End Female Genital Mutilation in 9 schools, Kenya

by Hope Foundation for African Women (HFAW)
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End Female Genital Mutilation in 9 schools, Kenya
End Female Genital Mutilation in 9 schools, Kenya
End Female Genital Mutilation in 9 schools, Kenya
End Female Genital Mutilation in 9 schools, Kenya
End Female Genital Mutilation in 9 schools, Kenya
End Female Genital Mutilation in 9 schools, Kenya
End Female Genital Mutilation in 9 schools, Kenya
End Female Genital Mutilation in 9 schools, Kenya
End Female Genital Mutilation in 9 schools, Kenya
End Female Genital Mutilation in 9 schools, Kenya
End Female Genital Mutilation in 9 schools, Kenya
End Female Genital Mutilation in 9 schools, Kenya
End Female Genital Mutilation in 9 schools, Kenya
End Female Genital Mutilation in 9 schools, Kenya
End Female Genital Mutilation in 9 schools, Kenya
End Female Genital Mutilation in 9 schools, Kenya
End Female Genital Mutilation in 9 schools, Kenya
A student's leg with burrowing jiggers
A student's leg with burrowing jiggers

Dear Friend and Partner,

The first time our anti-fgm advocacy at Nyamusi Primary School in Nyamira County came to a standstill. There were 327 students among them 162 males and 165 females. We got a warm welcome and we were about to begin our work, only to notice that many students had torn uniforms, looked desperate and literary miserable due to poverty. Over 10 students were jigger infested. Our advocacy program was difficult to deliver. We planned to be back with medicines and other equipment to counter jiggers. This ended up opening an easier anti-FGM advocacy process.

Second round arrival at the school we found that still students were in a bad state because, due to myths and misconceptions, they were stigmatized as cursed due to jiggers. Many people think that jiggers are a curse. They were glam in rags with no shoes and innerwear, barefooted, and extremely low self-esteem. We were also informed that girls are most vulnerable to FGM in the surrounding village.

With the help of a public health officer and health assistant from a local community clinic whom we invited we cleaned their legs, sanitized them, applied medicine and vaseline, and sanitized them. In total we sanitized ten students with jiggers, provided them with new shoes and uniforms, and their self-esteem greatly improved. After sanitizing, we taught them about effects of FGM, the root causes, the impact not only on the girl child but the whole community. The positive response was overwhelming. Both students and teachers committed to be antifgm and anti-jiggers ambassadors.

‘I want to work like you to end FGM and jiggers, said Beatrice, one of the students who got shoes and school uniform.

Teachers were grateful and committed to continue treating the students until the jiggers were completely eradicated out of the school.

"I will teach people about the effects of FGM so that they can abandon the culture." Alois Nyasumi primary. ‘I want people to know that jiggers are caused by unhygienic conditions, not a curse. He said.

The head teacher reiterated that ending FGM should begin with ending jiggers. That jiggers are widespread in the village which is the origin. The children who live with grandmothers are most affected. Even their grandmothers are affected by jiggers.

Friends, we are grateful for your ongoing donations. Because of you we had a chance to address one of the most disturbing issue, jiggers in modern times. Jiggers hurt children and their grandmothers. It is hard to close our eyes. It is even harder to campaign against FGM when members of the community are hurting. Please continue with your donations and share widely so that our work to counter jiggers and FGM can be possible. Please share with your family and friends and let them know why this is important.

student wearing tattered uniform
student wearing tattered uniform
Alois narrating how he will teach people about FGm
Alois narrating how he will teach people about FGm
Students in new uniform, shoe and the headteacher
Students in new uniform, shoe and the headteacher
Gladys washing and sanitizing the student's feet
Gladys washing and sanitizing the student's feet
students receiving new uniform
students receiving new uniform
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End-FGM training session for students
End-FGM training session for students

Dear Friend

 Happy New! The Hope Foundation for the African team is grateful to connect with you. Your company in the journey to end female genital mutilation in Kenya. Here is to another year of ensuring safety and health for every girl.

In November 2021, just while students were nearly breaking for the Christmas holiday, we held a school advocacy activity at Nyariacho and Keboba primary school in Nyamira County. The advocacy activity was led by HFAW grassroots leaders; Joyce and Gladys.

The main objective of conducting the outreach in the 2 schools was to sensitize the students on the health effects of FGM and ensure that they understand what to do when they suspect or are at risk of undergoing the vice. Also, we trained on personal hygiene and how to become more self-aware and confident. Moreover, we sensitized the young girls on staying focused on their studies and avoiding the temptation of engaging in romantic relationships. Generally, school advocacy reached 485 students between 9-14 years.

Most villages in Nyamira and Kisii, Kenya, are notorious for secretly subjecting girls, within this age group to FGM. Part of the main reason FGM continuous in Nyamira is the secrecy. Thus, with this activity, we ensured the girls know that we support them and they should not be swayed into the practice. 

We are happy that we got to conduct this activity. The smiles and excitement of the students during the songs and dance session tell it all.

Welcoming remarks by headteacher at the Nyariacho
Welcoming remarks by headteacher at the Nyariacho

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Lancer Wao (HFAW) during one of the past outreach
Lancer Wao (HFAW) during one of the past outreach

Dear Friend and Partner

Greetings! It is so great to connect with you again? How have you been since we last connected? We hope you are doing fantastic.


Over the past months, we have had various school outreaches targeting reaching school children to advocate for the end of female genital mutilation (FGM). As per the popular education model, participation is key in creating change. The model advocates that we understand a social problem from different perspectives of the stakeholders, understand what the solution is according to them, and together work towards solving the problem. We believe young girls are the center of the conversation on ending FGM and the more they are aware that the efforts are in the interest of their safety and well-being, the more they will support.


In this update, we shall give you information on the lessons we have learned from implementing the project of ending Female Genital Mutilation in schools, what we have achieved, the change we are seeing, and our outlook of the future even as we continue with the last quarter of the year.


What we have achieved?So far, we have conducted more than 10 schools outreach focussing on advocating for the end of FGM. In this, we have reached more than 2000 students and at least 50 teachers. Also, in some instances, we took it a notch higher to engage youths as well since they are the generation that we commonly refer to as 'FGM ends with their generation". So far, through this project, we have reached more than 200 youths.

What have we learned? FGM is prevalent because of a lack of information on its health effects on girls and women. With the right information and tools, the locals are willing to abandon the practice, for the safety of girls and women. Another lesson is that participation is key to success. Approaching the community from a point of wanting to understand how we can work together, what everyone's responsibility is, and how we can make a safer and healthier future for girls and women.


What has challenged us so far?We have come across challenges related to the overwhelming need versus what we can offer at our capacity. Because of limited resources, both human and financial, we cannot conduct the outreaches as regularly as we would wish. Nevertheless, we believe that we are on the right track and optimistic that what we are doing with the support you are giving us is positively transforming the community.


Dear Friend, we are thankful that we have you. We are proud of being aligned with your vision for change in the world. We are humbled that you continue to support us. Remember that you can share your work with your friends for them to see the wonderful work you are doing.

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Radio Show Poster
Radio Show Poster

Dear Friend and Partner

 

Greetings from the Hope Foundation for African Women Team!


We are so delighted to report to you what we have been up to since our last updates on ending female genital mutilation in 9 schools.


During the month of April, we conducted a radion show sounding alarm over the secret practice of FGM during the school holiday. The school break was for 2 months and, just like other activists, we were worried that it would derail our efforts and undermine what we have achieved during the school outreaches. Luckily, radio has been a quite strong tool to voice concerns, amplify the voices of the vulnerable who are at risk of the practice, and teach on how to collectively end the practice during the holiday while respecting Covid-19 safety regulations.


On 26th April, Dr. Grace Mose, HFAW Founder, and Director participated in a talk show at Minto FM, a local radio station attached to the Kenya National Broadcaster, Kenya Broadcasting Station. For 2 hours, we spoke at least 40,000 listeners tuning in, about the forms of Female Genital Mutilation that are emerging given the robust campaigns against the practice. We urged the listeners to remain vigilant just as they had been for the past 2 years where more culprits have been reported.


The show was quite successful given the response and questions we received from the listeners. From this, we learnt about other problems going in the community that are as a result of girls undergoing FGM. For example, cases of teenage pregancy are at an all-time high during the holiday season. We have attached the link to the show and live session on Facebook through this link in this report for you to listen to and experience the conversations you are helping have in our community through your support.

Dr. Grace Mose speaking during the show
Dr. Grace Mose speaking during the show
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School advocacy by HFAW and  CHVs at Kiamwarimu
School advocacy by HFAW and CHVs at Kiamwarimu

Dear Friend and partner

Happy new year!! After going above and beyond to stay still amidst uncertainties of 2020, we get to meet here again still on a unified mission of ending FGM in Kenya. Thank you for your support. I am humbled and look forward to a more fruitful year.


As children resume learning in Kenya, there is a need to resume advocacy to end FGM in the same measure; if not more. And what a better way to do this than to pick right from where we left during school advocacy in Karantini Primary school in Nyamakoroto, Karantini, Machururiati, and Kiamwarimu primary schools alongside Community Health Volunteers (CHVs) in Nyamira county, Kenya.


HFAW got the opportunity to speak to girls between 9-15 years on the health effects of FGM. The objective of the sensitization forum was to empower the girl child with knowledge on resisting FGM. It is quite worrying that the more students stayed at home following the government announcing all schools to be closed and children to go home as a measure to curb the spread of Covid-19, there were increased cases of FGM. Thus, to reinforce the anti-FGM Message, and reiterate our stand against the harmful practice, we reminded the girls to remain cautious and report anybody persuading or forcing them to undergo FGM. Also, we spoke to the boys on how to be their sisters' keepers by helping report when aware that a classmate is at risk of undergoing FGM.


Additionally, we handed the school head HFAW Child protection posters to be placed at strategic positions within the school to act as a constant reminder that children need to be safe and healthy.
The outreach was successful. One of the key outcomes is that HFAW Received commitment from the students to be vocal about the issues facing them.


"if I get anybody planning to cut a girl, I will educate them on the effects of FGM. we have heard what we have never known come back when the whole school is open so that we share more', said one of the participants.

Dear partner, how comforting it is to know that you are seeing the change you are making in our community. You are empowering vulnerable girls with knowledge and skills to resist FGM hence increasing their chances for a better and brighter future. HFAW hopes that we continue collaborating, sharing, and learning from each other through this project.

Gladys from HFAW, handing over posters Machuriati
Gladys from HFAW, handing over posters Machuriati
CHV leading a session at Machururiati school
CHV leading a session at Machururiati school
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Organization Information

Hope Foundation for African Women (HFAW)

Location: Nairobi, Kiambu County - Kenya
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @HFAW2015
Project Leader:
Dr. Grace Bonareri Mose Okong'o
Nairobi, Nairobi County Kenya
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