The girls and young women summit was held at the Good Samaritan Conference Hotel in Kisumu. Girls from Kibera were able to highlight strategically matters that are close to them and get commitments from partners to support them. The event was officially launched by the Director of Gender, Kisumu County, who made an emphasis that GBV, not only affects the poor but also affects the elite in the community. She also highlighted that 1 in every 3 women undergo gender based violence on a regular and encouraged GYW to speak out boldly against GBV. A panel discussion was instigated on the Role of GYW in taking the lead role to drive changes on the issues affecting them.
The girls also discussed how the government is affecting project implementation as follows;
How do they map out spaces for young women?
How are GYW involved in the CIDP making process?
The summit was very strategic in allowing girls acces spaces and have influence in them.
How do GYW challenge social cultural norms?
Are there any She Leads Programs targeting boys?
Do we engage PWDs in our programs?
"I received a report that the girls has attempted suicide twice, she walks around with a rope and has been seen several times under a particular tree." This was reported by one of the teachers during the Teachers meeting. A troubled girl had tried to take her own life while at home and it was suspected that she had planned to do so in school. Polycom hosts meetings every term to listen to teachers and strategize on how to be there for the students, especially girls.
The termly teachers meeting took place on the 16th of September 2022 at Polycom Development Project office from 2:00 pm to 4:30 pm. The meeting was attended by 41 teachers from our partner schools with 8 schools failing to attend due to other commitments. Teachers meeting is always held every term to discuss our achievements as an organization with the school programs, challenges we are facing with the implementation of the program and way forward on how to solve the challenges..
Over the years polycom has made great improvements when it comes to implementation of the school programs. Having conversations with our girls and the teachers from various schools has helped us get feedback on what has worked so well for us and what we need to improve on.
There is need to have more thank one meeting in a term if resources allows.
Menstrual Hygiene day is celebrated on 28th may every year. It’s a chance to highlight the importance of menstrual care, raise awareness about the issues faced by those who do not have access to sanitary products, breaking the taboos associated with menstruation and end the stigma. Polycom Development Project conducted a pad-drive with 8 GYW (Girls and Young Women) by distributing sanitary towels to adolescent girls and young women around kibera.
A total of 450 sanitary towels and 200 panties were successfully distributed accross the county.
Girls and young women were faciitated to conduct a twitter chat on menstrual hygiene the aim was to break the stigma around menstruation, provide access to menstrual health education ,and create the opportunity for all to have access to what they need to effectively manage their periods and also we passionately believe that everyone should have the basic right to menstruate without shame or stigma.
The social media handles to create awareness. Like:
Women, teachers and various stakeholders have attested to a great increase of number of girls who are in school which in the long run has improved their school performance and in the long run boosting the confidence of girls and women. Girls have been able to concentrate in school and be less stressful on matters concerning menstruation.
No one to Talk to.
She has been very quiet and gloomy, she doesnt play with other children and misses school so many time, and she has a bad smell, I have talked to her about taking showers everyday as a girl but I don't see the difference, can you find out what the problem is? Teacher Pretty (Not her real name) was very much concerned about the 12 year old girl. She joined this school 2 years ago and has never enjoyed playing, and shouting like many children her age.
Polycom mentors reached out to the little girl and she opened up. Before she joined this school she was in the village, living with a relative. The relatives wife would leave early every day for the market, the man would then invite her to his bed a defile her, she cannot remember how many times this happened. She was born before her mother got married and she did not take her along when she got married. Her grandmother later took her in and brought her to Kibera, she is too scared to tell her what happened, while in the village, this was in 2020.
The girl has been discharging pus for a long time but she had noone to share with, she has been suffering serious lower abdominal pain which she has never brought herself to share with anyone, this is the reason why she has been missing school and very dull.
From January this year 2022, Polycom has taken a total of 6 girls to the hospital for reproductive health related infections, their panties have been replace and the girls are fairing on well. We are very grateful to the teachers who call us in when the girls are unwell, and for trusting us with the girls.
Thank you GlobalGiving and our donors
These are ineventualities which cannot be budgeted for enough, the unrestricted funds from Global Givign has enabled us to give the girls hope, we continue to pay for the girls medical services, to support the mentors and to maintain the hygiene and sanitation programme.
We still need you, we listen to girls voices through the Talking Boxes, kindly support us to do better and reach more.
I am the only surviving member of the family, my 3 brothers and 2 sisters are all dead, I ended up getting married at 14, my husband abandoned me when I had my 3rd child. People have tried to defile my children, I feel so scared and helpless, that is why I am hard on my children. I love them, I do not want them to end up like me, I really do not know what to do!
This was a statement from a parent to one of the girls at Polycom, the mother had been so brutal to her, always abusing her physically and alot of insults. Such frustrations expose girls to people who take advantage of them. This particular girl had run away a few time and then referred to Polycom by her teachers.
Polycom organized a mental health training for 30 mothers in January 2022 to help them deal with mental health challenges. More forums will be conducted to create good relationship between these mothers and their daughters.
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