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:
Each of the girls received a packed of pads, they also had refreshments.
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!
Things do happen unexpectedly, it happed to Jane, who moved in with her aunt after her both and his wife who took her in after the death of both her parents died. She took good care of her until she was 14 years old when she suddently died. Family members looked at her as bad omen and none of them wanted anything to do with her. A male neighbour to her aunt took her in, accepted to take care of her education so her school fees for one year.
As Jane grew into a beautiful young woman at the age of 16, the man started getting attracted to her and wanted to have sexual relationship with her but she said no, he tried to convince her that he would wait till she complete her schooling then marry her but she refused, he gave her an option of giving in or moving out and loosing her education scholarship. Jane had to move in with her friend in school who brought her to our offices.
Just like Jane, there are many girls who are forced to drop out of school for one reason or another, whose lives take turns that give them very few options for education. Polycom Development Project listens to these girls, networks with organizations that can give them asylum and works with well wishers to pay for their education.
In 2017, Polycom Development Project (PODEP) has received 8 girls in need, 6 girls are perfectly in schools and living in rescue centres of with relatives and family friends who can give them accommodation. We are looking forward to recruiting 15 such girls in the year 2017.
8 girls have received educational scholarship, they are happy and in school. PODEP will monitor their progress and mentor them to complete their schooling and into adulthood, thanks for believing in us.
Maybe a wood cuter or a firewood collector would one day stop and listen to this regular song by this small bird, deep in the forest. This is how I felt when I started responding to cases of sexual manipulation and violence towards adolescent girls in Kibera Slums in Nairobi, Kenya. For 5 years I went wild teaching girls on the need to make informed decisions as far as their private parts are concerned, they nicknamed me "Yule mama wa private part" (That woman of the private part. I had seen it right hand, older men taking advantage of our girls, end result, early pregnancy, backstreet abortion, and by then, the most feared Sexually Transmitted Disease - HIV/AIDs. Deep in my heart I knew the information to pass across. Without any skills, no budget, no pattern, just me, I soldiered on to make girls take full charge of their lives. Many people would join me in the processs but leave immediately they realised I had nothing but just idea. It was 100% volunteer work.
I went to many local meetings mostly talking about HIV/AIDs, nobody understood my concept of fighting this vice whose end result would be HIV/AIDs, everyone wanted to respond. One time overheard a friend talking about a workshop on girls welfare by UNICEF that he was to attend, I sneeked into the meeting pretending that I lost my invitation, they allowed me to stay, they were talking about girlchild welfare. One week later, UNICEF organized a workshop which I was invited to, many participants were keen on supporting orphans and vulnerable children, nobody understood my typep of vulnerability. On the last day of the workshop people were pitching ideas in groups about promoting girls welfare, as usual I was very irrelevant to my group members but during presentations, I took it upon myself to explain my idea and strategy, the organizers liked it, meaning our group would get some funds to implement that idea within 3 months. My team members tricked me and did not involve me when they got money, it went their way. I did not stop, I pushed forward.
An organization working in Kibera invited my girls to make a presentation for them and my girls did not disappoint, they said it all, we called it the THE MONSTER AFTER HER, They loved it, they wanted to meet the brain behind this notion, they came to my little secretarial bureau which doubled as my office, this was in my 11th year of mentoring girls, withouth any resources, proper planning, documentation, just responding to my community's need, something many people would not understand. I got my first grant from Women Women, a three year grant, I hnow have a strategic plan, operational plan and an annual budget, through them I also learnt about Global Giving and here we are, the world MUST KNOW.
90 - 120 reached every week in groups of 30 for every 2 hours, 2000 girls were reached in 2016. I reach my girls through schools, they now apply to work with us. There are 27 pending application by schools in Kibera. I also do alot of media talks on my same advocacy that did not make sence for a long time.
In my 13 year journey, I had no resources, no skills and systems to support my work, many people convinced me to change my focus, because violence prevention would not allow me to access resources but I did not, I continued until 2013 when I got a break through, we got funds, trainings, networks and ideas including crowd funding which we using today. I am now focused, skilled and using different platforms to access resources.
Exam anticipation comes with stress and anxiety, it is even worse for adolescent girls who are still in their early years of menses and not sure when to comes, and even worse to those who cannot afford the necessary napkins to save the from embarassments.
Kenya children sit for a mandatory exam known as KCPE after 8 years of learning to qualify for their secondary school education. This very important exam idetermines which school a child will be admitted to and for poor children, whether one can access education scholarship or not. Many unforseen factors contribute to poor performance of girls in this particular exams For many years boys have scored 60% and above compared to their female counterparts.
Slum girls are among girls whose worries include sanitary towels during this critical time for their lives, Polycom Development Project work to make sure that the girls have a peace of mind and are able to sit for their exams withouth worries. Through her Hygiene and Sanitation Project sessions for confidence building are conducted, to remind the girls to visit their washrooms and have fresh pads just before the exams if they are suspecting it to start or if it is on. Also the girls are given a packet of sanitary napkins as an asurance that it is well. They go through acounselling process to demonstrate that future education begins with passing the exams and therefore should concentrate and calm in doing their examination because it will shape their future.
Polycom Development Project distributed pads to 380 girls in the various partner schools in early October, in preparation to the upcoming exams in early November, the teachers were very supportive and encouraging. The girls were happy and danced together as a sign for happiness and appreciation to this gesture.
In August, 5 girls from Polycom Development Project also attended a girls camp, to discuss the challenges girls face in their day today lives, all the girls prior to departure were equipped with a small kit containing, a sanitary towel, a small bathing towel, 2 panties and a bathing soap. All the girls also got sports kits from the organization for their outdoor event. Sports continue to be a true inspiration to the girls in their daily interractions. this was a life skill process, getting girls to be better leaders making informed decisions.
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