Nov 6, 2020

2019-2020 Report

Naomi
Naomi

Since its launch in 2018, we've supported 49 girls with scholarships, including room and board, school supplies, leadership training and life skills training to further empower each student. Preference was given to girls at risk to or escaping Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) and Child, Early and Forced Marriage (CEFM), and who want to advocate against both practices within their own communities.

We can break this cycle for girls in Kajiado County – and this is only made possible through your generous support.

Thanks to you, we’ve been able to reach bright students like Evalyne, Abigael and Naomi who I’m excited to introduce you to.

Evalyne is from an impoverished household in a remote village in Kajiado. Her father is a livestock herder, and her elder sister did not attend school and was married off at a young age. Her dream was to complete her education to help her family improve their economic security.

Evalyne is now in year two of secondary school. She is the only girl in her family who has reached this level of education, and she does not take it for granted. “I am happy because I am getting closer to my dream and with this help, I will work hard to become a teacher. I thank Amref for this opportunity,” she says.

17-year-old Abigael dreams of becoming a lawyer. Thanks to the scholarship, she has been able to excel in her favorite subjects: English and Chemistry and is now in year two. For Abigael, the scholarship opportunity meant that her single mother would not have any more sleepless nights, stressed about how to pay for Abigael’s school fees.

My future aspiration is to work hard and help the girls in my community who cannot afford school fees, just like Amref helped me,” Abigael tells us.

Naomi, the oldest of the three is now in year four of secondary school. Naomi comes from a village where she is now a role model for many girls. Through training with Amref, Naomi inspires girls in her village to refuse to undergo FGM.

Amref enabled me to go to school because my parents value our traditions and were not keen on educating girls,” Naomi says.

In the communities where these girls are from, schools have served as a safe-haven for girls, where they can escape their families' pressure to undergo FGM/C and CEFM. With schools closing due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many girls have been forced to return home where they may be at risk to FGM/C and CEFM. This has led to increased reports of gender-based violence in the area, including FGM/C, CEFM, and teen pregnancies. 

A national helpline for GBV received 1,108 calls in the month of June, compared to just 86 in February. 

It is clear that our work is not yet done. 

With your support, we'll be able to continue supporting girls at risk to FGM and child marriage even while schools are closed. We can establish a Girls' Mentorship Home Visit Program for 45 girls and provide each of them with Dignity Kits - backpacks pre-packed with sanitary napkins, underwear, soap, towels, a flashlight, a toothbrush and other necessities. We can also provide 200 girls with solar powered lights and a radio, enabling them to enable them to listen to radio academic lessons aired by the Kenyan government.

Please give to Amref Health Africa today and you can help us reach more girls at risk to FGM/C and CEFM.

 

Abigael with her mother
Abigael with her mother
Evalyne
Evalyne
Jul 9, 2020

Meet Sarafina

Sarafina
Sarafina

Sarafina is 14 years old and goes to a boarding school in Wamba, Kenya. She is like many 14 year old girls around the world; she enjoys school, loves to study Social Studies and English, and has dreams to be a doctor.

However, unlike most other 14 year-olds, Sarafina and the girls in her community face the very real issues of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and Child, Early and Forced Marriage (CEFM). Wamba is home to the pastoralist Samburu tribe which has a higher prevalence rate of CEFM at 38%, compared to the national average in Kenya at 23%. CEFM and FGM are linked in Samburu culture; when a girl is ready to be married off, she undergoes FGM before the wedding.

Fortunately for Sarafina, our Koota Injena project has a strong presence in Wamba. Koota Injena aims to end FGM and CEFM by engaging clan elders and other influential community leaders to use dialogue and discussions between different generations to convince their communities to abandon CEFM, FGM, and to promote the value of girls in society.

To further support the girls in these communities, we established a scholarship program to send girls at risk to or are survivors of FGM and CEFM to secondary boarding school and train them to become anti-FGM and anti-child marriage ambassadors. When girls stay in school, they decrease their risk to CEFM and FGM and improve their economic and health outcomes.

Thanks to your support, we are directly supporting girls like Sarafina.

Sarafina tells us, “I didn’t want to undergo FGM. I told my parents that I won’t undergo FGM because I learned from Amref that it’s bad for girls.”

Despite this, Sarafina’s family began the process of marrying her off, despite her young age of 14.

Sarafina bravely ran away: “When I heard I was about to be cut, I ran to my uncle. My mother came and took me back home, but the area assistance chief brought me back to school.” An area assistance chief is a government-appointed local administrator who oversees community issues. Amref has partnered with many area assistance chiefs in the area because they are seen as a bridge between clan elders and the local government.

Under the protection of our Koota Injena staff in Wamba, Sarafina lives safely and happily at school. Josephine, Sarafina’s teacher tells us that Sarafina isn’t the only girl who was brought to the school to escape marriage: “People in the community know we accept and shelter uncut girls but the good thing is we have support from the chief’s office and the local administrators who help us protect and support these girls.”

While FGM and CEFM are still prevalent in this community, there has been a noticeable difference in recent years. Josephine tells us, “There are many girls who are not cut at school now. They understand the effects of being cut so most of them refuse. Traditionally, almost all of them would be cut. But now, at least they are learning and refusing even if means getting into conflict with their parents.”

Links:

Aug 1, 2013

Closing of the Project

Almaz, a midwife in Ethiopia talking with a mother
Almaz, a midwife in Ethiopia talking with a mother

Dear donors,

We have decided to close this project, however you can still follow us through our Stand Up for African Mothers campaign (http://www.globalgiving.org/projects/stand-up-for-african-mothers/). 

Every year in Sub-Saharan Africa, upwards of 200,000 mothers die as a result of complications during pregnancy and childbirth. Because of this high maternal mortality rate, almost 950,000 children are left without a mother every year. Most of these deaths are easily preventable, as they are mainly caused by a lack of access to basic health care.

To efficiently reduce these numbers, AMREF has launched the Stand Up for African Mothers campaign to train more midwives, because midwives save lives. The aim of the campaign is to train 15,000 African midwives by 2015. So far, 4,909 are trained or in training in six countries in Africa. An AMREF-trained midwife can provide antenatal services - including examination of the mothers, referral services, counseling of HIV-positive mothers, nutritional education, maternity services, including delivery; and post-natal care. We estimate an AMREF-trained midwife can provide care to 500 mothers a year on average.

Thank you so much for supporting our "Better Maternal Health for 500,000 Women in Africa" project, and we hope you can be a partner with us in standing up for African mothers!


Links:

 
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