Aug 18, 2017

TURNING POINT

Gatwiri receiving services via door to door nurse
Gatwiri receiving services via door to door nurse

At the foot of Mt Kenya, Gatwiri,* is a 14 year old girl living in a Nanyuki town slum called Likii, since 2012

“I came to work for my aunt as a maid, earning a meager salary of Kes 1000/- a month (USD $ 10). It was rigorous and back-breaking work.

When my aunt approached me to accompany her to Nanyuki, I naively imagined that life would be rosy; but was soon puzzled as to why my ‘dear auntie’ began treating me the way she did after I complained to her about the enormous workload. My aunt, annoyed, then beat me unconscious, locking me in a room for two days without food/water.

I managed to run away to a friend who ‘worked’ in Nanyuki’s 'red light’ street.

Another chapter opened - I am now a prostitute!” Gatwiri smiled to an astonished CHAT nurse.

Gatwiri’s friend introduced her to a new life of “money without sweat”’ as she put it - a life where she makes money effortlessly, sometimes as much, or even more than what she was earning per month - in just one night!

“What with the big spending foreign soldiers and our own army soldiers, who number in thousands - and not forgetting that Nanyuki is a popular tourist destination - all good for ‘businesses! And provides me with a much needed refuge away from that cruel harridan of an aunt!”

“I have perfected the art of prostitution. Sex work’ is my permanent source of income - affording my own rent in the neighboring Majengo slum.

I was a timid innocent girl, but currently I am now a hardened night lady who not only will sell sex, but also indulge in drug abuse - and I have also terminated several pregnancies,” Gatwiri comments.

“This way of life brings with it challenges such as being used without payment for my services by ‘macho men’ - being raped and dumped, often mostly late at night; being assaulted, or arrested for loitering by security personnel whose main motive is often to extort money from me, or give them free sex – sometimes in gangs!  Nonetheless, there seems to be no turning back as much as I want to. I don’t have another way of making money – and anyway, I feel like society would not accept me back to allow me to lead a normal life,” she says.

“I can attest that Gatwiri detests being what she is today. She never dreamed she would end up like this – selling sex;  but she does manage to feed, clothe herself and pay for her one shack ” CHAT's mobiliser, Rosie, confirms.

“I learnt about CHAT services from a friend” says Gatwiri, “Out of curiosity, I visited Rosie, when she counseled me about the different FP options I realized a sense of freedom!

Rosie discussed risk factors associated with my lifestyle – STIs and HIV/AIDS. I thank God that I had not contracted HIV /AIDS (as far as I know) which my peers and I in this business regard so casually - that AIDS is “just another accident” but is actually serious concern causing fear and dread,” Gatwiri laments.

And hey, this might surprise you but I am getting married and will invite CHAT team for my wedding - I feel I am  here today because  they opened my eyes so much -I really appreciate the knowledge and sensitivity they shared with me,” Gatwiri smiles as she leaves the clinic.

CHAT reached 15,938 individuals with fp/ecological awareness information, of which a total of 1,609 patients were treated for different conditions; 7,448 women chose different FP contraception methods in 10 counties where CHAT operates in the last three(3) months.

Did you know Kenya has the highest unskilled abortion rate (46%) worldwide.

May 27, 2017

Kenyan young Girls/Women embrace Family Planning services

CHAT's STRATEGIES
CHAT's STRATEGIES

CHAT mobilisers have noted that in the Nanyuki-slums in Laikipia County, increasing numbers of school girls are seeking out fp services which are made available by CHAT in partnership with the Ministry of Health (MOH) and community own resource person (CORP) mobiliser i.e Rose.  

Nanyuki is a fast growing garrison town frequented by an increasing number of commercial sex workers. Some school going girls discreetly engage in this vice during holidays leading to unwanted pregnancies. Rose met a 32 year old woman and her 16 year old teenage daughter, Belinda*, who had given birth last year whilst in Form two.

Belinda dropped out of school after giving birth to take care of her new born - increasing the number of mouths to be fed in her family to nine! Belinda chose a long lasting contraception method - hoping this will last her for at least 3 – 5 years this enabling her to continue her studies.

“As a family, we decided for Belinda to access FP because we want her to complete her education then find a job. We do not want her to get pregnant yet again,’ said her mother Wanjiku* who bears the responsibility of taking care of her grandchild, a huge responsibility in these lean times.

Rose liased with a MOH nurse who accompanies her at times whilst providing door to door integrated FP/ecological awareness sensitisation in the slums around Nanyuki town.

After running several tests, Belinda eventually chose a 5 year long term contraception method thus enabling her to eventually complete school, achieve her goals and dreams in life - and prevent expensive unwanted pregnancies or worse such as a fatal abortion - as was the case of some of her friends.

“Availability of reproductive health services and contraception’s is one of the key factors that we need to address in order to become sustainable and prosperous, therefore many young women and girls, like me, need to fully embrace it. I am now happy that I will not disappoint my family again as I will now complete my education and make my parents and community proud’ said Monica - another school girl speaking to the mobiliser in Majengo slum – another Nanyuki slum

“This is why CHAT, in partnership with MoH and CORPs - like me - are working closely to ensure that availability of these vital FP services reach the needy young women and girls like Belinda; it’s one of the key factors that developing countries like Kenya need to address in order to become sustainable and prosperous. We need also to embrace FP services for it is not only a universal need but also a basic human right as rapid population growth is at the center of many of the Kenya’s (and the world’s) pressing environmental, economic and security problems...” The FPCORP affirmed.

Belinda’s family was very grateful to the MOH nurse for accompanying the CORP mobiliser and especially appreciated the donor and CHAT.

Between Feb-Apr.2017, thanks to your donations- that contributed to helping CHAT reach 18,063 individuals with family planning/ ecological awareness information and a total of 6,655 clients were able to access different FP contraception methods of their choice.

“We need to recognise that slowing population growth as one of the most cost-effective and reliable ways of easing pressure on our environment and securing a sustainable future for us all,”

Lionel Shriver

Beneficiary receiving services via back pack nurse
Beneficiary receiving services via back pack nurse
May 24, 2017

CHAT's Quarterly Global Giving Report 2017

CHAT's INNOVATIVE STRATEGIES
CHAT's INNOVATIVE STRATEGIES

CHAT had a wonderful surprise when were given a grant from GlobalGiving (GG ) in January 2017 totaling £15000

With this grant CHAT’s priority is to reach underserved marginalized and in this case ‘forgotten’ peoples in Tharaka Nithi County - one of the smallest counties in Kenya, located from the eastern slopes of Mt Kenya and stretching down through a semi-arid environment to the Tana River. (A county infamous for endless health worker strikes resulting in desperate suffering!). CHAT implemented a 11 days motor mobile clinic to provide integrate services, focusing on providing access to family planning (FP) services whilst using a Population Health and Environment (PHE) approach. CHAT also provided Basic Curative treatment.

 Consisting of 1 nurse and 1 driver who camped out, the team worked alongside 3 community own resource persons (CORPs) who went ahead providing door to door mobilization  including FP/ecological awareness and sensitization., referring them to the mobile clinic where necessary.

An overwhelming demand for FP contraception was proven when the clinic began receiving clients that were risking their lives crossing a swelling Tana River - from neighboring sub county Mwingi North in Kitui county.

CHAT’s small team with only one nurse was able to reach:

  • 859 individuals mobilized and sensitized on fp encompassing ecological information
  • 577 women clients received different FP contraception methods of their choice - the most popular being long acting contraception where 355 implants inserted.
  • 101 patients treated for different conditions including but not limited to UTI, arthritis, URTI and diarrhea.
  • Although it was school holidays, CHAT also distributed 200 reusable sanitary towels made and donated from Canada.

Conclusively the above achievements were leaving many individuals – especially women - with an unmet need for FP contraception and desperate for other medical treatment.

The county reports a high percentage of unmet needs for family planning - 52% according to a survey done by the county in 2013; but CHAT believes this is higher – going from their own experience.

With the remaining funds which is £8198 - CHAT continues to supporting the work of 3 Back Pack CORPS to do their door to door FP/ecological awareness sensitization until July 2017 – and when the situation is safer CHAT plans to implement a 3 week camel mobile – possibly in September17. This is Kenya’s ‘election year’ which can experience explosive dynamics in many parts of the country – so CHAT tries to plan around these.

CASE STORY

“Being married at 12 years old in 2013 and now with 5 children, I wish I had known about and been able to access FP years ago. Actually, am from Kinna area and my children and I settled here 3 years ago seeking refuge, after the Borana community raided our homestead killing some of my neighbors and leaving many of my friends wounded, including my husband who is currently in a wheelchair as a result of being cut by machetes. Here I am today with nothing but pain - I don’t know who to turn to, or where to go,” Gacheri* narrates.

“I met with Makena while she was mobilizing for FP services and decided to visit the clinic to enquire further. I believe that with access to the sort of information Makena is sharing can mend so much of our suffering,” Gacheri explains - hopefully to the nurse. 

The nurse counseled her about the different FP methods - after some more tests the nurse noted that the any contraception method would be suitable for her and she opted for the three yrs. Implants as her FP method of choice.

“During famine, we experience weakness & some lives lost & orphaned. Organizations bring support especially food, but they don’t realized the root cause of our problem. Accessible FP provides a solution - thank you, ‘yellow team’, for this life saving opportunity! I believe by embracing FP maybe we will improve on conserving the environment with our children having a chance to a better life!” Gacheri lamented.

“It’s proven that when contraception use increases, countries will have higher economic growth, less dependent on foreign aid, more girls continue their education, become more stable, secure and have less gender inequality” CHAT nurse, Sarah, explained waving to the community as the motor mobile departed.

The communities especially requested we convey their enormous gratitude to the donor.

 

CHAT Team distributing reusable sanitary towels
CHAT Team distributing reusable sanitary towels
PHE Strategy Approach
PHE Strategy Approach
CHAT Nurse providing FP services to Makena
CHAT Nurse providing FP services to Makena
 
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