Dear Friends, Colleagues and Supporters,
Nyamira County is number 5 in preference rate out of 47 counties in Kenya. Months ago, we began noticing a crisis in rising number of young girls getting pregnant while in primary school. HFAW has been trying to reach out to schools to speak to parents, teachers and students on child abuse, early pregnancy, GBV, sexual reproductive health rights and FGM.
When a girl gets pregnant that becomes the end of her schooling. There is a perception that they have become women and yet they are children getting children. Very little work has been done to reduce early pregnancy in our county.
In mid-July, 2018, 9 girls have become pregnant in a local school. These girls are said to be 15- 17 years old.
"The pregnancies are due to boda boda(motorcycle) riders and poor parenting," commented Charles, the school head. "The pregnancies are spread across all the classes in the institution." Added Charles.
"This is a crisis, how can 9 girls get pregnant in the same school at the same time?" Expressed Joyce, HFAW grassroots coordinator.
HFAW CHHRPs have been mentoring girls in schools so that they can be retained in schools. Unfortunately, we haven't been able to reach as many schools including this local school with 9 pregnancies. We have been able to go to schools with messages of early pregnancy, child safeguarding, FGM, GBV and advancement of human rights.
The Kenyan Justice system is slow. In Rape cases or any form of sexual abuse, girls are often hesitant to follow up on a case in court. This is a body which HFAW is also involving in ending Early Pregnancy.
This Education has also helped men as well.
"You know, when you put me on the spot I thought you were cruel but now I appreciate your way of doing things. I thank you for putting up with us." Said one of the men during a training in Nyamira.
"This mesages have helped me know the importance of having self esteem and saying No to unwanted sex," said one of the girls after a dramatization by the CHHRPs.
"Through this education, I have learnt that I should protect my sisters against sexual abuse." Added one of the boys.
"If you were able to reach more schools, this could lead to reduction of pregnancies in schools," commented a teacher from Tindereti Primary School.
Early pregnancy affects not only girls but the whole community because it robs girls of their potential. Educated Girls develop skills, knowledge and confidence to make informed decisions including if, when and whom to marry.
It is for this reason that we are seeking your support. These are children getting babies. We know we have come to you over and over again to support us. We do this because we know you care about our cause. Together, let us end Early Pregnancy and provide an opportunity for these girls to move from domestic environment to literacy and getting exposure to new ideas and value systems.
Some of the donations and grants are also used to train law enforcement officers and health care providers who are assisting us on holding perpetrators of FGM and GBV accountable. This project however has not been able to raise as much on Global Giving. We acknowledge and appreciate our funders I.e. the Girl Generation, AWDF and United Methodist Women who have helped us run this project as well.
We sincerely thank you our Global Giving friends and Supporters for supporting us and walking with us through every step of the way. We appreciate that you are part of us. This will be a long journey but worth it at the end after reducing the numbers of early pregnancies and finally ending it.
Winnierose N Sululu
On 16th October 2017 and 1st May 2018, HFAW embarked on journeys in Nyamira County to empower 30 small scale women farmers on Animal Husbandry and Crop farming training respectively. The trainings included field visits to model farmers in dairy and crop farming namely i.e Mzee Livingstone for dairy rearing visit and Wilkister Anangwe for crop farming model. The participants learnt a lot of good things on best practice in agriculture and promised to implement the same in their farms. Ever since, HFAW has worked worked consistently to ensure that these women and a few men have government and non-government experts on their side to support them do better farming and improve their yield for increased income.
July 5th and 12th 2018, HFAW made a monitoring and evaluation follow up to see how these women were fairing on after the training and recorded the following improvements:
“I used to tie my cow on a post outside during the day and at night the cows used to sleep outside whether there was rain or not. After the animal husbandry training last year, I decided to make a permanent cow shed structure.” Explained Martha, while showing us her new cowshed....... “I also used to throw cow dung by the roadside, but after the animal husbandry training, I allocated a place to pile it and wait for it to 'cook' and when it is ready i apply it as manure on my banana plantation. I have also planted napier grass to prevent soil erosion as I learnt during the crop farming training” Martha added.
Martha also showed us the chicken she begun rearing around her homestead and lots of beans which she is so proud of having.
“Knowledge is important for growth in the homestead,” said Martha happily. “With this kind of change, I won’t see food scarcity in my household.”
“I also improved my cow structure,” said Karen. “I no longer use the bull method of fertilization, I use artificial insemination (AI) as we were taught at Mzee Livingstone’s farm,” stated Karen.
On 12thJuly 2018, HFAW visited Mr. Kennedy and saw the breakthrough he had made with transforming his cow sheds.
“I have built a shed holding a capacity of 12 cows. I have different structures where they eat, sleep and even a milking parlor. The training enabled me to interact with other farmers and enhanced my production skills. I learnt what works and what does not.”Said Kennedy
Lydia who was also a participant in the dairy training commented about what she had done so far.
“I did not know what to do and how to get to feed my cows during the dry season. After the animal husbandry f training, I have been able to make silage.”Said Lydia.
“God bless HFAW, United Methodist Women and all our Global Giving friends and supporters for assisting in this knowledge to reach us,” said Joyce, the HFAW Grassroots Coordinator and a direct beneficiary of HFAW projects.
In order to end structural gender inequalities which encourage the persistence of GBV and FGM/C, HFAW works towards economic empowerment of women. One way of doing this is to bring in other partners such as One Acre Fund who are training women and giving them crop farming skills and Nyamira County Government ministry of livestock and crop which is sharing and following up animal husbandry and crop farming skills. These skills range from sources and use of better breeds, feeds and seeds and other best practices.
The positive transformation is evident in the anticipated increased farm produce, improved livelihoods and most importantly, in the bright smiles on their faces.
Thank you again for your continued support in making the world a brighter place.
With utmost gratitude,
Winnierose N Sululu.
Dear Friends and Supporters,
The Day of the African Child is a June 16 annual event that honors students who were massacred in Soweto, South Africa, in 1976 for protesting against education injustice and inequality in the apartheid regime.
This day was designated as Day of the African Child in 1991 by the African Union and every year events are organized to promote children’s rights. This year’s theme was; “Leave No Child Behind for Africa’s Development”. HFAW was part of stakeholders observing the day on Tuesday 19th June 2018 at Bosamaro Chache location at chiefs' camp also commonly known as Gesero or Rianyaundi in Nyamira County, Kenya. We moved this day from 16th to 19th because the 16th June which is the actual African child’s day happened to be on a weekend during which many participants carry out their religious activities.
One of the aims of the Day of the African Child is to highlight harmful practices such as Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting. HFAW strives to end this form of Gender Based Violence against the girl child because this is an extreme abuse of human right.
On this day, HFAW CHHRPs, HFAW staff, Church leaders, Nyamira County Child Protection Stakeholders and the pupils had the opportunity to speak up on the dangers of FGM/C.
"We mothers are survivors of FGM/C too. Today we are here to tell you that we didn’t like the experience and urge you our fellow parents present to protect our girls against this harmful practice of FGM," Gladys, HFAW CHHRP during presentation of a skit.
The children wrote a memorandum and included the issues they face and presented the document to the county commissioner. This MOU was presented to the parents and guardians.
“As children today we present this MOU with a list of challenges we face plus resolutions we would want our mothers and fathers to work on to safeguard our lives," announced the pupils with assistance from the Nyamira County Children Assembly during the open forum.
The pupils also presented short plays and solo narratives on this day. One of the plays was based on the setting in Soweto;
Students: (Peaceful demonstrations on the streets of Soweto) we want equal rights in Education just like the white students. Haki Yetu(Our Rights), Haki Yetu.
Government Officers: Teachers don’t you dare question the government or incite the pupils ever again.
The pupils enacted the play in a superb way as they showcased how the black student in Soweto were mistreated during their peaceful demonstrations. The parents and guardians were stunned about how well the pupils had grasped the whole concept on unequal rights.
Moreover, the religious leaders also stepped in and spoke their truth about FGM/C.
“In the Bible, Abraham was requested to only cut male members while for Sarah it’s only her name that changed to Sarai. As Kisii's we should abandon FGM/C and embrace the good names which reflect different ages of a girl i.e. mwaiseke, na omukungu, tari egesagane.(girl and woman and not the demeaning concept of uncut lass…" said Pastor Evans during the open Forum.
“FGM/C has so far come out as a social norm among our trainees in Gusii land. When we do priority matrix and ask the community to identify key problems FGM/C has never appeared as a problem in this priority matrix. It is only after we sensitize to them when suddenly it becomes the mother of all problems. Community awareness creation through dialogue is therefore key to ending FGM/C,” said Teresiah, HFAW Project Manager, towards the end of the forum.
FGM/C not only affects the girl child at childhood but also throughout their lifetime.
Thanks to the voices of the children, women and leaders, the parents, guardians and other officials who attended the forum left empowered and ready to safeguard the African Child.
Observing the #DAC2018 (Day of the African Child) would not have been possible without the capacity and support from you our Friends and Donors and Global Media Campaign to End FGM. HFAW was able to reach 400 pupils representing 6 schools, over 250 parents and teachers, Nyamira County Child Protection Stakeholder, over 800,000 radio listeners, 953 reach and 2779 impressions on Facebook and Twitter respectively. Blessings for being part of safeguarding the African child.
The Global Giving Bonus Day is coming up on 18th of July, 2018. Join us as we strive to End FGM/C and Early Teenage Pregnancy in Nyamira County, Kenya. Want to make the world a better and brighter place for these Girls to realize their full potential? Be part of our 18th July Bonus Day Fundraising Movement.
Thank you for your continued, faithful support towards our cause.
Winnierose N. Sululu.