Mar 11, 2019

Voices of Girls Initiative(Avoiding the cut)

SAUTI YA WASICHANA (VOICE OF GIRLS) INITIATIVE: AVOIDING FEMALE CUT.

The Response? Although GlobalGiving funds girls’ empowerment activities in Kisumu County, Kenya, the bulk of the donations between August and November 2018 was used to address an emergency in a neighboring County. Among the Kuria Community of Migori County, November and December of every even year is a season for female genital mutilation (FGM). Some parents and family members approve the cut for their girls; others don’t. Some girls want to undergo the cut; others don’t.

NIGEE has been working in Kuria for about four years and has earned trust and acceptance by the community. Between September and October 2018, several schools and parents in Kuria approached us to provide safe accommodation for their girls to avoid being forced to undergo FGM. NIGEE took the challenge and a school away from the center of FGM activities was chosen to serve as the camp for the girls.

What was the turn-up?  A total of 189 girls (78 from primary and 111 from secondary schools) were accommodated at the camp, which run from November 26 to December 21, 2018.

What happened at the camp? Qualified teachers were engaged to teach academic subjects (Secondary School Mathematics, Chemistry, Physics and Biology, and Primary School Mathematics, Science and Social Studies). This was followed in the afternoons by mentorship on different topical issues such as girls’ education, child marriage, teen pregnancy, FGM, hygiene, SGBV, child labour, drug and substance abuse, career choice, etc. Late afternoon the girls participated in various games and sports, and between dinner and bed time, they sang, danced and had talent shows.

The camp’s officials (head girl, dormitory prefect, dining hall prefect) and the most disciplined girls were awarded t-shirts from a co-sponsor of the camp.

 

Selected reactions from girls, parents, teachers, religious leaders and County officials:

  • Zawadi [not real name], age 15, was rescued on her way to the cut: “I am very happy to have been rescued from the cut. I promise to work hard in school and achieve all my dreams”.
  • Shakina, age 13, a partial orphan said: “If I went through the cut I would have been forced to drop out of school to be married [off] early which is a very painful thing. I request NIGEE to always assist other girls like me who do not want to undergo the cut then drop out of school to get married and suffer in the marriages”.
  • A widow whose two girls were rescued by NIGEE and the Children’s officer, said: “Being a widow I had no one to assist me but I am grateful my girls were kept safe for four weeks since I had nowhere to take them
  • The Chief Executive Officer of Education, County Government of Migori, was among the mentors who emphasized to the girls the harmful effects of FGM: “….never disappoint NIGEE in their commitment to support girls. Work hard and you can become doctors, lawyers, teachers, and make NIGEE and yourselves proud”.
  • A teacher from one of the local secondary schools commented during a mentorship session: “FGM has led many girls to drop out of school and get married. If you see these girls who were in school just the other day, they are now looking old and suffering. They are just house wives, grazing cattle and begging for assistance. If you want to live a good life it’s only education that can help you.”
  • One of the mentors, a priest from a local church, used the Bible to advise the girls: “According to the Bible, there is no place where FGM was practiced among girls. The practice is against church doctrines and should be abolished. As girls you should put more effort in your studies and thank NIGEE for this opportunity which you got. You are lucky to even have teachers to teach you. If I were you I would work hard, excel, achieve all my dreams and leave Kuria an FGM-free area”.

Attachments:
Dec 10, 2018

Progress report for Girls' Empowerment Centre

The New Girls Empowerment Centre -final phase of 1
The New Girls Empowerment Centre -final phase of 1

During the period September – November 2018 NIGEE Girls empowerment center continued to offer vocational skill training to adolescent girls and young women (AGYW).

  • During this period, NIGEE enrolled 34 new teen mothers into the program; cumulatively we have reached 444 AGYW with skills training since the inception of the program.
  • Currently, there are 10 girls enrolled in computer classes, 25 in hairdressing and 15 in dressmaking class; the rest have completed and are waiting graduation.
  • The porridge program is currently benefitting 15 toddlers (10 who are consistent and 5 who come sporadically); the porridge is served at 10am as the mothers attend classes, which enables the girls to concentrate on their studies while confident that their kids are well taken care of by the Center Matron.
  •  As we approach the completion of the first phase of the new GEC, which we hope to launch in the first quarter of 2019, we anticipate enrolling more girls into the program; the Center will also include an Early Childhood Development space to accommodate children who have attained school-going age and offer them more structured activities in line with the Guidelines by Kenya’s Ministry of Education. We also hope to open up a library where girls who intend to rejoin formal education can study, both in preparation for re-enrollment and for homework while in school.
  • The GEC safe space/hostel continues to offer a temporary safe haven for 13 girls and young women who have been sexually exploited or abused and are in immediate danger; we provide ongoing counseling and investigation with a goal of reconciling them with their families.  In addition to counseling, they are linked to appropriate sexual and reproductive health services as their cases are processed.
Classroom doors painted and window glasses fitted
Classroom doors painted and window glasses fitted
The interior section of the classroom painted
The interior section of the classroom painted
Sep 10, 2018

It's no longer a dream; it's almost a reality

The Upcoming GEC Site in Kasule, Kisumu, Kenya
The Upcoming GEC Site in Kasule, Kisumu, Kenya

As a teen mother, I couldn’t hide my joy when I visited the upcoming and almost completed Girls Empowerment Centre in Kasule. I still lack words to thank our amazing donors for always believing in us. This is a DREAM come true for us girls living in slums (informal settlements) of Kisumu . ’ ~ Salome –Hairdressing student at NIGEE.

 

NIGEE Girls Empowerment Centre (GEC) continues to enroll more girls for vocational training and linkage to other services, including employment, internship and ‘volunteership’. The demand for the vocational training courses is increasing every day.

The girls and the entire NIGEE fraternity are so delighted to see the building at the finishing stage with roofs, windows, doors and electrical piping completed for the ground floor. We are optimistic that with current giving from donors and individuals we will get the building completed and launched soon.

During the period June – August 2018 NIGEE continued with activities at the current GEC:

  • So far we have reached 410 girls with the skills training since the inception of the program in November 2015. In the period under review, we were able to enroll 17 new teen mothers.
  • Currently, there are 38 girls enrolled in computer classes, 51 girls in hairdressing and 24 girls in the dressmaking class.
  • Our porridge program is doing great and currently 10 toddlers are benefitting from the daily porridge at 10am as their mothers attend classes.  
  • To build girls’ self-esteem and confidence, the GEC continues to provide life skills sessions on a biweekly basis; to this end, the Centre has adopted a life skill training manual for the mentors who act as facilitators.
  • One of our major challenges is space to accommodate the increasing numbers of girls who wants to access the vocational skills training.  The new GEC is part of our strategy to address this increasing number of girls enrolling for courses but are being turned away due to the limited space at the current centre. When completed, the new site will serve approximately 300 girls at once.
  • The GEC safe space/hostel continues to offer a temporary haven for 8 girls and young women who have been exploited or sexually abused and are in immediate danger; we provide ongoing counseling and investigation with a goal of reconciling them with their families.  In addition to counseling, they are linked to appropriate sexual and reproductive health services as their cases are processed.
  • NIGEE is also preparing to host the upcoming GlobalGiving Kenyan Workshop to be held on 28th of September 2018 at NIGEE Headquarters in Milimani, Kisumu. We are looking forward to a productive workshop.

Story:

Click here to watch our success story uploaded on our YouTube channel and Globalgiving page;   https://bit.ly/2Q7tfAa

The 1st Floor finishing of walling at the GEC site
The 1st Floor finishing of walling at the GEC site
The site workers doing final exterior work
The site workers doing final exterior work
Kids enjoying a cup of 10'Oclock porridge at GEC
Kids enjoying a cup of 10'Oclock porridge at GEC
 
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