Dear GlobalGiving Friends,
The girl mentorship project has enormously served girls in our community, particularly in the area of computer training competence. In the month of April we engaged six girls who went through a two weeks intensive computer training course. The girls (two in high school and four post high school) were also mentored on career choices and taught about business skills. We were privileged to have a health and nutritional expert who trained the girls on hygiene, sex education as well as diet and nutrition matters. There were practical classes where the girls went to the garden to identify different foods and answer questions concerning nutritional values of such foods as well as discuss different ways in which such foods could be prepared. One girl was motivated to start a career in food production following one practical lesson. She explained, “I did not know bananas can be prepared to make up to seven different form of meals – I only ate it ripe or boiled, thank you to SAWA for giving me a business idea – Kinya”
Since the inception of the program last year we have had 15 direct beneficiaries, including two girls who have been temporarily employed to work with the parent women’s group SAWA. Each of the 15 girls has impacted at least two more girls in their communities making a total of 30 indirect beneficiaries. Our main immediate goal is to acquire more computers to cater for more girls during the holiday and also purchase a printer/scanner to facilitate our work.
With my sincere gratitude for your support in this effort to improve opportunities for young girls,
Dear Global Giving Friends,
Two weeks ago, I visited one of the our mentees who joined university in October to establish how the mentorship helped her to fit in the university. Esther, is grateful that she built strong values and was introduced to gender and human (particularly) women rights issues at SAWA. She shares a room with a girl from North Eastern Kenya, and has been able to adjust living with her because SAWA helped her to embrace diversity. In her own words "I never valued people from other communities, I stereotyped them, I regarded women from disadvantaged communities as primative and would not have imagined friendship with them leave alone living together. At SAWA I was made to understand that we are all equal. I liked the Girl Effect lessons and know I can make a change in a girl's life. I no longer consider myself poor and disadvantaged because I was empowered to see my strengths."
These were powerful words for a rural girl who spent only two months with us. Her perspectives speaks volumes of the impact of our program. Esther formed a group of eight girls from her university to meet together on Sunday afternoons to discuss leadership issues. She reminded me that SAWA inspired her to register as a voter and she is eager to vote come the general elections on March 4th. She also inspired others to register as voters too, bearing in mind that the youth have in the past years taken a back seat as far as this is concerned. Esther had this to say "We discuss the qualities we want of our leaders in our meetings using the wisdom I gained from SAWA. I am the group chair, and I coordinate the group using principles acquired during the program"
Agnes is also another young girl that SAWA is mentoring. In early January, she participated in our program for three days and the impact was overwhelming. She drastically acquired superb computer skills which she uses to communicate particularly with other SAWA girls that she met. She plans to continue with her mentorship with us when she breaks for her long holiday in May this year.
Currently we are mentoring two girls that Caroline, our full time officer is training on computer skills and business skills.
With my sincere gratitude for your support in this effort to improve the opportunities for young girls,
The girls we are mentoring are continuing to benefit immensely from the instruction and guidance we are giving them.
Here is an update of how things have been going recently with our mentorship program. We have managed to engage a full time computer trainer, who is competent enough to assist in the other courses we offer.
The full time computer tutor has been retained on a six month contract. It was amazing that during the interview, one of the girls who went through the mentorship program, Caroline Gacheri, emerged the best beating two others from other training institutions. Caroline who started her appointment on 15th November is grateful that her interaction with SAWA has opened her employment opportunity as a computer trainer.
One of our mentees is Glory Kanorio, a girl who completed her high school last month. She is waiting to hear if she is accepted to join university. Within only two weeks, Glory has gained business skills and thinks that she can start a small agricultural based business at her rural home come early next year. In her own words:
“This training has changed my perspective in life, I only thought of employment as a career, but with the skills I have acquired, I can identify a business idea, write a plan and implement it efficiently. I am confident that no matter how my KSCE results will be, I will not be stranded in life, thanks to SAWA.”
We have also received news from Margaret Naipanoi, another mentee, that she is training the girls in her own mentorship group in bead making and they are optimistic of a good sale this Christmas. She has requested us to offer her with marketing skills, and we are thinking of including this component into the program. SAWA staff have an invitation to visit Margaret’s group on 1st January 2012.
Attached in this email is a photo for Caroline and one of the mentees that Caroline is now training.
The girls we are mentoring are benefiting immensely from the instruction and guidance we are giving them.
The computer classes are very active and important we because those proficient with computer skills are in advantaged positions to compete for job placements as well as start new businesses. We thus have girls coming for training on weekends to learn computer skills. The training is changing and shaping the girls perceptions as well as making them responsible computer and internet users and giving them an advantage over their peers.
“I am excited to complete the program so that I get a certificate. I know the certificate will help me get a job when I complete my studies.” Jackline Wanjiku, Form 2
"Computer training helps to boast my self esteem. I have learned a lot about our county, country and the whole world through the internet. I have also learnt politics through the internet, and know president Obama is competing with Romney for presidency.”Mary Wakonyo, class 6
“Computer training is shaping my career choice. I would like to be a Computer technician and teacher because I enjoy using a computer.
The girls are also doing simple activities to earn money and develop an enterprising culture. Such activities includes washing cars and cleaning peoples compounds.
‘Through this program, I washed a car for the first time. I was paid Ksh. 50. I bought a pencil at Ksh.10, an eraser for Ksh.5, and pen ink at Ksh.25. I saved Ksh.10. I am happy that for the first time in my life I received a pay for my labour. Jackline Wanjiku, Form 2
“I spend one hour every Saturday collecting fallen dry leaves from my neighbour’s home. I make up to Ksh. 30 per week. I want to save and buy story books so that I can improve my English. I know this is good because I want to be a journalist in future.” Jane Makasi, class 7
“Although I thought that some jobs can only be done by a man. Washing a car sounded a man’s job and funny to me when my mentor Caroline suggested that I can do it to make money. I now appreciate that I tried.”Cecilia Wanjiku, form 2
In addition, when the girls leave this training program, they go out and gather a group of younger girls and pass on their new found skills and experiences to them, thus perpetuating the cycle of mentoring.
Thank you for helping girls realize their potential.
The program has now admitted four girls who have completed two months now and exhibit a high degree of learning and change. Much of the activities were indoor and meant to propel individual growth, leaving the month of September to concentrate on outdoor/field activities to interact with other girls and women. Mentors have occasionally joined to offer individual and group mentorship and covered various topical issues like relationships, health and hygiene, careers, businesses and spirituality. Interestingly, the girls are also offering peer mentorship which is an unexpected outcome of the project.
The girls have undergone lessons that have built communication skills that are evidenced by their relationships compared to behavior exhibited when they joined the program. One of the learning methodologies has been through group discussions, preparing Power-point presentations and teaching others on topics assigned as well as taking turns to chair weekly meetings
The group is eager to get girls from their communities organized so that they too can learn. Mentorship was a new concept to them, but they have come to practically and out of experience understand it and can say it is everything that girls would need to have their lives totally transformed. They are longing to go back home, gather girls who have no hope of success in life and walk with them the success journey. I asked each of them how the program has been so far and responded as follows:
Cecily is glad that she has found a ‘home and parents’ and is no longer feeling an orphan. Her hope has been restored. The concept of community service has become very meaningful to her and she feel that she can mentor other orphaned girls to show them that they can still face life successfully. In her own words, “this program has stimulated me to appreciate people and know that I do not only need to help my siblings and those related to me. I now look at the world with different lens, that my happiness is not complete until all are happy, especially other girls. My task henceforth will be to preach this hope and inspire others to do something good to someone else."
Margaret has tremendously acquired computer skills. She now has an active email address, can access information from the internet, is conversant with all Microsoft applications and very proud that she can tutor others given a chance. Moreover she can now confidently stand and talk in front of a group, something she could not when she joined SAWA. In her own words “When I joined SAWA, my self-esteem was too low having been brought up to believe that as a Maasai girl, my place at family and community level is always second-class and that I do not measure to the standards of girls from other communities. My experience having lived for a month with girls from other communities is that we are all equal and capable; they respect me which make me feel good about myself. The lessons on Women’s Rights have particularly been eye-opening. I want to go back to girls in my village and show them that they too are first-class girls. Thank you SAWA for making me believe in myself”
For Caroline, courage and determination - prerequisites to succeed in life are virtues that have brought a lot of meaning in her life. I have learnt to be focused in life and shed off anything that disrupts this, major among them irresponsible sex. She is more touched that sponsors of the program include girls doing ‘odd jobs’ like baby-sitting and dog sitting. “just like other youths from my community, I classified certain jobs as demeaning. My perspective has changed and I can now do anything to earn a living as long as it is something ethical. I know of many girls in my village who are languishing in poverty, yet several jobs like for house-helps exist. It is my duty to educate and change their perspectives.”
For Wairimu who is preparing to join university in October this year, there has been wholesome learning experiences that has transformed her thinking and would positively shape her life henceforth as she summarizes it ‘as I prepare to join university later in the year, I am well equipped to choose my career wisely, be cautious about my reproductive health to avoid unplanned pregnancy and build a pool of friends that I will introduce the concept of peer mentorship to.’
In summary, the project is off to a great start. Your help and support are greatly appreciated.
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