Oct 29, 2018

A Change for Restoration

Effects of deforestration in marginalised areas
Effects of deforestration in marginalised areas

“All I know how to do is burn charcoal. It is my only means of feeding my children that I have.  So when you tell me not to burn charcoal - I do not understand how we will survive. We shall die of hunger!” Naiyantei* wailed. “These people call me Mama Makaa  - that is what they identify me with!” It was clear that she did not understand the relation between the burning of charcoal and the sustainability of the environment for the future.

“I am a single mum of three and whenever I am not doing my coal business I am at home taking care of my children. If I had anything else to do then I would. All the food in my house we buy it. You tell me to plant a tree when I cut down one, what water will that tree grow on? It hardly rains here and when it does it’s never enough.” she continued.

CORP Safina shared that “…its saddening that my people do not know that these trees help bring rain. They only want it to rain and do not know how it can. With that, I have committed to changing Naiyanteis’ mind.”

With knowledge about ecology she had got during her family planning training, Agnes decided to teach Naiyantei how to make charcoal from recycled waste materials including charcoal dust  - remains of charcoal from her business. She also shared with her how to make energy saving jikos for her kitchen. Naiyantei was amazed by all this – most of these materials cost her nothing and were considered ‘waste’ all around her that she could utilize – for free!

Now she’d learnt something new that she could teach her fellow women and truly it was amazing how enthusiastic she was. She now did not have to go scouting for trees that she could use to burn her charcoal anymore. She had more time to spend at home. She was a lady on a mission. Her reception of the information and enthusiasm made CHAT CORP Safina challenge her to planting a tree in her compound and to always pour water from her domestic use on it and see how she was going to manage it till it blooms. Surely she did take up the challenge and within a few months she had a tree at the front of her house. “I have learnt that there are alternative ways to sustain ourselves without destroying the environment.” Naiyantei boasted of her knowledge.

“If ten people could be like Naiyantei and these ten taught another ten each, we would end up restoring our environment. The efforts that these ladies put into learning new stuff that will help them to make their lives better is tremendous and with time I know they shall plant more trees instead of cutting them down! I cannot wait for an ever green rainy Lodokejek!”

To support young girls, their mothers and the community in general, CHAT has in this last quarter reached a total of 35,504 individuals with Family Planning services whilst using a PHE approach in which a total of 13,539 women chose different contraceptives, by far the most popular being long term methods  or 3 or 5 yrs protection

 “To waste, to destroy our natural resources, to skin and exhaust the land instead of using it so as to increase its usefulness, will result in undermining in the days of our children the very prosperity which we ought by right to hand down to them amplified and developed,”  Theodore Roosevelt

CHAT CORP & nurse providing FP & ecology
CHAT CORP & nurse providing FP & ecology
CHAT Camel mobile outreach
CHAT Camel mobile outreach
CHAT motor mobile outreach
CHAT motor mobile outreach
Oct 29, 2018

IN THE NICK OF TIME

Kathambi (beneficiary) receiving FP services
Kathambi (beneficiary) receiving FP services

‘Uuuui uuui mtoto nalia kwa choo! Saidia Mimi!’ Mama Mwende* screamed. People thought the ever drunk old woman was being crazy as usual, but her endless screams prompted the nearby community members to go ascertain if really there was a baby in the pit latrine. True to her word an infant was relentlessly crying due to the harsh conditions down below in the toilet pit. People wondered where the baby could have come from, especially since Mama Mwende was too old to conceive let alone carry a pregnancy to term! From the cooperation of the sympathetic community members the child was retrieved. This was a shock especially since something like that had never happened here before. The biggest question was who was the mother? Soon enough a young girl confided in CORP Karimi her in Tharaka County.

The young girl told Karimi that when she, CORP Karimi, had visited earlier in the year she had chosen the three month injectable contraceptive protection and refused any other method, thinking it would be the most effective in terminating her pregnancy. She, the young girl, had lied saying that she was on her menses and went on to fake it so that she would not be tested for a pregnancy. Kathambi got her depo and went home thinking that now she would not deliver a child at nine months. When she got labor pains she did not understand why - especially since she was sure that when she got injected she had terminated the pregnancy.

When CORP Karimi learnt of this mountain of misunderstanding, she explained to Kathambi* (the young girl) that contraceptives do not terminate pregnancies.

Kathambi had decided to throw the child away and not inform anyone since she was hoping that her parents would take her back to school.

Kathambi was counselled on the use of long-term contraceptives and then choosing a method that would ensure no risk of pregnancy for the next five years.

Many girls around Gaceraka, in Tharaka South, drop out of school due to unwanted pregnancies. Kathambi was a good example that if the young girls were not counselled and their mothers sensitized on the importance of contraceptives it would lead to drastic fatalities.

‘I wish she had told me that she was pregnant; we would have found a solution together. This is tragic- I don’t know what to do!’ Kathambis’ mother regretted.
‘There is a huge need for contraception in this community. The women here do not go to the hospital neither do they have adequate knowledge on the use of contraceptives. It will take a lot of intervention to ensure that they are aware of their right to contraception.’ CHAT’s CORP partner, Karimi explained, and she added “There is this wonderful quote, - “my goal is to know more today about the world than I knew yesterday and lessen the suffering of others”…. you'd be surprised how far that gets you.” - I have known the suffering of the women here and I hope I will help in at least lessening it.”

To support young girls, their mothers and the community in general, CHAT, this last quarter reached a total of 35,504 individuals with holistic Family Planning using a PHE approach, in which a total of 13,539 women chose different usually longer term contraceptive methods.

 “The world today has 6.8 billion people. That’s heading up to about nine billion. Now if we do a really great job on new vaccines, health care, & reproductive health services, we could lower that by perhaps 10 or 15 percent.” Bill Gates

CHAT motor mobile outreach
CHAT motor mobile outreach
CHAT Camel mobile outreach
CHAT Camel mobile outreach
CHAT CORP & nurse providing FP & ecology
CHAT CORP & nurse providing FP & ecology
Aug 7, 2018

WINDS OF CHANGE

CHAT nurse providing FP services to a beneficiary
CHAT nurse providing FP services to a beneficiary

"I always see this car coming here, won’t they finish our women!” exclaimed Mzee Lekonye* as he saw CHAT's motor mobile clinic approach Lorokonyeki- a village deep in the interiors of Samburu County, where indigenous Maa communities live. He could not fathom how other men willingly took their wives to receive those contraception methods that ‘stopped them from having children’ - unlike him, whose wives gave him more children – infact as many as he wanted! His friend, Mzee Lekiloki*, who sat with him as they took some local brew could not believe the kind of sentiments that his friend was sharing.

Mzee Lekiloki had accompanied his two wives a couple of months before choosing the five year protection method - now he was not worried about having more children. He decided to call their ‘village doctor’ Ntoijoni – a CHATs Communities Own Resource Persons (CORP) partner, who had helped him understand the importance of FP resulting in him bringing his wives for FP services. When Ntoijoni came and saw that it was Lekonye she had to counsel, she decided to use the approach easiest to capture his mind. She asked him the number of children that he had and to her surprise ‘mzee’ confirmed that he had four wives and was not really sure if he had 16 or 18 children in total. “Actually, I am unable to feed my family as most of the days, I can only afford one meal per day and at times, can even sleep on empty stomach as there wasn’t enough food for everyone and his wives always decided to feed the children leaving him to eat wherever he was with fellow men,” Mzee further explained.

On learning this, Ntoijoni explained that the larger the family grows, the more food and space this old man was going to need in his manyatta as well as more wealth he would have to distribute to his children once they were old enough for their inheritance. She asked him again whether he would like his family to grow larger than it is and mzee took a huge pause before admitting that he was not wealthy enough to continue growing his family. With this, Ntoijoni was able to explain to him that if he could not afford to enlarge his family then he needed to bring his wives for some contraception as it would help them not conceive thus aiding them in utilizing the little resources that they have.  There and then he went home and came with his wives. They were all counselled together with Mzee and he was able to understand that these contraception methods would not completely make them, his wives, barren - rather they would give them a break and if any of them ever wanted a child again, they could always stop using the contraception. From the look of things the ladies were not ready for another child. Three of his wives chose Jadelles a five year protection and his last wife who felt young went for the Implanon, a three year protection method

With the kind of mentality that Mzee had and the approach that Ntoijoni used, it proved that the right kind of information can change a lot of peoples thinking and that it all does not have to happen at once.  “The community’s perception is going to change client by client to help build a better place for everyone’s survival without working so hard for it. I believe if more men understood the importance of having access to FP - then this is going to be their 'GO TO' for a more resourceful survival” Ntoijoni explained.

In this last quarter CHAT was able to reach a total of 33,769 individuals with Family Planning – this includes a component of ecological awareness information; of which a total of 12,797 women chose different family planning methods; 501 antenatal women attended to and 821 children either immunized or referred for immunization services, 2,636 patients were treated – thus working towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).

Men involvement during FP/PHE sensitization
Men involvement during FP/PHE sensitization
 
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