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Feb 20, 2020

Teaching them on Life Skills From a Tender Age

Joyce, Gladys, and Lydia facilitating
Joyce, Gladys, and Lydia facilitating

Dear Friend and Partner

The life skills education targets positively influence behavior among the youths. Most of the social problems we see in our community are because of a lack of sufficient and appropriate life-skills education. We are in the process of changing this narrative. We visited Don Bosco primary school in Nyamira County, Kenya, to continue with the mission of ensuring that the younger population understands their rights and use the knowledge to identify and report instances of physical, emotional, and sexual abuse. We interacted with 150 students between 5 and 13 years.

Joyce, Gladys, and Lydia, HFAW community health promoters, facilitated the session. As people who work at the grass-root level, we understand the challenges that children whose parents are more concerned with providing and working tirelessly out of poverty experience. The teachers may not adequately cover life skills education, given the pressure on covering the academic curriculum. Therefore, your support in this initiative has ensured that the younger generation is all-round equipped to face life. The issues discussed include children’s rights, sexual and reproductive health, and the health effects of FGM.  

‘Our bodies are our own, and no one has the right to touch them inappropriately. If you feel that someone is touching you inappropriately, ask them to stop. Also, report to someone you can trust and confide in regarding the issue. No one should touch your private parts’, said Glady’s HFAW CHHRP.

The message was passed alongside a song showing the children their bodies and asking them to ensure that no one touches them inappropriately. The video can be accessed here.

Another issue discussed was Female Genital Mutilation. The practice is rampant in Nyamira despite the government of Kenya criminalizing it. Because of the seriousness of the consequences when one is found aiding or supporting FGM, adamant community members have resorted to practicing FGM on children as young as five years in secrecy.

‘FGM is bad, and no one should try to persuade you to go through it. You should be protected from it, and when you feel that you are at risk, know that you can report to your teacher.’ Said Lydia, HFAW CHHRP.

As we ended the session, we could see the joy and excitement in the children’s faces. It was a clear indication that they enjoyed learning and that they are in better positions to resist harm and abuse. 

‘Today, I have learned that my body is mine, and no one should touch my private parts,’ said one of the students.

Dear friend and partner, thank you for ensuring the children in our community access life skills education. We know you, and I can do more for longer using more resources if we have enough funds. We are lucky to have you, and we ask you to continue supporting us in thoughts, prayers, and giving. Share Life Skills Education with your friends and family so that they can know the great impact you are making in our community.

Gladys talking to the students
Gladys talking to the students
Jan 21, 2020

Successful Men's Training in Kebirigo, Nyamira County, kenya

Participants learning on GBV
Participants learning on GBV

 

Dear Friend and Partner

We had a men’s training in Kebirigo, Nyamira County, on men living with FGM survivors. This was in line with our goal to train 120 health and human rights promoters in Kenya. On this forum, we trained 25 men, and we are happy to report to you the outcome of the meeting. Our prior efforts, supported by your generous donations, have created fruits since more CHHRPs are seeing the importance of involving men in ending FGM and addressing other health issues more than ever before. In fact, the beneficiaries of the project now offer to spread the end FGM messages and mobilize for other members of the community to be trained.

We covered topics like civic education, child protection, economic empowerment, Gender-Based Violence, and the health effects of FGM. While these areas of training may seem varied, our goal is to promote the empowerment of the community with priority to ending FGM, which have been proven to be connected to the gaps in knowledge helpful in addressing the challenges.

‘I have learned the various forms of gender-based violence. I appreciate this training because it has clarified that all the factors provided as reasons for GBV are merely triggers. I know that the real reason for the continued violence we continue to experience in families is because of gender roles. Chances are, a  man beats his wife because he considers her weak and believes he can get away with it. Otherwise, if he does it because of being annoyed, the he would be fighting his peers at social joints anytime they disagree with him’, said Twara, a local pastor at Kebirigo.

Some of the high point of discussion during the training was on the prevalence of FGM in the region. As we have mentioned in our previous reports, the 2014 Kenya Demographic Health Survey ranked Nyamira and Kisii among the areas with the highest prevalence of FGM. Apart from FGM, the regions are also affected by social problems like teenage pregnancies, poverty, and school drop-out. The situation has led to conclusions that FGM may be connected to the rise of these problems, specifically among the Abagusii. However, we are hopeful that the next report will show decrease in FGM, because of the work we have been doing because of your support.

'My wife and I realized the effects of FGM just recently. Today, I have gained a deeper insight into the issue. Now I feel more informed to advocate for alternative rites of passage. Our church usually holds training for girls and boys transitioning from primary school to secondary school. During this forum, other members of the community and I, usually condemn FGM’, said Peter, a participant during the training.

Dear partner, the milestones we are making in the community point to a positive future. Thank you for your donations. While there is still more to be done, we do not underestimate where we have come from-courtesy of your support. We encourage you to share our work with your friends and family so that they see the positive impact you are making in our community.

A participant engaging with HFAW facilitators
A participant engaging with HFAW facilitators
Demonstration of how unity empowers the community
Demonstration of how unity empowers the community
Jan 6, 2020

I Regret Allowing my Daughters to Undergo FGM, A Father's Regret Leads to Change

Karen, HFAW's CHHRP, training on FGM effects
Karen, HFAW's CHHRP, training on FGM effects

Dear Friend and Partner

Happy new year!

First, we would like to take this opportunity to wish you a prosperous 2020. As we begin this new year and decade, we look forward to progress in the protection of women's and girls’ rights. Girls’ rights are human rights, and we are committed to proving this through our advocacy for the end of FGM through this projects. 

Typically, the holiday season presents an ideal leeway for cutters to subject girls to FGM. They are lured through non-existent visits to the grandmother and promised gifts after undergoing a ‘special’ ceremony. After this, they are asked not to tell anybody about it lest they are shunned by their loved ones. Therefore, we saw it essential to create awareness among fathers on the effects of FGM. We trained 50 fathers on the effects of FGM with the help of our community health and human  rights promoters, Karen, Lydia, and Gladys. It was more than we had hoped for. Motivation for us and eye-opening for the participants.

‘I regret that I pushed my wife to take my daughters for the cut. After what I have learned, I feel pain even up to my soul for having upheld such a belief. Now I see that I committed an offence. I can only plead with my fellow fathers, especially young fathers, not to support FGM’, said James.

‘I appreciate that this training came at this moment when there are speculations that some parents are planning to take their daughters for the cut. As a pastor, I have tried my best to persuade the congregants to shun support for FGM. Today I am happy that you have reinforced the anti-FGM messages that other good-will members of this community have been spreading’, said Ocharu

The training was so succesful that the HFAW team was honored with a tree-planting session. As the trees grow, we hope that efforts for ending FGM will equally lead to the best outcomes. 

This project targets ending female genital mutilation among the school-going girls. Fathers protect and care for their daughters. They prevent their daughters from being harmed. We are happy that the fathers understood how FGM is not a belief that should be upheld longer. We are excited that we received support from these fathers who promised to continue urging other men who could not attend the training to end FGM.

December is marked as a high-risk period for FGM by anti-FGM organizations and activists. Thus, we are glad that your support enabled us to reach these fathers who help end FGM in schools. Because of you, a girl is safe to begin her school year knowing that no one will subject her to FGM. From this, we are optimistic that FGM will significantly reduce this year. You are making a change in our community, and we ask you to share our work with your friends so that they can see the fantastic work you are doing.

Team planting a tree to marka successful session
Team planting a tree to marka successful session
Mr Ocharu issuing his views on the effects of FGM
Mr Ocharu issuing his views on the effects of FGM
 
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