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Oct 21, 2019

Girls from Nyaronde are No Longer Ashamed of Monthly periods-Because of You

Sali speaking on challenge of teenage pregancies
Sali speaking on challenge of teenage pregancies

Dear Friend and Partner,

We wish to thank you supporting the development of our community through empowering men and women to be community health and human rights promoters. We have trained them and impacted them with skills that they are using to address the challenges experienced in the community. While there is still more work to be done, we appreciate that, courtesy of the efforts by the CHHRPs, more parents are shunning FGM, girls are expressing interests in continuing with education instead of engaging in behavior that put them at risk of teenage pregnancies, and matters previously discussed in low tones like menstrual hygiene and sexual and reproductive health are being discussed in open forums hence leading to effective and long-term solutions. 

On the 14th of October, we marked the International Day of the Girl Child at Nyaronde grounds, Nyamira. We focussed on advocating for the end of FGM, teenage pregnancies, period-shaming, and encouraging girls to stay focused on their education. The projected received special support from Khatsimi Simami, Ph.D. student, University of Washington, Information School. The event attracted more than one hundred girls and women from Nyaronde, Nyamira. The day is usually marked annually worldwide on every 11th of October. However, the community members requested us to hold the event on the 14th. The CHHRPs expressed interest in being part and parcel of this day so that they could use this platform to continue advocating for the protection of girls and women’s rights. 

The event began with a walk covering a distance of at least 5 km. Then the participants convened at Nyaronde grounds to discuss the theme of the day, Gilrforce, unscripted, and unstoppable. The highlight of the day was the provision of sanitary towels to girls from deprived backgrounds who can barely afford sanitary towels.The idea was inspired by a sad case of a girl who committed suicide because her allegedly teacher ridiculed her for staining her skirt with her menstrual blood. By gifting the girls sanitary towels, HFAW hoped to change the negative attitude towards mothly periods and increase the confidence and sense of self-worth among girls who live in an environment that rarely give them emotional and economic support during such moments. 

‘Many of us struggle to get sanitary towels. Worse is the fact that no one psychologically prepares us for the effects periods will have on our bodies. I witnessed my primary school classmate refusing to leave her seat in class until everyone is gone because of being worried about stains. I have also had moments where I lack sanitary pads hence using pieces of clothing which is unhygienic and unhealthy. Sometimes I would resort to missing school. I know I am not alone. Something needs to be done. We are grateful to organizations like HFAW, which are working to eliminate the problem’, Catherine, a 17-year old girl.

‘I believe that teenage pregnancy is still among the main challenges affecting girls in this area. I do not have a child. I owe that to the mentorship I have received from my sister and parents. Also, I want to focus on excelling in my studies first, get a good job, then think about starting a family. I wish other girls would receive the type of support I have received. We would not be witnessing the high cases of teenage pregnancies in this region.’, said Sali.

‘Words cannot begin to describe how thoughtful this project was. I enjoyed being part of this. I plan to issue the pads to girls whom we identified. I hope you consider doing this in this area again. It directly impacts and uplifts girls’, Jackie, the area sub-chief.

Dear friend and partner, after wrapping up the event at Nyaronde grounds, the HFAW team went to Pisgan primary school to gift girls from poor backgrounds with sanitary towels. The headteacher, deputy, and staff member received the team. After the introduction, the girls were called to receive their gifts. We are grateful to Simami and the whole GlobalGiving platform for showing this kind of love for girls in our community. Because of you, they are no longer ashamed of having to go through a menstrual cycle because, thanks to this event, they now know that periods are natural, beautiful, and a sign of growth.

Some girls proudly holding  boxes of sanitary pads
Some girls proudly holding boxes of sanitary pads
Joyce,HFAW, handing over sanitary to Pisgan girls
Joyce,HFAW, handing over sanitary to Pisgan girls
Girls from Nyaronde leading in the walk
Girls from Nyaronde leading in the walk
CHHRPs posing for a photo during IDG2019
CHHRPs posing for a photo during IDG2019
Oct 8, 2019

Anti-FGM wave is taking root in Sotik

Children giving their views on the effects of FGM
Children giving their views on the effects of FGM

Dear Friend and partner

We are happy and humbled that you continue to support the project to End Female Genital Mutilation in our community. Courtesy of your support, we visited Sotik Highlands Primary School, Nyamira, on 29th August 2019. We are happy to report to you the impact you made in our community by giving to this project.

The theme of the event was- Empowering teenagers and young people to take up leadership and initiative in ending FGM, Drug Abuse, prevent spread of HIV/AIDS among young generation and economic empowerment of young adults through talents and advocacy for a better and bright Nyamira. The event reached 106 school-going children, 144 youths, and 27 adults. The event was carried through having open discussions on the health effects of FGM, possible ways that youths can use to put an end to the misogynist practise, and request to parents, political leaders, and the general community to join advocacy for the end of FGM.

Among the invited and present guest who shared with the participants were, HFAW members. LBTI members, Highlands Primary Schools Head-teacher and teachers, area Sub-Chief, the representative form MCA’s office, the representative from Gender office-Madam Beatrice, a representative from Children Services office, from Ministry of Youth affairs- Erick and field officer for ADRA, many more.

' I know that it is a painful thing done to young girls. I do not like it when other people are hurt', Collins, (Not his real name), answered when asked about what he knows about FGM. The sesssion was fruitful in gauging and spreading knowledge on the effects of FGM. 

‘Before this meeting, I did not know much about FGM except that it is done on girls and that any girl who has not gone through it is rejected by our community. Now I know that it is harmful and lacks benefits. I plan to spread the message to my friends who lack this information. Hopefully, they can help the organization in ending FGM in Kisii and Nyamira’, David, a youth from the Sotik high-lands area.

“We are grateful to HFAW from bringing this event to Sotik Highlands primary school. As teachers, we need help to keep children safe from harmful practises like FGM is prevalent in this region. FGM affects girls and interferes with their concentration and performance in academics. We urge our parents to stop holding on to the practice’, Rose, a teacher at Sotik Highlands primary school.

The day was carried on with activities- football (girls and boys), Pathfinders’ matching, chess/draft and athletics, reading competition, poetry; Children’s assembly called, Say-T; Music from the Girl living with disability(brother and sister both blind), Traditional dances, open discussions and speeches from key speakers and finally awarding of the winners. This training was possible because of you, our partner and friend. We are creating awareness, impacting children, young adults, and the general community with knowledge, and promoting the protection of children’s rights because of your kind donations. We humbly request you to help us complete this journey. Continue sharing our work with your friends and family.

Thank You 

Smiles and dancing after acquiring knowledge
Smiles and dancing after acquiring knowledge
HFAW Acting CEO, Leah, addressing the students
HFAW Acting CEO, Leah, addressing the students
Aug 26, 2019

Youths are Taking back the Power to Bring Change in the Community

A parent asking teenagers to focus on school
A parent asking teenagers to focus on school

Dear Friends

              Hope Foundation for African is focussed on bringing positive change to the community. Our interventions are channeled to reach each member of the community-especially the youths. On 23rd, August, HFAW held a youth empowerment event in collaboration with Life Beyond Matutu, a Community Based Organization based in Nyaronde, Nyamira. The event was so successful. It took the edutainment approach. We had fun activities like modelling, eating competition, football competition, and a chess game. On the education end, we held a discussion on issues like more youths going to school, ending FGM, stopping drug abuse, ending teenage pregnancies, and having mentors.

              Last month, Nyamira county was ranked among the top five counties with the highest cases of teenage pregnancies. The report elicited a lot of reactions from the locals and the entire nation. Many called for swift action to curb the challenge. As such, this was the best platform for the community to converge and chant a way forward on ending teenage pregnancies in the region.

              “I believe we can improve our children’s morals by encouraging our children to go to school and work hard. Education opens doors of unending opportunities. It empowers one with the knowledge and skills that she can use to improve the living condition. Education also instills moral values that enable one to critically analyze situations before taking actions like engaging in premature sexual relations”, said Beatrice, a representative from the Ministry of Education Kenya.

                   Why Nyamira continues to grapple with rampant cases of teenage pregnancy

              Part of the reason why Nyamira grapples with the problem of teenage pregnancies is high rates of poverty, which contributes to school drop-outs and persistence of harmful practices like FGM. Additionally, right from childhood, girls are socialized into feeling inferior to boys and staying submissive. They are denied access to opportunities which can make open doors for a better future. The challenges translate to lack of confidence, low self-esteem, and stress, which put them at risk of teenage pregnancies.

              “If you forget everything that I have said today, please do not forget to have a mentor. This is someone you look up to for guidance. It may be your mother, father, teacher, or even me. Mentors help set your life in the right direction through guiding you and motivating you to work hard and stay disciplined”, said Rachel, a representative from the Children’s office, Nyamira, Kenya.

              Young girls in our community are in dire need of mentors. They need people to look up to. They need to know that success is possible for everyone who works towards it. They need to be taught life skills and encouraged to keep on soaring despite the challenges they face on a daily basis. They need mentors to help them break from the cycle of poverty that is characterized by teenage pregnancies, early marriage, domestic violence, and FGM.

              “The Bible says that there is time for everything. Young girls and boys right now is the time to learn and prepare your future. Do not use this time to be a parent. Focus on education so that you can secure a   future full of possibilities”, said Beatrice, the representative from the ministry of education, Kenya.

                                          Youths need to to have confidence in themselves

              Another key issue discussed was confidence and self-esteem among young people. Teenagers and young adults need to be confident and believe in themselves. Such an attitude will improve their abilities to make informed decision to abstain from sex until marriage. It will propel them towards chasing their dreams and bringing positive change in the community. Most importantly, it will protect girls from giving into early romantic advances.

               Dear friend and partner, this program was possible because of you. Your contribution is bringing our community together in forums and sparking conversations on the problem of teenage pregnancy that is often discussed in a low tone. Now more than ever, we are making it known, in words and actions, from one corner of the community to another, that the persistence of teenage pregnancy is unacceptable. We are holding leaders accountable for failing to formulate policies to protect girls. We are holding law enforcers responsible for failing to apply the law strictly and prosecuting men and boys found guilty of impregnating teenage girls. Do not forget to share our work on life skills education to end with your friends and family so that they can see the smile you are putting on the faces of people from our community.

Representative, ministry of education, speaking
Representative, ministry of education, speaking
Area sub-chief and HFAW acting CEO, playing chess
Area sub-chief and HFAW acting CEO, playing chess
Participants during football competition
Participants during football competition
 
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