One of the elements that makes CFK’s Daughters United program (Binti Pamoja) effective in reaching young girls is its cascading leadership style which nurtures the leadership qualities of adolescent girls. When girls join the program, not only are they taught about confidence, reproductive health, life skills, creative arts and financial literacy, but they are mentored and trained on how to organize their own girls’ groups and how to facilitate what they learn with others.
One way this mentorship is practiced is through community forum events organized by Carolina for Kibera. At community forums, the girls from Binti Pamoja invite their friends from the community, who are not in the program, for a fun event to inform them on the different activities that Binti Pamoja does. While community forums are regular events that happen two to three times a year, recently the Binti Pamoja program hosted a community forum with a total of 175 guests!
These forums give Binti Pamoja participants the chance to practice their facilitation skills. They take charge of the event by organizing who will be the Master of Ceremony (MC), who will serve as facilitators, who will educate the guests on a particular topic, etc. Before the forum they also have to bring a written plan of what they will present to the Carolina for Kibera staff. Some of the presentations that have taken place at community forums include: facilitation on reproductive health and later an interactive session of question, answers and clarification; skits with particular themes; and dances. Passing on knowledge in this cascading style is important for strengthening community, and these community forums are doing just that.
The Binti Pamoja program has identified a need where the girls want to be trained on writing skills. This is because at Binti Pamoja, we have a newsletter which is used as a tool for the girls to express themselves on their different experiences in the community and area where they need to know how to overcome their difficulties. To meet the need, the Binti Pamoja program held newsletter writing training sessions for the girls.
The sessions for newsletter writing were conducted on a weekly basis and the girls showed a lot of excitement and enthusiasm for learning. In the sessions, they were asked to come up with stories of what they want covered in the article.
The aim is to train the girls to be writers and to contribute news stories and other content to the Tunanego Newsletter. The training is aimed at bridging the gap between professional writing and informal storytelling in order to enable the girls to inform society of the events within Kibera.
The trainer had 12 successful sessions with the girls who were able to come up with a newsletter which will be published soon for the community members to interact with. It is distributed during community forums, community outreach events, schools, and during all the events of the Binti Pamoja program. Open discussions are held to give and receive feedback on the newsletter on areas where we should improve. Because the girls are the ones responsible for the ideas and thoughts in the newsletter, we encourage them to be on the forefront during distribution in order to share with other community members.
I believe that knowledge is power and if every girl is empowered, then they have the power to enforce great change in the community. The Binti Pamoja Center provides girls with information and opportunities that enable them to make a step in changing their lives. We also discuss possible solutions to problems that girls face in the area, and how we as girls in the community can make a step towards change no matter how small it is. As mentors in the Binti Pamoja program, it is our role and responsibility to ensure that girls in Kibera have the same information we received, that they also have the same opportunities that we did, and to ensure that we support them so as to reduce the vulnerabilities they face, so that they can maximize all opportunities available to them to have a better life in the future and to complete their education. Continue supporting our program so that we can continue to reach more girls so as to improve their lives and to enable them to become leaders of positive change in their community and for them to be mentors to other girls as well.
The voice of one girl has the ability to make a change but the unified voices of many girls can make a tremendous impact in the society. The girls in the Binti Pamoja program Kibera have used their voices to speak against the challenges that girls in Kibera face, they have used their voice to share their stories and to give hope to other girls, so that they can be part of creating a safe society for them enabling them to achieve holistic growth.
The Binti Pamoja Girls not only have been using their voice but they also use photography to tell their stories. It said that a picture can speak a thousand words and what better way to share their stories using photography. From October 2012 to November 2012 the Binti Pamoja girls participated in photography training where they learned how to take photos and how to use photos to share their stories and as a tool in changing their lives and the lives of many other girls.
It was all pomp and celebration as the Binti Pamoja girls celebrated their 10 year anniversary, thanks to your continued support. The Binti Pamoja Center is a reproductive health and women’s rights center for 11 to 18 year-old vulnerable girls in Kibera, that give them an opportunity to express themselves through dance, drama, writing and also group discussions.Over the 10 years, the center has helped the girls explore the issues that are prevalent in their daily lives and they had all reason to celebrate the success so far. The day started well as it could be told from the smiles seen on the children faces. These clearly portrayed achievement. All of the children, leaders and the program officers waited patiently outside the Binti Pamoja Centre and at 9:30 am, the leaders led the procession of the guests and the children towards the destination, which was the famed ‘Toi market’, a local open air market. Their music gave everyone energy to walk as they could be seen dancing to the tunes. A group of young girls led the procession with a banner that read out their mission – celebrating 10 years. We remain grateful to your past support and look forward to your generous support, to see us through the next 10 years!
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