Education  Kenya Project #38434

Girls for the future Project

by The Mango Tree Orphan Support Trust - Kenya
Girls for the future Project

Project Report | Jan 18, 2024
"Empowering Communities: Transformative Impact of the Girls For the Future Project"

By Paul Odalo | Monitoring, Evaluation & Partnership Officer

Sanitary pads distribution to school girls
Sanitary pads distribution to school girls

Introduction

The Girls for the Future project aims to support young women and girls in rural areas, particularly in Homa-bay County, Western Kenya, by providing them with educational opportunities and empowering them through various interventions. This project seeks to enhance their access to education, build resilience within the community, and mitigate discrimination, gender-based violence, and stigma.

Project Objectives

The Girls for the Future project focuses on two key objectives:

  • Recruiting vulnerable women who dropped out of school and providing them with apprenticeship opportunities to enhance their business skills and improve their livelihoods, supporting their own and their children's education.
  • Empowering women through education, vocational training, and enterprise projects to enhance their economic independence and resilience.

Key Activities and Progress

The Girls for the Future project has undertaken several activities in the reporting period of October to December 2023 to achieve its objectives:

a)           Rescue Center for Vulnerable Girls

The project admitted six (6) young girls into the Rescue Center, dedicated to safeguarding those at risk by rescuing them from different forms of gender-based violence such as defilement, instances of being lost and found, and early marriage. These individuals have undergone thorough counseling sessions, creating a secure environment for them.

b)          Training on business skills and management

The project provided extensive training on business management and finance literacy to 12 Village Savings and Loaning Association (VSLA) groups. Out of these, two groups, totaling 30 members, received business loans from Equity Bank of Kenya. These groups have selected their initial investments to enhance their businesses. The objective was to empower them with the necessary knowledge and skills for effective financial management.

 

c)           Comprehensive Reproductive Health Education and Seminars

The project organized talks on reproductive health in local schools, involving 876 students (484 girls and 392 boys) to empower young minds. The discussions covered important topics like factors affecting adolescent growth and sexual gender-based violence (SGBV). In response to ensuring full school attendance, 382 sanitary towels were distributed to ensure vulnerable girls can continue their education without hindrance and maintain menstrual hygiene.

The reproductive health seminar, themed "Triple Threat" focusing on HIV/AIDS infections, early pregnancy, and gender-based violence, was held aimed to raise awareness among adolescents and provide ways to protect themselves from negative life-changing behaviors. This seminar benefited 471 students (243 girls and 228 boys), offering insights for making informed choices.

d)          HIV Awareness and Testing

The project organized community outreaches, to conduct HIV testing for 175 people (111 females and 74 males). Fortunately, none of them tested positive for HIV.

 

e)           Apprenticeship Program

To promote inclusivity, the program has enrolled three new teenage mothers into the apprenticeship program, hence ensuring that 20 girls are benefitting from the life skills training in beauty therapy and barbering. The proximity of their babies during training helps these mothers focus, aiding in their personal and professional growth. This expansion reflects our dedication to offering opportunities to a diverse group of young women.

To support the skill and career development of girls, especially those in the apprenticeship program, 22 girls are currently participating in hands-on activities in various salons. This practical experience is valuable, enhancing their skills and providing job exposure to make them more competitive in the workforce. This training is crucial as they await the National Industrial Training Authority (NITA) examination, which can open doors to rewarding careers. One girl has already taken her NITA examinations.

 

f)            Children with Correctable Disabilities

During the reporting period, the project identified children with correctable disabilities and referred them to the Association of Persons with Disabilities in Kenya (APDK). Nine (9) children underwent life-changing corrective surgeries, and happily, four (4) have been successfully reunited with their families after the surgeries.

People with disabilities, especially those who have had surgeries, need ongoing support to reintegrate into their families and communities successfully. The project is dedicated to this goal, ensuring individuals can lead fulfilling lives after leaving the hospital.

To reduce stigma and offer support, the project continues to raise awareness about disabilities in the community. One essential aspect of this effort is the creation of psychosocial support groups for caregivers. Currently, 104 caregivers actively participate in these groups, providing and receiving crucial emotional support during monthly meetings.

 

Challenges

  1. Financial Constraints for Women's Enterprises: lack of sufficient finances to adequately support the growth of women's enterprises, which are essential to meet the needs of our targeted women-owned businesses. Securing the necessary funding remains a critical obstacle in our mission to empower women economically.
  2. Complexities in Child Abuse Cases: Many of the abused children we encounter come from extremely vulnerable households, making reunification with their relatives a challenging endeavor. Some children prefer to remain at the rescue center indefinitely. Additionally, the prevalence of Sexual Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) in the communities poses a significant hurdle. Victims often hesitate to come forward and testify, resulting in delayed justice proceedings, and there is a reluctance among some individuals to pursue legal action, further complicating the resolution of these cases.
  3. Persistent Stigma Surrounding Disabilities: Many in the community still wrongly associate disabilities with witchcraft, which perpetuates stereotypes and discrimination against individuals with disabilities. Addressing this deeply ingrained misconception remains a paramount concern as we strive to promote inclusivity and support for people with disabilities.

Conclusion

The Girls For the Future project has made positive changes in communities. We've helped people and families by giving them hope and helping them grow. Our partnership with Equity Bank of Kenya has taught financial skills, leading to more savings accounts and growing businesses in VSLA groups. The apprenticeship program has given skills and job opportunities to young girls, including teenage mothers.

We're dedicated to making families stronger through parenting skills training, which reduces challenges in society. The rescue center supports girls recovering from violence, and reproductive health education helps students make informed choices. Our efforts in the community have made HIV testing and support more accessible.

We're also focused on helping children with correctable disabilities and reducing stigma through awareness campaigns. As we continue, our goal is to make a lasting impact and create a better future for everyone in our communities.

Skills enhancement on haircut by an apprentices
Skills enhancement on haircut by an apprentices
Participation in 16days of GBV activism
Participation in 16days of GBV activism
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Sep 20, 2023
Transforming Lives: Empowering Communities Through Action and Compassion

By Paul Odalo | Monitoring, Evaluation & Partnership Officer

May 23, 2023
Empowering Women and Girls for Resilience and economic independence

By Paul Odalo | Monitoring, Evaluation & Partnership Officer

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Organization Information

The Mango Tree Orphan Support Trust - Kenya

Location: Kisumu - Kenya
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @tmt_kenya
Project Leader:
Consolata Achieng
Kisumu , Kenya

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