We have the pleasure to share with you that during the Month of October 2015, the HFAW health and human rights promoters had a rare opportunity to showcase their work to high level global photographer Richard Lord (www.rlordphoto.com), Thanks to the support from the United Methodist Women International Ministries and you. Women were able to showcase some of their economic activities, outreach activities in the shopping center and early pregnancy interventions at St Anne Academy.
Richard took photos as women did outreach to the people in the shopping center and shared information and brochures on FGM. It is so inspiring to witness the women and men talk to the people at the center on the importance of eradicating female genital mutilation/cutting. Kwamboka, who was one of the women in the shopping center who received information shared that “for a long time I never thought that anyone was able to end FGM in Kisii but now seeing how dedicated the educators are I know it will end.” Kwamboka made a request to join the group and be trained as well. We have a long list of women and men waiting to be trained as health and human rights promoters. This just inspires the women on as Joyce shared…”This work has made me realize how important I am in this village; before this work began I didn’t know that people could listen to me.”
Richard had also a chance to interact with the health and human rights promoters about their interventions around issues of gender based violence and the popular education methods which they use. They also had a chance to showcase their educational skids to the youth at St Annes Academy where they are raising awareness to help the children be aware of the dangers of early pregnancies, and their rights as youth and places to report perpetrators. The health and human rights promoters discussed with the teachers who joined the students and one teacher said “we need you to come back; as you can see the students are very interested.” The school head teacher also expressed interest in health promoters going back to do more. “This issue(early pregnancies) is a crisis, she said.
Richard then interviewed some of the participants in the interventions and said he liked “the women’s enthusiasm in doing this work.” Upon arrival back in US Richard wrote about his experiences with us (the women and HFAW staff) saying that we“… were definitely in the top 5 in my 25 years of doing this work. The depth and insight that you provided are very rare when working with development/health etc agencies.” He shared that the product he is developing from the interactions will be out in July August 2016 and we will definitely share with all of you who have been behind this work.
We are in real need to expand the methods and interventions and deepen our work. We are challenged by our limited resources and we are working very hard to overcome this challenge. Your contributions have made such a huge difference and our partnership with the Methodist Women have been of enormous importance. We want you to know that we value your advice and your contributions. Please Make a donation and talk to your friends, family and networks about HFAW and your role in bringing us this far.
Again, thank you so much for your contributions and support.
Dear Friends, Colleagues and Supporters,
Over 1500 women, men and County leadership including the Governor joined our October, 2015 Ndia 10 kilometer walk and a fundraiser! Thanks to your support. The Governor came and flagged the walk and key county leaders joined the walk. The police provided security and schools gave buses to carry tired walkers. Local schools joined in and local band provided the music. The song and music was profound. The jubilation and excitement was obvious. And many lessons learned. Ndia woman walker was so happy; “I never thought we could do such an amazing thing, I feel so empowered today,” she expressed at the end of the day.And "what is up" comments were empowering.
The theme of the Walk was: “Poverty is in Our Minds, Wealth is in our Hands, which was displayed on the Walk T-shirts. The Banners had the same messages plus “Another World is Possible for Kenyan Women and Kenya." Nyakio, one of our team player, Kenyan who lives in US and one of our GWNL alumni sister said “Congratulation on all the great planning and hard work. Yes “A better Kenya is possible!
And our greatest supporter Kelly in US also said “Now let's get a video documentary going! HERSTORY in the making! And I can’t forget our major advocate Linda Alpine’s continued encouragement both in word and did, Thank You Linda. Your quote on your email “"Let your dreams devour your life..." by Antoine de St-Exupéry, was lived on this day and served as such a great encouragement.
During the walk and fundraiser, women were able to raise awareness about the ills of bad governance and its effects on women and girls. Thanks to your support and the fundraising that happened on this day was able to realize about $30k. Ndia Women Empowerment Network popularly known as Jiinue( a Kiswahili word that means self-uplifting) members can now borrow funds from their table banking kitty to continue enhancing their socioeconomic activities.
Many of you friends and supporters even though you could not realistically physically join the walk due to distance or other reason we felt your presence in every sense of the word. Thank you Bonita and Karen Tosenjen and so many of you. Keep supporting us as we plan our next walk in 2016! Watch this space.CONTINUE TO CONTRIBUTE AND TO TELL YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY THAT WE ARE HEADED DOWN TO NYAMIRA COUNTY FOR OUR NEXT WALK. ALL YOUR SUPPORT WILL MAKE SUCH A BIG DIFFERENCE.
HFAW and Jiinue together with the respective Founders/Patrons Prof. Grace Wamue-Ngare and myself, Grace Mose continue to team up to plan more of these walks to educate Kenyan women about their rights and especially the power of their Vote. Our aim is to empower these women to think critically and elect leaders on merit come 2017! I congratulate all of us (You and us) for a job well done. I also congratulate my lovely colleague Grace Wamue-Ngare for her promotion to Associate professor position amidst a busy schedule planning and executing this important walk and fundraiser.
Finally, today is the first day of the New Year, 2016! How can we not wish all of you God’s Grace through the year. We pray that you will be blessed abundantly in 2016. We welcome all your ideas to support HFAW and Jiinue Network as we strive for another world for Kenyan women. Attached peruse the photos from the walk and funraiser!CheersWith full gratitudeDr. Grace Mose-Okon’go and prof. Grace Wamue-Ngare
Dear Friend,Due to your support, we are on our way to build a program that is providing lessons to others. I am so humbled to share that in the Month of September 2015 we hosted 8 Central African Women (from Zimbabwe, Congo and Cameroon) who paid HFAW a visit to learn about our popular education approaches.
While they were in Kenya, HFAW staff demonstrated some of our participatory approaches and also made sure to bring the guests to the village to interact with the women and men who have benefitted from the program. Here they saw their economic activities and their own work of intervention of issues in their own communities. The women and men dramatized some of the skids they use in their own work such as in schools and shared their own experience with popular education.
We were pleased to see the guests capturing some of the lessons they took away with them. “The trip to Kenya was fruitful in that it opened my eyes to new things and ways in which to improve the community through interventions for women. The HFAW methodology of Popular Education is a good one. This is so because it engages everyone and acknowledges that everyone has a part to play, no matter their social ranking. It also builds people from their lived realities, it addresses problems according to the needs presented using the simplest resources thus saving on time and money.” wrote Samantha who is one of the guests.
Samantha added that “As an area of interest, I have identified the area of Cultural practices and sexuality. The experience in Kenya taught me that Africa still has a long way to go in terms of addressing cultural practices that are harmful especially to women and children. An example is that of the Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) practice that is still rampant in some parts of Kenya. In Zimbabwe, in Shamva district, there is a high rate of child marriages and people are comfortable with it… I would like to pursue this topic of cultural practices in my area as I have seen the impact it has on the girl child as well as the children that are born under such conditions.”
“Men can be facilitators in the improvement of the lifestyles of women and children; Women, in whatever circumstances, can be empowered to improve their situations; Projects, when well coordinated, can improve communities as a whole; There is need for the engagement of local authorities in programming” Wrote Grace Musuka who reported on behalf of the team.
I have to share with you what Michael Fonner, one of our staunch supporters, global giving contributer and the only man who attended the first workshop said, “I so very much enjoyed being with you last week during your extremely well lead, informative, enthusiastic, and promising seminar. I told Leslie all about it and she shares my joy at the good and important work you are doing…I think your work in popular education; the kind of empowering education that values every person and arises from the grassroots is powerful and life-giving to the communities that you serve. Leslie and I are grateful to be a small part of what you are doing. We thank you.”
Michael and Leslie, we thank you more and we appreciate that you had time to join us. You are the voice of all our global giving supporters worldwide who won’t have a chance to be with us.
At the end of the exchange the women expressed a strong interest to take the popular education training so that they can bring the methods to their countries. As we speak two of the women are registered to participate in the EPES international school in January 2016 in Chile where HFAW had taken lessons from.
HFAW plans to offer the trainings here in Kenya in the near future as we have seen demand for the program even in our own locations. We won’t stop until we expand to more locations. We are in real need to expand the methods and interventions. We are challenged by our limited resources but have hope that we will overcome this challenge. Please do not hesitate to reach us with ideas on how we can make this a reality. We want you to know that we value your advice and your contributions. Please talk to your friends, family and networks about HFAW and your role in bringing us this far.Again, thank you so much for your partnership with us.