Dear Friends, Colleagues and supporters, Good evening or evening. We take this opportunity to appreciate you all for the support you have accorded us through global giving in the Forthcoming walk entitled New World Possible for 10,000 Ndia Women, Kenya (21004) this October. We are planning that on the 10th Day of the 10th Month of 2015, to bring together 3, 000 women and men to walk for 10 Kilometers in the morning hours of Saturday, and thereafter raise funds to a tune of 10, 000 US dollars, which is aimed at reaching 10,000 women in Ndia Constituency, Kirinyaga County Kenya. The theme of the March is “Poverty is in our Minds, Wealth is in our Hands for Another World is Possible for Kenyan Women and Kenya." The aim of the Walk/March is to create awareness about the ills of bad governance and its effects on women and girls.
The Money raised will go into enhancing the socioeconomic activities that members of Ndia Women Empowerment Network popularly known as Jiinue( a Kiswahili word that means self-uplifting) are currently engaged in. Under the motivation and mentoring of their Patron, Dr. Grace Wamue-Ngare, these women came together after a realization that only they can change the apathy of a poverty mentality, which they attribute to the reason they sell their votes during campaigns. By internalizing that they are "poor" these women develop a low self esteem and have no morale to even try.
As witnessed in the last general elections in Kenya, a practice that is chronic with elections, majority of these women simply lined up by the roadsides and waited for political aspirants to give them handouts of less than 1 dollar per woman, an exercise some of them have done for as long as they can remember. By so doing, these women (who are the majority voters) not only sell their vote, but also embark on a very futile and dehumanizing exercise. Ironically they feel helpless about the action and are actually bitter. Yet, this has been the trend day in day out during all elections. Without realizing that the little they get from the politicians cannot deliver them from that situation, they unfortunately fail to recognize the power of their vote and the same poverty they are trying to get rid of.
HFAW and Jiinue together with the respective Founders/Patrons Drs. Grace Mose-Okong’o and Dr. Grace Wamue-Ngare embarked on a rigorous campaign 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. The strategy is to help women embark on numerous socioeconomic activities, which they fund through Table Banking. These women are grouped into twenties and meet every month, do some contributions and borrowing from the other members (pull together) and hence enhance their business or farming.
The forthcoming walk on 10/10/2015 is the First among a series of many others that will culminate in the grand Walk of a proposed 50,000 women in 2017, just before the national elections. We are hoping that this walks and the Fundraiser thereafter will realize a substantive amount that would go a long way in boosting the Table banking activity. Not only will more women borrow the money but they would also take bigger loans. By so doing, these women would not only be empowered politically, socially and economically but they would also be so busy by 2017 to line up all day waiting for political handouts. That way, they would elect the leaders on merit.
As we appreciate you for your support, as the women are so pleased to have their t-shirts and banners will go up this week. We continue to invite you to be part of this change. By supporting a woman change her mind set, you have saved a vote, a family, a village a nation. We anticipate a changed Kenya in less than 10 years. This is our dream. Please be part of this dream. Tell all your friends and familyWith much gratitude fromGrace Mose-Okong’o and Grace Wamue-Ngare
The first part of the year saw us engaging with advocacy with youth and children issues at Gisebei primary school to combat child, youth abuse, FGM and prevent early pregnancies all reported in previous report.
In May, HFAW CEO, I, was privileged to participate in the Global Women Leadership Network which offers transformative training entitled “The Ripple Effect of Women leaders: From Local Impact to Global Change.” It was a training that not only inspires direction but helped me see blind spots including the hidden invisible rules and assumptions that limit us from helping our staff and stakeholders from achieving our potential. It unfolded mindset and self doubts that slow us down and inhibit us and those who work with us. The training helped unveil how to disengage from these things while opening new possibilities, new thinking about our vision. It showed me how to create a new roadmap. The good thing also is that our coaches are with us for another six months before they send us to the world of work. I came home convinced that HFAW must take a first step of developing its live changing strategic plan. All the way from San Jose to Kenya I kept wondering how HFAW survived three years without a clear and professional strategic plan. To many of you our supporters, Thank you so much for your support. Please know that we carry enormous gratitude in our hearts to you our cheerleaders. We could not have done anything without your support. Through you we raised flight tickets and some remaining fees. Some of you continuously gave us moral support and mentoring especially when things are so tough. Importantly, you are helping my entire HFAW team, health and human rights promoters and myself turn breakdown into breakthroughs!
And now HFAW team is working with a consultant to create a five year strategic plan. This will clarify our focus and help us better engage our local beneficiaries and stakeholders at the local and international levels. We expect even better outcomes and bigger impact in the near future. As we work on this plan our women continue to forge forward with their economic empowerment project. We continue to endorse interest free loan from kiva.org and the women (and men) continue to work on their economic activities. And our advocacy work is underway. We want to train as many people as we can on how to be an intervention in their own communities.We believe that our model program of employing popular education to combat GBV and other gender issues in the community combined with economic entrepreneurship and leadership from the community itself is very practical. We still want to train more women than the first 30 health and human rights promoters. We therefore appeal to you for your continued support Please reach out to your friends, colleagues and all kinds of well-wishers to help us reach our funding goal of $25,000 and build a movement that will end gender discrimination in Kisii. You helped us earn a spot on global giving, so tax deductive donations will reach us through global giving site. We will keep you well updated on all our progress and achievements. Please visit our website and facebook to see photos of our work portraying the trainings and an additional photo from the GWLN training. Please also review our work with youth and children report. Thank you!
Dear Friends, Colleagues, and supporters,
In our last report we did mention that the Gisebei primary school invited the health promoters and HFAW staff back on March 6th to speak to the parents of the children about child abuse, children’s rights and FGM. We knew that this was going to be hard to do considering our meager resources. Thanks to your help we are glad we made it.
The health promoter turnout was great as always. Over 400 parents joined their children, the teachers, some guests and a local catholic choir on the school play ground. There were other education officials who came to witness the award giving as this was an educational day for the pupils. The health promoters got a brief period to share their knowledge with parents and they used it well. First, they offered an educational song filled with messages and action and then conducted a child abuse play and children’s rights. This action packed episode was entertaining but very educational; a song recrafted to urge the parents, teachers, educators and children to stop all kinds of harmful practices ranging from FGM to child abuse.The song urged them to come together for the good such as education. The parents expressed total interest to hear more even when we had to let the school carry on with other agenda. The headmaster requested that I take a few minutes to address the parents. I took advantage of this to recap the issues for the parents. Through question and answer method we knew that that these abuses happen and very frequently in their neighborhood and they disapprove. I asked, are there parents among you who beat up their children and sometimes bite or burn them up? They answered in chorus with loud “yes” from one question to the other. To this moment we were pleased at the responses. But not with FGM.
We were not completely shocked to expect women especially shout that they wanted FGM to continue. We are already aware of how they hide kids and mutilate them at night since the passing of antifgm bill. Many women especially were saying that anything else can end but not FGM. FGM is equivalent to motherhood, how can it end? Right there we know that our work is cut out for us. The health promoters have publicly sworn not to continue with the practice but they came to this conclusion after very personalized, intimate and participatory discussions with them in way that they had to probe the practice themselves and find answers. We know that the approach can work if only we can reach as many women and men as possible. We were pleased however that the youth and children are getting it. HFAW staff and health promoters began to find out what they know from our last engagement with them. The ones who had a chance to share their views revealed that they condemn child abuse, FGM and support child rights. With that we know that intervening with youth and children is the first step to ending these vices and especially FGM.
Today’s development just like many of our episodes left each of the health promoters and HFAW staff with an urgency. The urgency to reach more youth and children, women and men. Our methods do work but our resources are just not there. We passionately appeal to you to reach out to your friends and relatives to support this work. It is worth fighting for that one child, one youth, one woman and one man who gets it for our future depends on them. View some of the photos from March 6th, 2015.