This year teenage mother’s numbers soared across the country. We have witnessed cases where 9 girls in just one school are pregnant! Meanwhile government and non- governmental organizations are trying their best to salvage the situation. Nyamira County which is our work location is among the top five out of 47 counties in prevalent rates. This issue has challenged HFAW and we continue to engage with children, parents and teachers the much we can.
We have noted that many organizations working with children and even churches approach issues of sexual reproductive health insisting on abstinence and theological perspective only-- not engaging in sex before marriage. Obviously this is not working.
Young people need age appropriate, comprehensive sex education in order to prevent this problem. Parents, teachers and leaders need to come together and the accountability process requires to be improved.
Using Popular Education and Social Change Communication approaches, HFAW has been able to engage children with the age appropriate information about sex. In small group discussions, children are able to open up and ask questions to demystify issues related to sex that they are not able to talk with their parents, part of this due to our society conservative culture that finds it a taboo and shameful for adults to speak about sex with children. Information given to them by HFAW staff, HFAW Youth and Community Health and Human Rights Promoters (CHHRPs) also surpasses what the children’s peers might tell them in terms of content and knowledge. Our trainings of police on accountability processes and support needed to the victims is helpful but not nearly enough.
Here are a few quotes from the students who have accessed our information
“We have been advised as boys to ‘zip’ our trousers and girls to ‘cross’ their legs in matters concerning sex” said Origi a boy in grade 6 at Tindereti school
“I have learnt that engaging in sex at an early age can lead to pregnancy and early marriage, a factor that affects the girl child mostly. ” said Moraa, a school president at Riamanoti primary school.
“I now know that there are consequences for both the girl and the boy when they engage in sex at early age. One of them is pregnancy that sometimes leads girls to do unsafe abortion.” said Kemunto a grade 8 pupil at Gesibei primary school.
We would not be able to do this without your support. We invite you to make your donation through a gift card or buying a Christmas angel from our HFAW Handicrafts project collection to support this work.
Click http://www.hopefaw.org/product-category/artifacts/ to see the collection of angels and other African handicrafts. Please share this information with your friends and colleagues and explain to them why you care about this cause. Thank you
Dear Friends, Colleagues and Supporters,
Leadership positions such as chiefs or sub-chiefs are male dominated in this patriarchal community yet these positions hold significant power at the grassroots level. Women have such a hard time imagining seeking these positions let alone getting into them.
But this year one of the early beneficiaries of HFAW services would change this History. She just got herself into this very competitive position. She is our new sub-chief! This is so great not only because she understands our issues but because she has become an inspiration to all our HFAW women that they too can become anything if they can dream and act.
Jacqueline was among the women who benefited from kivazip loans in 2012/2013which she used the fund to do her own projects of tomato growing, trainings in nutrition and baking and selling of cakes.
On 11th of August, she joins other HFAW Community health and rights promoters this time as a subchief to inspire other women in this church.
“Many years ago, I did not have anything. I took the KIVAZIP loans offered by HFAW which were interest free. With that money, I bought cows. I also went to school and took a course in Food Technology.” Said Jacky.
“I opened a hotel and started baking and selling cakes after finishing my course.” Added Jacky.
“Three months ago, with the help of all my friends who had helped me improve myself, I went through yet another journey and achieved what I set out to do. I was appointed to be a sub chief.” Said Jacqueline.
“In my office, I handle a lot of GBV cases of partner violence…We should be vocal to stop FGM. I am here to represent the needs and concerns of women and girls because I know and understand what we go through.” Added Jacqueline.
“We should all become people with a vision. Men, women and children let us all work together in harmony. That is the only way we will develop. Let us also protect our children against FGM and any other forms of violence, “urged Jacqueline.
HFAW is proud to be a force of change to women and girls in Nyamira County. We want to have many more Jacquelines in more leadership spaces in our County.
We are most grateful that you, our donors and Supporters who play different roles in making this possible. We had known about kiva zip through networking with one of the friends of HFAW. And with your support we continue to work with these women to help them realize their dreams. Please continue sharing our work to your friends and family. Thank you
Winnie Rose Sululu
Dear Friends and Supporters,
We are delighted to share that our anti-FGM work was highlighted on our National TV channel K24. We are pleased that the channel staff contacted us and asked if they can share our work with the nation. We were excited to know that so many people listened to our radically shortened anti-FGM Message which urged people to work together to end FGM and protect the girl child. None of this could have happened without your support to our project. THANK YOU!
Please feel free to review the link to the video aired.
First part shows Heart for Change director speaking about the shelter for girls escaping FGM and then HFAW. Apologies-not all of it is in English.
The session was led by our own Community health and rights promoters with Gladys, Joyce and Evans on the forefront in a local church, Jesus Reigns Church. Our target for this day was parents, church leaders and children. Our focus is especially on the young people because they are key to cutting the roots of FGM. After going through what FGM is, and short and long term effects Gladys allowed parents and children to make commitments to end FGM/C. The response was very positive.
The commitment was written in the form of a card approved by the church leaders which is exciting because it is a simple of church ownership.
The cards had the following information;
‘I pledge to never support FGM in any Form.’
‘I will do everything in my powers to eradicate FGM in my community.’
“If you want to end FGM in our community write your names in the cards and make a commitment to protect our girls against FGM,” explained Gladys.
The boys and girls wrote their names on the cards and were advised to share the same information with their parents and guardians to show them their commitment towards ending FGM. The parents will also sign and protect all children in the community irrespective of who the parent is.
“I vow to protect my sisters and I will share with my parents what I heard today.” Said one of the boys during the outreach.
Evans, a CHHRP and church elder explained why men and church leaders need to end FGM and explained how he took lead in protecting his own daughters from FGM/C.
“I have twin daughters and my wife and I have protected them against FGM. My wife is a survivor and she underwent so much pain due to FGM. We did not want our daughters to go through the same,” declared Evans.
After his declaration one of the men in the audience walked up and called upon his wife and four daughters to follow him to the front.
“Today, my wife and I publicly declare that our four daughters will not undergo FGM. We will stand firm and help end FGM,” Said the man.
The Pastor at the Jesus Reigns church, Pastor Lamech also added that he had heard Gladys talk about dangers of FGM a while back.
“I knew FGM was against the law but I did not know the dangers. When I finally knew, I joined the movement to end FGM with the help of HFAW. I want to urge everybody watching this on K24 TV to join us in the fight against FGM,” Said Pastor Lamech.
“If I hear about FGM being done on one of the girls in my community, I will run and tell my pastor in the church or my teacher at my school,” said one of the girls.
HFAW is grateful to you all our supporters and donors. You have believed in our cause and kept getting involved. We are increasingly having such a hard time raising funds for this work but we believe in you. Please make a donation and urge your friends, relatives and colleagues to help us keep spreading these anti-FGM messages. We are so proud of the little incremental steps. Saving even one child from FGM/C means so much to us and the child. We hope you will continue walking with us.
Winnierose N. Sululu