Champion Her Right to an Education

by ZanaAfrica Foundation
Champion Her Right to an Education
Champion Her Right to an Education
Champion Her Right to an Education
Champion Her Right to an Education
Champion Her Right to an Education
Champion Her Right to an Education
Champion Her Right to an Education
Champion Her Right to an Education
Champion Her Right to an Education
Champion Her Right to an Education
Our team & Partners at the Jan 25th Workshop
Our team & Partners at the Jan 25th Workshop

Dear Friends, 

This first quarter has been truly incredible for ZanaAfrica, and we have so many special updates to share with you! 

On January 25th, we welcomed our community-based partners in Nairobi for a two-day workshop and pad distribution to support 10,000 schoolgirls across Kenya. The workshop included a deep dive into measurement and evaluation, which resulted in the launch of a new survey to measure our shared impact. With our Partners, we developed an in-depth qualitative questionnaire to be completed by over 1,000 schoolgirls to further evaluate our programs. As all of our work is centered on the feedback we receive from girls, we're excited to share results with you in the coming months! We’re hopeful that the information we gather will improve our programs as we deepen our holistic interventions with girls and communities in 2018.

In February, we were thrilled to have the team from Cora join us in Kenya! As a modern period company, Cora offers 100% organic tampons to women in the U.S., while providing pads to girls in need for every product sold. Like us, they believe “that time of the month” should never be a source of shame, harm, or uncertainty. And, they harness the power of business to fight for gender equality in Kenya, India, and in the U.S. We're thrilled to announce that for every month’s supply of Cora you purchase through Amazon.com and Target, starting April 15, Cora will donate a percentage of its profits to support our work. And there’s more! On International Women’s Day we introduced the Fearless Necklace by Cora! For every necklace sold, Cora will provide a year’s supply of pads to girls in Kenya through our program. Check out the necklace here, it holds a single non-applicator tampon! 

Some other fabulous February updates:

  • Princeton Students for Gender Equality hosted a week-long Period Palooza to celebrate and broaden the menstrual equity movement among Princeton’s student body. On February 15th, our very own Alison Nakamura Netter joined period activist Cass Clemmer, Creator of Toni the Tampon, Jarrad Aguirre of Myovant Sciences, and Eudora Olsen from PERIOD, for a panel discussion on the menstrual movement and the importance of expanding access to period products for all people who menstruate. Read more about the panel in The Daily Princetonian!
  • ZanaAfrica earned the Gold GuideStar USA #NonprofitProfile Seal of Transparency! GuideStar USA, Inc. is an information service specializing in reporting on U.S. nonprofit companies. Check out our Gold Star Profile here! 

And last, but definitely not least, our research study, The Nia Project, is now in its third term! Kilifi County is one of the most disadvantaged regions of Kenya and where The Nia Project operates. In 2017, Kilifi recorded the highest rates of teenage pregnancy, child marriage, severe incidences of sexual abuse by older men, and significant rates of child-to-child sexual abuse—indicating a dire need for rights-based reproductive health education at the community level. The Nia Project places a strong emphasis on girls’ education and empowerment among a range of stakeholders, including parents like Eunice. By connecting girls to after-school mentors and our Nia Teen magazine and Nia Yetu curriculum, we aim to keep girls safe in supportive communities where they can thrive.

While the results of The Nia Project will be published in 2019, we are already seeing positive results:

  • Teachers are reporting improved school attendance and performance.
  • Parents feel uplifted knowing that their daughters have the pads, underwear, and the education they need and deserve. 
  • Girls are expressing increased confidence, self-esteem, and excitement for their futures. 

“I can now concentrate in class. I am no longer worried about staining my uniform. I feel that I can now set goals in life.” – Joyce, age 13 

I hope that you will help us continue this critical work. By taking additional action today and increasing your support, you can help us build on our existing initiatives and ensure that girls have a choice in determining their futures. We know that when girls thrive, communities thrive. And with the recent launch of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s $170M global plan to fund women's equality, the spotlight on women's and girls’ empowerment is shining brighter than ever before. 

Let's take action together so that every girl can live her purpose!

 

Grateful for you, 

Alison & the entire ZanaAfrica Team 

Co-Founder of Cora, Molly Hayward, in Kenya!
Co-Founder of Cora, Molly Hayward, in Kenya!
Me & my fellow period activists at Period Palooza!
Me & my fellow period activists at Period Palooza!
ZanaAfrica's Gold GuideStar Seal of Transparency!
ZanaAfrica's Gold GuideStar Seal of Transparency!
One of our beneficiaries with a pack of Nia pads!
One of our beneficiaries with a pack of Nia pads!
The Nia Project team in Kilifi, Kenya.
The Nia Project team in Kilifi, Kenya.
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Dear Friends,

We hope you had a wonderful holiday season and a Happy New Year! As we enter 2018 and reflect on this past year, we are thrilled to share ZanaAfrica's 2017 Impact Report with you! We hope it sheds light on how your support has helped to advance the rights and needs of adolescent girls in Kenya. 

We are sincere in saying that we could not do any of this work without your financial support. Each donation, small or large, makes a profound difference in the lives of girls and helps us to create a more equitable world.

For all that you've done and continue to do to uplift the rights of girls, we thank you. To show you how much your support means, we are delighted to share this special message from a very special girl! Yvonne is one of the girls we serve through Fountain Youth Initiative, a community-based organization that operates in Nairobi and Busia County. It warms our hearts to hear from girls like Yvonne, because we believe that nothing should stand in the way of a girl reaching her potential. 

Thank you for believing with us, and please help us do even more in 2018!

Your additional support this year will expand access to pads and reproductive health education so girls across Kenya can thrive. Such a simple gift makes such a profound difference in the life of an adolescent girl. Together, we can make this the best year yet! 

 

With deepest gratitude,

Alison and the entire ZanaAfrica Team


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The 3rd issue of Nia Teen is hot off the press!
The 3rd issue of Nia Teen is hot off the press!

Dear Friends, 

Thanks to you and all of our amazing supporters, the fall has already been deeply impactful! We are thrilled to share that we have launched our 3rd issue of Nia Teen magazine, and that we also held our final community-strengthening program of the year. 

Self Love. Self Respect. Self Worth. Voice. Choice. Agency.This is the theme of our 3rd issue of Nia Teen, and our pilot issue is hot off the press! This issue not only emphasizes the importance of self-love, but also covers the importance of finding your voice in the context of power-dynamics, gender-based violence, and assault. We teach girls that assault and disrespect are never acceptable, and offer guidance on consent, reporting abuse, and seeking support from safe people.

Girls are at the center of everything we do. That's why we test our magazine content among the girls we serve, to ensure we’re providing the relevant information that girls seek and need during adolescence. With our partner, Fountain Youth Initiative, we shared issue 3 among 200 primary schoolgirls in Nairobi in Septemeber. Based on feedback gathered from this distribution, we will finalize the content of issue 3 within this next month before distributing it in January to 3,000 girls in our seminal research study, The Nia Project.

In other news, thanks to our longtime partner, The PaperSeed Foundation, we hosted an amazing two-day workshop with our 14 community-based partners in Nairobi on Septmeber 14th and 15th, where we strengthened our shared interventions to help girls stay in school and thrive. We also distributed sanitary pads to reach 10,000 marginalized girls this school term. It was thrilling to hear from our partners about how access to pads, rights-based health education, and safe people, has positively impacted the lives of girls in their communities.

As a result of our interventions, our partners reported: 

•Increased confidence of girls which boosted their grades in school

•Reduced cases of school absenteeism due to menstruation

•Reduced taboo surrounding menstrual hygiene in schools

•Reduced cases of teen pregnancies and subsequent child marriage 

•Reduced cases of infections caused by unsanitary alternatives to pads

These are just a few examples of why our holistic interventions and community-based solutions are so critical to girls’ development. We are deeply honored to help girls safely and confidently navigate puberty, and we thank you for your enduring support. Thank you for everything you do!

Warm regards, 

Alison 

Our amazing community-based partners!
Our amazing community-based partners!
Schoolgirls in Nairobi checking out Nia Teen #3!
Schoolgirls in Nairobi checking out Nia Teen #3!
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Dear Friends,

Progress is happening for adolescent girls! On June 22nd, Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta passed a law to ensure free sanitary pads for all schoolgirls. With our support, starting in 2010, the Government of Kenya was the first country to write sanitary pads into the national education budget, making them as essential as other school items like pencils and notebooks. And with this policy amendment, the provision of pads is not just a budget item that can be cut, but a law. We are hopeful that this initiative will roll out successfully, and we will continue to fill in any gaps as needed. 

In other news, on June 19th, with our partners, The Population Council, we officially launched the Nia Project! This two-year study involves 5,000 adolescent girls currently in Class 7 across 140 primary schools in three sub-counties of Kilifi, Kenya. It is designed to determine the degree to which providing girls with reproductive health education (our Nia Teen magazines) and menstrual hygiene products positively impacts their education, health, and safety. This is the FIRST rigorously evaluated study to provide longitudinal evidence regarding a) Primary school completion and Primary School performance and b) improvement of health and safety outcomes as defined by reduction of unwanted sex, delay of early pregnancies, and increased reporting of gender-based violence. 

The study will evaluate the individual and combined impact of sanitary pad distribution and reproductive health education on these two axes of evaluation. Evidence from The Nia Project will lay the foundation for future action and study on menstrual health management, and school-based reproductive health education. These results will represent a major step forward in the quality of evidence on approaches to improve the health, education, and social outcomes of adolescent girls in Kenya. We are inextricably excited and honored to walk with 5,000 girls on this journey!

Lastly, we presented our work at the 2017 Society for Menstrual Cycle Research Conference in Atlanta on June 23rd! It was wonderful to unite with our fellow menstrual health and equity advocates from around the world. This is truly a GLOBAL movement and we're thrilled to be a part of it.

I have attached a photo of some of our beneficiaries enjoying their copy of Nia Teen magazine, as well as a photo from the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research Conference!

Thank you, as always, for your support. We could not do this work without you!

 

Warmly,

Alison

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Understanding Respect Lesson from Nia Teen
Understanding Respect Lesson from Nia Teen

Dear Friends,

We’ve been busy since our last update in December! Over the past four months we have been tirelessly working to expand access to sanitary pads and health education for adolescent girls in Kenya. 

Here’s how: 

In February, we convened all of our 14 community-based partners in Nairobi to conduct a three-day community-strengthening workshop, and to distribute sanitary pads to serve 10,000 girls. This was the first of two trainings that will be held for our partners this year. 

In addition to convening our partners to share best practices, challenges, and successes in their work with girls, we listened deeply to their needs to better understand how we can best serve their communities. It was a great three days of learning, listening, and service. We’re now taking those learnings to deepen our programming over the years to come. 

In other exciting news, issue #2 of Nia Teen magazine is fully underway. Over the next few months, we’ll be iteratively testing content to gain insights from the girls we serve. Though it’s not final yet, we’ll cover topics like puberty, reproduction, and periods, all delivered in a fun, body-positive, and engaging way. In it you’ll find comic-style illustrations on bodily changes, how pregnancy happens, and inspiring interviews with real girls (and boys!). 

Last and definitely not least, we’ve been gearing up for the launch of our randomized controlled trial, which is kicking off in May 2017 in Kilifi, Kenya. This study will include nearly 5,000 girls and will examine the extent to which sanitary pads and health education can improve girls’ overall wellbeing.  We’ll examine not only improvements in school attendance, but school performance, matriculation to secondary school, reproductive health behavior, and self-determination. 

This will be the largest study of its kind ever conducted in East Africa to-date, and we’re thrilled to share our progress with you!

As always, thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for believing that menstruation matters and being a champion for girls!

 

With gratitude, 

Alison

Respect Yourself Lesson from Nia Teen
Respect Yourself Lesson from Nia Teen
Picture from our Partnership Meeting in Nairobi!
Picture from our Partnership Meeting in Nairobi!
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Organization Information

ZanaAfrica Foundation

Location: Washington, DC - USA
Website:
Twitter: @ZanaAfrica
Project Leader:
Alison Nakamura Netter
New York, NY United States

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This project is no longer accepting donations.
 

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