1000 Kibera slum girls empowered to excel

by POLYCOM DEVELOPMENT PROJECT
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1000 Kibera slum girls empowered to excel
1000 Kibera slum girls empowered to excel
1000 Kibera slum girls empowered to excel
1000 Kibera slum girls empowered to excel
1000 Kibera slum girls empowered to excel
1000 Kibera slum girls empowered to excel
1000 Kibera slum girls empowered to excel
1000 Kibera slum girls empowered to excel
1000 Kibera slum girls empowered to excel
1000 Kibera slum girls empowered to excel
1000 Kibera slum girls empowered to excel
The pads we make
The pads we make

"I had always struggled to access pads or even tissuer to use during my period, mostly I would use rugs or cut a piece from my parents matress, my periods have always brought alot of psychological suffering to me. One time it started while in class, I was scared, I didn't know what to do I was also too scared to tell the teacher or even my friends, I had never talked about my monthly period with anyone. During breaktime, I waited until everyone had left, sneeked and picked the rug that was used to clean the blackboad, I then went to the toiled and use it to secure myself. It was a little late though, my skirt had been stained so I have to turn the back part to my side, I was so scared throughout the day. I ca't believe that this is a problem of the past, that I dont worry at all about my period and that I am not scared, thank you Polycom for my pads.

This is just one of the many stories we receive from the girls living in Kibera through the Talking Boxes Platform. A well wisher, our donor through GlobalGiving Lois Harris from Australia has managed to support Polycom Development Project in putting up a Pads Factory in Kibera, We have been able to find a solution to period poverty for more than 2000 girls in Kibera every month.

A special appreciation to Lois and all donors who have been able to support our woek in Kibera and beyond. We are looking forward to opening doors for the first every Goodwill store in Kenya to reduce poverty among adolescent girls in Kibera to reduce their vulnerability. More about out work on www.polycomgirls.or.ke.

The Pads Factory
The Pads Factory
Girls with dignity kits
Girls with dignity kits

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2020 has been an interesting year all around the world. As Polycom team we never relented in our work in the field. Despite the pandemic we stood tall and voiced our concerns for women and girls in informal settlements.

World Urban Forum 10-2020

Polycom Development Project as the Chair of SDG 11 on Safe, Resilient and Sustainable cities under the SDG Kenya Forum participated in the 10th World Urban Forum (WUF 10). The event took place in Abu Dhabi from 8-13 February 2020 with over 13,000 participants from around the world. Polycom in collaboration with Huairou Commission hosted a networking event which attracted 45 participants.

6TH SESSION OF THE AFRICA REGIONAL FORUM ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

In collaboration with Global Call to Action Against Poverty GCAP, Polycom attended the 6th session of the African Regional Forum on Sustainable Development in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe from 24th to 27th February, 2020. Under the Leave No Women Behind, Jane Adhiambo Ndenga of ANDY represented women with disabilities living in Kenyan slums, she shared the challenges faced by women living with disabilities in Kenya and presented their demands for action.

BEIJING+25 ‘QUEENS’ – PROMOTING GENERATION EQUALITY

As the world celebrates 25 years since the Women Conference in Beijing China, Polycom noticed absence of young women and adolescent girls voices in the Review Paper and approached Womankind to support in filling the gap. The eight month long project that focused on mentoring girls aged 18 to 25 years was wrapped up in 2020. During the project period, some Queens were sponsored to attend the Beijing platform for Action Africa Review Conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in October 2019, they were able to attend the International Conference on Population Development- ICPD25 in November 2019, The Adolescent Girls Conference on SRH among many other platforms. Some of the young women mobilized are currently mentors to adolescent girls, as they ensure that their voices as young women remain vital in Women Rights Conversations.

THE PADS FACTORY CONTINUE TO CHANGE LIVES

POLYCOM started making disposable sanitary towels IN 2019, the pads are distributed freely to the adolescent girls, thanks to Lois Harris who has made this dream come true for us by fully funding the project so Kibera Women and Girls can access sanitary towels with no worries; and that the women working in the company are taken care of. Young women are happy to mentor the adolescent especially during this covid 19 period. Long live Kibera Pad Company.

IT IS PARTNERSHIP FOR GIRLS – THANKS CATHERINE MUMMA

As COVID made life tougher for girls in the slums, a friend to Polycom Development Project, Mrs Catherine Mumma reached out to The Nairobi County Women Representative, Hon Esther Passaris who donated sanitary towels in April 2020, to Polycom Development for distribution This was a kind gesture that was taken with great gratitude from the Organization and the adolescent girls.

TOGETHER WE FIGHT COVID 19

During the COVID 19 season, times have become unbearable for most locals in Kibera

POLYCOM was among the organizations who received support from UWEZA Foundation and UN Women to train, equip and mentor 10 women to make masks and distribute to community members, including the school children when schools opened. The women are now skilled and connected to Kenya Tailors Association for more empowerment.

Other partners donated, food stuff, water barrels, detergents, handwashing stations, just to mention but a few. We continue to enjoy this great partnerships, feel welcome.

GPENDE WELLNESS

Polycom started exercises and mental healthcare in June through support from Vital Voices, the project has grown into a continuous staff mentorship and self-care especially during the pandemic. The project is focusing on creating awareness on various aspects of health both psychological and physical.

HIGH LEVEL POLITICAL FORUM (HLPF)

2020 witnessed a virtual High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) on Sustainable Development. POLYCOM was among the few organizations invited to witness the live virtual event when Kenya was making her presentation. We as Polycom are proud to be leading SDG 11 that seeks to make cities inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable.

TEENAGE MUMS

In response to the rising numbers of teenage pregnancies POLYCOM started mobilizing and mentoring these mums. An awareness creation program dubbed “LindaBINTI” was as well launched in collaboration with Woman’s Hope.

 

COMMUNITY RESILIENCE PROGRAMS

Through the SIDA/Huairou commission’s Community Resilience fund, Polycom was able to establish learning gardens, rehabilitate land by refilling quarry mines and planting trees, support community land committee and organize various stakeholders Assemblies. Women have been supported to take part in public participation and Local to Local Dialogues.

SEXTORTION

Polycom Development and Umande Trust have teamed up to run a campaign on sex for water within Kibera Slums. The overall project objective is to contribute to a reduction in the water and sanitation related sexual exploitation of women and girls in informal settlements.

FOR ADOLESCENT GIRLS

Pink Energy of Kenya Electricity Generating Company; Through support from UNFPA, conducted a session to enhance their role in promotion of gender equality and empowerment of women and girls on areas of Sexual Reproductive Health Rights and Female Genital mutilation.

Womankind Mentorship: Polycom continue to map sexual harassment of adolescent girls through the Talking Boxes. Contents will support a policy paper for advocacy purpose.

UNFPA Mentorship: When school closed the only place where girls could access a SAFE SPACE is at Polycom Development Project, through UNFPA’s support, Polycom reached over 7000 adolescent girls between March and December 2020.

Boys Forums: There can never be a complete society without conversations with boys/men, Polycom organized forums for over 300 boys lead by young men. This was a real milestone for the year 2020.

Teachers Forums: The schools were closed, but Polycom saw the need of engaging teachers as watchdogs for the children especially welfare, several forums engaged the teachers in the conversations.

5TH URBAN THINKERS CAMPUS

For the 5th year running, Polycom led local partners namely, Winam Grassroots, MLAHRA, Rural Women Network, Shibuye Community Health Workers, and other partners under the banner of Huairou Commission to host Wamama Tunauwezo 5 in Kisumu City. This is in preparations for meaningful engagement during the upcoming AfriCities Summit in 2021. This year’s campus was graced by Cabinet Secretary in The Ministry of Devolution and ASAL’s, Hon. Eugene Wamalwa.

PUBLIC/NETWORKING EVENTS

International Womens Day 2020: On 8th March the International Women’s Day,POLYCOM hosted a National Radio Station live with women from various slum settlements and the local leaders to discuss Leaving No Woman Behind. Significantly present, was a member of the County Assembly, and a representative from the Parliamentary Caucus on SDGs.

Global Action Day: Led by women with disabilities, Polycom hosted and outdoor event on 25th September to share the Charter of demands. 

International Day of the Girlchild: On 11th October, the International Day of the Girlchild, Polycom hosted a girls talk led by the Mentors/Queens, a pledge was shared on girls talking responsibility of their actions.

16 Days of Activism 2020: It was 16for16 as Polycom embarked on a 16 day spree to address and create awareness on various forms of GBV. Polycom collaborated with over 43 civil society organizations

The Murals: In partnership with Amani Kibera and SDG Kenya Forum Polycom has painted murals to create awareness on the SDGs and Gender Based Violence. SDGs in focus mostly is SDG 5 and SDG 11.

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Women are affected more than men by the social and economic effects of infectious-disease outbreaks. They bear the brunt of care responsibilities as schools close and family members fall ill. They are at greater risk of domestic violence and are disproportionately disadvantaged by reduced access to sexual- and reproductive-health services. With the current Pandemic, schools have been closed and various countries and states have put in place measures to prevent more damage.

It is however unknown when lives will go back to normal and all projects and activities have to be adjusted to reduce the risk of infection as well as comply with government regulations. As an organisation partnering with schools, we have had girls walk into our offices helpless, because here in Kibera, schools serve as a safe space, a space where atleast adolescent girls or children can atleast get one meal a day, maybe water and access to a toilet. with schools closed and teenage pregnancies on the rise, parents and guardians loosing their jobs and levels of depression high, gils have been left vulnerable. This project has aided in providing for 40 pregnant teenagers basic necessities including, soap, sanitizers and meals as well as provision of sanitary towels to 3000 adolescent girls. 

Even as we strive to serve the community, the current pandemic has had impact on individual lives and therefore the mental health wellness sessions for staff to better aid our interventions and profesionalism and overally to serve better. You have helped lift a fraction of weight from a vulnerable girl!

 

Asante!

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The Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action of 1995 is the most ambitious road map for the empowerment of women and girls everywhere. In 2020, it will be 25 years since the Beijing Platform for Action set strategic objectives and actions for the achievement of gender equality in 12 critical areas of concern.

The Beijing+25 Regional Review Meeting provided a forum for UNECE member States to review progress and identify challenges in the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action. The meeting was held on 29-30 October 2019 in the Palais des Nations, Geneva, and was jointly organized by UNECE and the UN Women Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia.

The regional review and appraisal of the implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the outcomes of the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly is happening in the context of preparations for the global Beijing+25 review in 2020. The review also included an assessment of current challenges that affect the implementation of the Platform for Action and the achievement of gender equality and the empowerment of women and its contribution towards the full realization of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

50 Young women have been recruited and trained on what Beijing and the Beijing Platform of Action is all about. The young women aged 19 – 25 years were taken through Beijing Platform for Action’s 12 critical areas for review. An action plan on how to engage going forward was developed. They committed to be vigilant and work closely with other stakeholders to ensure that their voices and that of the adolescent girls are included in the review structures. The girls decided to brand themselves as “Beijing +25 Queens” for visibility and publicity as the review year comes in 2020. 12 stories of young women born after Beijing and have come from far to be the people they are today, have been collected awaiting publication. There was a meeting with the Beijing +25Queens to decide on who has an interesting story to tell, this was followed by one on one consultation with the writers and the counsellor for briefings and psycho social support where necessary. The youngwomen drafted the stories which are currently being polished by the Editor for publishing once they are ready.

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ICPD in the community
ICPD in the community

Where is the slum she?  This is the question various stakeholders and policy makers need to ask. Is she a third party or is actively involved in discussions and engagements such as the ICPD? Adolescent girls and women of all ages are often left behind in discussions around their wellbeing especially if they come from under privileged background. Since Kenya and other 178 countries adopted program of Action (PoA) during ICPD summit in Cairo 25 years ago, a little progress has been realized in the set the businesses while other businesses have not been worked on. There is still a need to take transformed action and link between SDGs and ICPD goals to end poverty, address human rights, and access to universal health coverage including sexual reproductive health. In the days leading up to the main ICPD event in Kenya ( Kenyatta International Convention Centre), a 2 day Pre- ICPD event was held in Kibera. The first was held on 4th for the adolescent girls and the 2nd one on 5th for the women in Kibera.

 

ACTIVITY GOAL

Ensuring that Adolescent girls and women of all ages from the informal settlements are not left behind in accelerating the ICPD promise.

Target Populations: Adolescent girls and women from 5 informal settlements in Kenya.

Project Objectives

  1. To contribute to reduction of early pregnancies among school going girls.
  2. To provide relevant information on SRH through life skill and access to safe spaces
  3. Come up with sustainable relevant solutions to daily challenges affecting the lives of adolescent girls.
  4. To identify the progress made since the discussion in Cairo, identify the gaps and make commitments of achieving the said gaps

Highlights for the Events

Discussions on SRH and Harassment

Sexual harassment cases have been increased. PDP has been with 50 schools in the slums and have introduced talking boxes where girls share through unanimous notes. Many of those notes are about sexual harassment. Women to work hand in hand to support children’s rights

Commitments by stakeholders

Assistant County Commissioner –Kibra Sub County working with the government together with NGOs and CBOs in Kibra towards the implementation and achievement of the principles and goals of the ICPD Programme of Action. They that are looking forward to working with Civil Societies and other partners on these important achievements of the ICPD Agenda and further promote the global development agenda.

UNFPA Executive Director said - As women and girls celebrate the remarkable progress women have realized advancing their rights to health, though some women in some areas have no opportunity of accessing this kind of right, efforts must be doubled to reach those who have not yet benefited from the promise of the ICPD. She informed the women about the upcoming Nairobi Summit Event which is going to help us rally a broad coalition of stakeholders to protect the gains made and advance the ICPD agenda to ensure that no one is left behind.”

Discussions around Mental health

As we empower AGYW to take control of their lives, it must be remembered that some issues are as a result of mental health. Women and girls cannot be healthy without mental health. Just months before ICPD there is several adolescent girls who took their lives. A mental health specialist was engaged to facilitate and talk to the adolescent girls and women to promote their health. The session had a comprehensive discussion on SRH, mental health and the ICPD25 key pillars. On mental health the girls were taken through the different types of mental health that affects all girls at that age group. They were guided on different forms of mental health how to approach them and attend o them in case they or their friends are experiencing it. On Sexual Reproductive Health conversation there was a discussion on avoiding sexual activity during the holidays. On the ICPD 25 the girls were empowered on right to education, sexual health, early marriages and attaining equal rights.

Panel discussions - Understanding of ICPD 25

Since ICPD conversation in the year 1994, the government has made equally important strides in many other areas like our fight against HIV/AIDS. Not completely there yet, but visibly the HIV landscape is definitely not what it used to be. Women are still looking forward to the government to help fight Cancer disease.

Many girls are attending schools since the introduction of free primary education. Some the Adolescent girls from some communities are married off by the age of 18 due to lack of school fees to continue with their studies or due to cultural activities.

Empowered women who can access free health facilities like AMREF, Medicine San Frontiers, CDC do so while other women who are not yet empowered and are far from such facilities are still unable to meet their family planning needs. Others are still practicing harmful cultural practices.

One in three women are affected by sexual and gender-based violence. Others are killed by their spouse. So many women have been killed in the slums by their spouse raising up the number of orphans.

Sexual harassment cases have been increased. PDP has been with 50 schools in the slums and have introduced talking boxes where girls share through unanimous notes. Many of those notes are about sexual harassment. Women to work hand in hand to support children’s rights

People living with disabilities, their situation is improved, elevators and lifts, preserved parking areas, isolated toilets, special tags for identification provide to PWD’s “I live with disabilities” e.g. am blind, am deaf,

Crisis, poverty and discrimination continue to put basic sexual and reproductive health care out of reach for far too many women and girls. Leaders will convene to reaffirm that sustainable development and the full realization human rights depend on making sure they have it. No matter their circumstances

Women and girls who missed out their education before, the government is providing Adult education for all. Women and girls are able access affordable education and are able to sit for the same government examination. This will improve women’s literacy level and access to information at the right time.

ANNEXES

        i.            List of Participants/attendance list

       ii.            Program/timetable for the event.

     iii.            Supporting financial documents

Conclusion

Participation of the community in the ICPD 25 is a clear acceleration of the promise to the highest urban population, a powerful component of inclusion.

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Organization Information

POLYCOM DEVELOPMENT PROJECT

Location: NAIROBI - Kenya
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @polycomdev.org
Project Leader:
JANE ANYANGO ODONGO
NAIROBI, NAIROBI Kenya
$51,129 raised of $55,000 goal
 
1,242 donations
$3,871 to go
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