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
Documenting Talking Boxes
Documenting Talking Boxes

This project report is a submission to GlobalGiving’s 2017 Fail Forward Contest, where organizations are asked to share a story of when they tried something new that didn’t go as planned and how they learned from it. Enjoy!’

The idea of the Talking Boxes crossed my mind when I met Serah, a 13 year old girl whose step father had been abusing sexually for over 2 months, when she reported this to her mum she took her to live with her maternal grandmother, where the uncle, her mother's brother started abusing her as well, she was so lost she did not know what to do. She was bitter that she  did not want to talk, then I encouraged her to put it on paper and drop it in my office. She let it all out and we took actions that helped her move to the next level. My worry of what other girls were going through in silence brought the idea of the Talking Boxes to my mind.

I collected and wrapped the few biscuit cartons I could get, labelled the, "Speak You Mind - a problem shared is a problem half solved." A few girls shared very weighty issues, the teachers were not comfortable, they started tearing the boxes to find out what the girls were writing, especially in schools where there were trends of sexual harassment. I had to stop because they boxes would be destroyed and they were nolonger private. When I resisted, the teachers stopped me and the project collapsed.

I did not give up, I found a well wisher who helped me to make wooden lockable boxes which we fixed in school on locations identified by the girls, where they would feel comfortable putting their anonymous notes. We locked the boxes and kept the keys with us, we would only visit the  schools on weekly basis to collect the contents. Some teachers further made space keys, some moved the boxes in their offices citing security issues. We came up with an idea to have a spare padlock in the office which we would change to a school and take the other padlock to another school. The teachers then started asking for to be paid to allow us work with the kids, this was tough the project had no funding completely through it was very effective. We had no option at this stage but to let go for a while.

Our next strategy to get this going was to get the school girls as our allies, through trainings, our girls understood the importance of the boxes and internalized the fact that the boxes are for their own benefit and not the teachers, the girls became our Ambassadors. Through Globalgiving funds, we have been able to brand these Ambassadors who feel proud and with power that they do not allow anyone to mess up our project in schools. The project has so far been documented as the best avenue to girls liberation, we currently work with 17 schools across Kibera Slums. We have 25 pending applications from schools that have developed interest in working with us. The girls tell other girls from other schools about the benefits of our programs which serve more that 1200 girls. We just got into partnership with UNFPA who would like to support us to reach more schools in Kibera and beyond. The project is so much of a success, we have managed to get data on issues that affect girls that many have never talked about.

My persistence created a unique platform that enable girl to open up on their deeply rooted secrets so that they can be helped. We are growing and changing lives across Kibera and beyond.

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Safe Space - Relaxed Girls Waiting for Art Time
Safe Space - Relaxed Girls Waiting for Art Time

Term two 2017 just ended 240 girls attended the Saturday Forums at our Centre in Kibera. The girls used this space as a safespace to play and share. We had new developments:

  • Received Pad Making Machine and Materials from Lois Harris, one of our potential partners. We are working on making pads for our girls, our trial stage is done, we are working on making our own brand, engaging women women are mothers to the adolescent girls in our program to make and sell the pads. This will improve their livelihoods.
  • 380 Adolescent girls received pads this term under this project, they were happy and celebrated, the do not have to worry about hygiene or messing themselves up in class, they can now pursue their education without fear.
  • We organised our programs under different Sustainable Development Goals, we have committed to the spirit of Leave No One Behind. We are keen on SDG 11 on making cities Inclusive, Safe, Resilient and Sustainable; SDG 3 and 6. We were able to link up with other implementer, we are girls and women focused making us part and parcel of SDG 5. The girls have information about SDG and have learnt to engage duty bearers on the same.

Our unique project was art, equipping girls to exercise their rights through sports. The girls learnt to express themselves through drawing, to write and act different scenarios on the lives of girls. Our girls are now more empowered, have high self esteem and can package and communicate on matters that affect them.

Empowered grils will empower others adn stand up for their rights to rise beyong the challenges that bring them down everyday.

Drawing Art
Drawing Art
WE are proud to be girls
WE are proud to be girls

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EVENT BANNER
EVENT BANNER

“The harder we try, the higher we fly” Our girls were able to make presentations at the United Nations Office in Nairobi, thanks to your generous donations. Who would have imagined?

"I will remember this for the rest of my life, I cannot imagine that I just made a presentation at the United Nations," that was Maryanne a 15 year old girl living in Kibera Slums. She was one of the girls who represented other girls at the United Nations for the Urban Thinkers Campus, hosted by Polycom Development Project.

This is a critical space where different urban actor are brought together under UN Habitat's World Urban Campaign to strategize and develop structures that can lead us to the City We Need. Polycom for the second time around created this platform that was attended by 185 people, among them the Women, Elderly, the youth, religious leaders, pressure groups, activists, government representatives, the United Nations, Civil society organizations, the academia and media. Our focus was Safety - The City We Need is Safe (http://www.worldurbancampaign.org/events/wamama-tunauwezo-2).

With the Sustainable Development Goals principle of Leave no one behind, Polycom Development Project made sure that the adolescent girls participated in the process of making our cities safe for everyone.The girls shared how they are harassed sexually in public and private spaces, they shared how they are punished by the teachers for delaying during breaks when the toilets they have for girls are inadequate and therefore girls must queue for longer. The girls shocked the actors who thought they understood issues that affect girls. The girls were articulate, they shared how they want to be part of the implementation of the Sustainable Developement Goals so that their issues are factored in by planners.

The girls continue to meet in the office on Saturdays for the girls forums, they feel they are very empowered now to identify and to package their presentations to duty bearers. Their lobby is for the duty bearers to engage with them while designing programs aimed and empowering them.

“I can’t believe this just happened, we would like to come to Kibera, to meet these girls in their set up, we can never change anything if we do not come down to the ground,” remarked Christine Auclair – the World Urban Campaign Manager

CONCULSION

Most girls now speak out on matters that affect them, they know where to go for help and also that it is not their fault that bad things happen to them.

Girls preparing to make their presentations
Girls preparing to make their presentations
Jane Anyango importance of collaborative processes
Jane Anyango importance of collaborative processes

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Girls Listening to their mentors
Girls Listening to their mentors

House chores in my home are too many that I have no time to do my homework.. Mary wrote this down as the girls reflected on the things that hinder them from doing well in school.

She lives with her parents and 6 siblings in a small shantie in Kibera Slums where the mother must leave very early in the morning to the market to buy groceries to sell. Mary is left behind to do everything in the house, wash dishes, sweep the floor, fetch water and prepare her other siblings to school before she leaves. She is a candidate with so much school work but there is not time. She must work very hard in school to pass her examination so that she can attract post primary school scholarship since her poor parents cannot afford to pay her school fees. She is one of the 298 girls who attended the 2017 candidate forum organized by Polycom Development Project to help the girls to identify impediments to their academic excellence. The girls gathered in an open hall in Kibera Slums.

There are many girls like Asiza, some do not have basic things needed for girls to be in school like school uniform and books. Polycom have created a platform to get these girls mentors, to encourage and help them focus on their education despite the challenges they face.

Asiza and other girls were guided to come up with workable and possible ways of rising beyond these barriers.They were guided to identify their personal barriers, which include challenges at home, in the community, in school and even in class. They are taken through SWOT (Strength, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analysis before developing their own steps towards breaking these barriers.

The girls are guided to develop SMART Goals based on their scores in various subjects and what they want to work on the get to the set goals

298 girls were matched with 25 mentors, 10 to 13 girls per mentor. The outcomes of these forums were as follows:

  • Girls connected to their mentors to walk them through their candidature progess
  • Strategies identified to help girls concentrate and improve in their education
  • Established collaboration with mentors and other possible institions.

Each of the girls received a packed of pads, they also had refreshments.

Personal Reflection
Personal Reflection
One of the mentors in session
One of the mentors in session
Motivational Session..
Motivational Session..
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THROUGH SPORTS WE SHARE
THROUGH SPORTS WE SHARE

2016 was a beautiful year, Our girls excelled in their national examinations, more than 250 girls out of the 340 candidates scored above average in their national examination. Only 2 girls dropped out of schools compared to more than 20 5 years ago, we are getting to zero! Only one girl because pregnant, 6 of our girls managed to access PEP (Post exposure profilaxis after unwanted sex.

900 adolescent girls aged 11 - 16 years were eqquipped with skills to exercise their rights through lifeskill and sports, thanks to your donations through Global Giving. Every Saturday 30 - 120 girls would turn up for a two our sessions, each one of them was taken through a 90 hour program focusing on Being Yourself, Being Empowered, Being Healthy and Being money savvy.

3 thematic games were organized for the girls and 1350 girls were reached, encouraged to speak out on matters affecting them, speak out incase of sexual harassment and seek help whenever in trouble. Polycom Development Project (PODEP) distributed 2500 pads to girls, all girls who sat for their examination were able to access pads every month during the last 3 months into their examination.

PODEP organized a side event in New York, during the Commission on Status of women and 2 girls from the slums joined the worked during this conference, and shared with the world about our work.  PODEP started a Women Violence Prevention Sports program that saw stakeholders working closely with the women to promote peaceful coexistences. From 4 groups when the sports program started the year ended with 8 teams consisting of atleast 15 women each.We thank you all for our success!

2017 will be even better of you continue believing in us and telling your friends about us, thanks to all who supported during the Matching Challenge, we did not do so well but will be better organized in 2017.

WELCOME TO 2017!

Girls during lifeskill session
Girls during lifeskill session
Reproductive Health  - My Health my Responsibility
Reproductive Health - My Health my Responsibility
Girls kits by Days for Girls
Girls kits by Days for Girls

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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
$55,021 raised of $56,000 goal
 
1,324 donations
$979 to go
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