to attend classes in the morning and afternoon, did their first Continous Assessment Test at the end of February to gauge their knowledge on what they have attained since their admission in January. Plans are underway to have Vocational seminars in April and August and VAP will invite external experts from well established institutions like: Unity College of Professional Studies and Ashley’s School of Hair and Beauty college.Additionally, VAP through the Mrembo vocational training is intending to form a solid partnership with these institutions that would see them work together towards enhancing the lives of the salon girls.
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