On 22nd November 2013, CREA a feminist human rights organization based in New Delhi, India organized a one day open forum in Nairobi under the theme of: Inspiring to Aspire: Encouraging Young Women to seize Leadership Opportunities.CREA works with the grassroots, national and international levels together with partners from a diverse range of human rights movement and networks. It also works to advance the rights of women and girls and the sexual and reproductive freedoms of all people advocating for positive social change through national and international fora providing training and learning opportunities to global activists and leaders through its institutes. The forum was attended by VAP’s Mrembo program representatives who also networked and exchanged knowledge with various attendees amongst them Kenyan women members of parliament, senators and country representatives who gave their personal insights regarding issues facing girl child and women as a whole.
On 24th-25th October, a sensitization on monitoring and evaluation workshop was organized under the auspices of Nairobi Brain Trust Network. The purpose of the workshop was to build the capacities of the network members on rightful knowledge, skills and techniques of assessing program activities they implement together with monitoring their programs’ effectively to the best ways of attaining the best results for the benefit of the communities they serve. Apart from building skills on M+E, the workshop was set to plan and design how it is going to conduct a baseline survey exercise that will cover the whole of Nairobi County on the context of Adolescent Girls Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights with the result going to be considered a county wide study of ASRHR. VAP being a key member of the network was represented by its M&E gurus(Maestro): Bonface Kwasi and Anne Nduku who had a lot to share with the network based on their vast experiences. The Nairobi Brain Trust is a network of Nairobi based Adolescent girls serving programs, projects or organization with a truly holistic and integrated approach to adolescent sexual and reproductive health programming where VAP through its Mrembo program fits the bill.
A young girl from Kiambiu slum heeded advice from her parents and dropped out of school at the tender age of 13 years.She started selling her body on a daily basis, for 50 Kenya shillings, which is below a dollar, to different older men in the slum until she recently realized that she is six weeks pregnant and hiv positive.
Upon realization she took it upon herself to accept her condition though still reluctant, she has decided to lead a positive life and she is trying to talk to her peers to help them understand themselves better so that they may avoid regrets in future. She is grateful to Mrembo programme for having tried to make her change her ways though she was too arrogant at the time, but now she knows how helpful Mrembo programme is. Mrembo program through Coach Linda Belinda has vowed to make follow ups to this matter and accord the girl all the necessary information and assistance she may require such as making referrals etc.
She is relocating to Homabay (rural part of Kenya), to start a new life there and will be back in three months time. She is very hopeful and hoping to give birth, and support her child no matter what. She hopes that young girls from Kiambiu and other areas will take seriously what Mrembo is teaching. Her dream is that Mrembo program would open a social hall where young girls would go for information regarding sexual health reproductive issues.
Story by: Linda Kafwa (Mrembo coach) 2/9/2013
On 25th August 2013, Vijana Amani Pamoja-VAP hosted Mrembo girls tournament at Kiambiu slum. The tournament was organized under the theme of “Curbing sexual assault amongst adolescent girls” and supported by women Win. A total of 16 girls team from all the walks of Nairobi converged at Kiambiu grounds, in readiness to participate in this unique 7-a-side football tournament. An exciting day of football coupled with sexual health reproductive teachings and counseling led by Nairobi Womens Hospital and VAP’s Mrembo coaches. Participating girls had an opportunity to receive Ruby cups that were donated by Ruby Cup-a healthy, long lasting menstrual hygiene product made of 100% high quality medical grade silicone, worn internally and collects menstrual fluid during period time and is reusable for 10years.
Located in the Eastlands part of Nairobi, Kiambiu is the largest slum with an average population of 300,000 people with 30% being low income earners and 70% depending on periodical manual jobs with a few being employed in informal sectors. Kiambiu is also on record with the highest numbers of a myriad of social and economical challenges eg.HIV/AIDS, TB, lack of employment early pregnancies, rape, drug abuse etc.Mrembo tournament held at Kiambio grounds was a sigh of relief as far as bringing the awareness of how to curb sexual abuse amongst adolescent girls.Kiambiu being the host of VAP’s ground office has developed a great relationship with VAP as far as seeking health information, advise and referrals.
With its ongoing campaign of empowering young girls with skills through Mrembo salon, VAP has recruited 5 new Mrembo program graduates from: Mcedo, Undugu and Kiambiu primary schools to join the salon.VAP was successfully able to train four girls for three months who complete their courses and now carry out their work with passion. Following this victory, VAP was able to assist the girls in securing jobs as they persue their life dreams and becoming more independent of their own.
Words from Mrembo beneficiary: "After finishing my Grade 8 class and after graduating from Mrembo program my family could not afford to pay for my further studies or any training course. I would stay at home idle and boys would start coming around me. The opportunity for me to join the Mrembo Salon has really boosted my life dreams and the four months training that I have had has enabled me to gain the necessary skills that are needed for the job market. I have recently done a job interview and am hoping the results will be positive and I will be able to get a job and if not I will save some money and start my own salon.” Said 19years old Benta Auma.
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