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May 20, 2020

The Critical Role of Media in Training CHHRPs during the Covid-19 Pandemic

Media outreach at Minto FM, Kenya
Media outreach at Minto FM, Kenya

Dear Friend and Partner

We hope you are fine and safe. It is a tough time.  We would like to remind you that we are strong, resilient, and will come out of this stronger. We hope you and your loved ones are keeping safe.  We are humbled by your support. It makes our community a better place each day.  

The pandemic adds to the endless list of the problems our community currently deals with. The restrictions on movements enforced through the partial lockdown in Kenya has made it challenging for CHHRPs to hold advocacy activities on the ground. Luckily, it is also the time we have apprehended how the media can come in handy in creating awareness on the issues affecting our society. Therefore, during this period, we have been empowering the masses with skills and knowledge on how to end FGM, various forms of GBV, create awareness on how to stop the spread of Corona Virus, and promoting children’s rights.  Also, we have employed equally effective social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter to run campaigns targeting the same topic areas. We are happy to report that we have received positive outcomes from the platforms. We have reached at least 40,000 people nation-wide through radio and over 500 through our social media platforms.The community members have been responding positively to the messages and even asking how they can continue to be champions of change while obeying the measures input by the government of Kenya to control the spread of Corona.

Dear partner, you have been so kind and generous to our community. You have given us hope that change is possible. We ask you not to relent. We need your support on the journey to train more CHHRPs through alternative and effective methods. Please consider sharing our work with your close friends and families so that they can see the positive impact you are making in Kenya. Above all, stay Safe. 

May 7, 2020

Corona Virus Putting Our Girls at More Risk-We Need You!

HFAW CHHRP during a session with the students
HFAW CHHRP during a session with the students

Dear Friend and Partner

I trust you are keeping safe. We are living at uncertain times because of the outbreak of the Corona Virus Disease. We are hopeful that we will defeat this disease together and come out stronger. We would like to extend our heartfelt appreciation for your generosity in remembering the girls who are at risk of undergoing FGM. Indeed, as the disease persists, we get worried about the girls who are now within their homes without anyone to remind the parents and community members not to subject the girls to FGM. However, we are grateful for the support you have shown to our girls. Through your efforts, our community health and human rights promoters can create awareness on the need to end FGM and keep girls safe.

Over the past two months, we did school outreaches in four schools; Don Bosco, Hillview Complex, Don Bosco, Hillview Complex, Ritongo primary school, and Nyakongo primary school. In total, we reached 1107 students, teachers, and parents.  The children reached were between 12 and 15 years.  They were taught on the importance of abstaining from sex and resisting the pressure of undergoing FGM. We are excited to report that the outreaches were very successful, and we look forward to more forums to engage with the younger generations on their health and safety.  However, as we mentioned previously that the holidays are typically the ideal time parents and cutters subject girls to FGM, we are worried that the children may be at the most risk for FGM.  It is because of the decision by the government of Kenya to temporarily close schools because of the Corona Virus that took effect in mid-march. Already, there are reports by mainstream media in Kenya that cases of FGM are beginning to rise. 

Our school and other group activities slowed down due to government announcement of lockdown, and curfews resulting from covid 19. However we continue to inform the public through social media and other traditional media such as local radio stations. Your contributions this time is more important than ever before. Please continue reaching out to your friends and relatives on our behalf. Again, thank you.

In this report, we have attached an audio clip of some of HFAW's recent work covered on Radio Citizen, Kenya.  In the audio clip that is recorded in the Gusii language, Gladys, HFAW community and healthcare workers, is urging community members not to subject girls to  FGM. Also, she is teaching them how to maintain healthy relationships with the children like ensuring they spend enough time on direct interactions with the children instead of on phone. Generally, the program reached 40,000 people in Kenya. 

Yours sincerely

Students are attentive whil learning their rights
Students are attentive whil learning their rights

Links:

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
 
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