Improving lives of 1000 girls in Nairobi's slums

by Vijana Amani Pamoja (VAP)

Three Mrembo program participants: Naomi, Veronica and Janet were endorsed to participate in the 2016 Global Early Adolescent study (GEAS) video competition. The GEAS is focused on various countries around the globe with the goal of understanding the forces that shape girls and boys behaviors, the messages that young people get and the consequences of those messages. The girls were invited to create and share short videos to tell their stories, about how girls learn to “be women” and what it means to become adolescents in their contexts and cultures. Stories can be funny, emotional, sad or exciting. The videos can show relationships with family school, friends, or other important people in life. They can be personal story, an interview, and a walk through neighborhood. Participants whose videos are selected will receive a honorarium and the winning videos will be displayed during the 2016 international conference on family planning to be held in Indonesia, January 25.The winning participants will also become finalists to be part of the GEAS adolescent advisory team over the course of the next 5 years and will be called upon for advice as well as participating in meetings. The entire VAP family wishes good luck to these girls as they prepare to go global.

Even as most of the Nairobi areas were engulfed with chilly weather on the Saturday of 14th 2015, this couldn’t stop 20 girl teams from across Eastlands part of Nairobi to put their best football feet forward at the Jericho community field during the sixth edition of Miss Mrembo football tournament. The wet and slippery surface of the ground played disadvange to some of the players and more advantageous to some players especially those with (acrobatic skills) which had to come into action unintentionally. As a taboo for Miss Mrembo tournaments, the games were characterized with life skills sessions including sexual health reproductive rights delivered on site by Mrembo coaches before the matches, during the intervals, and after the matches. Tagged with an objective of creating a platform for adolescent girls and young women to share their personal life experiences, learning from each other, having fun, creating leadership and encouraging girls to participate in sports, the participants had a great opportunity to open up and have a candid talk with Mrembo coaches on issues affecting their lives. With some of the Mrembo coaches having a great deal of experience going through what some of the girls are going through and had an opportunity of bouncing back to life, their role model status and advice to the participants played a significant role to some of the girls and young women in attendance.

Miss Mrembo 2015 Beauty Pegeant

To wrap up the tournament, a beauty pageant contest to identify the new 2015 miss Mrembo was put on display attracting seven candidates from all the Mrembo program centres. One after another, walking style after walking style, both in African attires and sports attires accompanied with gorgeous look and make up courtesy of Mrembo Salon, the candidates had to perform a catwalk on the runaway in front of the judges while receiving a round of applause and cheers from their respective teammates. The five invited judges led by Mrs Judy Nyaga,standard chartered bank, Regional Head, subsidiary governance, Africa Group corporate secretariat had an opportunity to pose questions related to sexual health reproductive and rights as well as sports to all the beauty pageants. The criteria of choosing Miss Mrembo 2015 was based on how best the candidate would answer reproductive health, rights and sports questions Vis a vis the look, design and the walking style. The newly crowned Miss Mrembo 2015 received a pair of football cleats, 6 months supply of sanitary towels and a shopping voucher of Kenya shillings 3,000.Runners up received a pair of football cleats, 3 month supply of sanitary towels and a shopping voucher of Kenya shillings 3,000.Third position grabbed a pair of football cleats, 2 months supply of sanitary towels and a shopping voucher of Kenya shillings 1,000.”Am glad to know my rights as a girl child and I know where to report cases if my rights are infringed. I will uses my knowledge to empower other girls in my community. “Said the newly crowned Miss Mrembo 2015.

The month of October started with joy for Monica who had to thank her lucky stars for the job opening at Bela view hair and beauty salon located just a few metres from VAP’s main offices. Fully loaded with hair and beauty techniques and a bonus of financial and computer literacy skills that played an advantageous role in her new assignment Monica couldn’t wait to begin her first day at work. Emerging from the last Mrembo vocational training recruitment that was conducted in the month of July and spent 3 months on trainings, Monica is the first Mrembo Salon graduate ‘class of july’ to set the pace for job placement for others. With the new recruitment and the last for year 2015 currently going on, plans are afoot to place the other graduates who finished alongside Monica to various partnering salon and institutions. “I have been looking forward to working and earn a living, thanks for the trainings that I have received. Am hoping to save some money and open my own salon” Said Monica

Parents,Teachers Meeting

Teachers and parents affiliated with VAP programs from all the corners of Nairobi were invited by VAP coaches, peer educators and volunteers to come and share their views on VAP programs. Led by the able leadership of the charismatic, senior and master coach Everlyne who possess a community role model status,the parents and teachers were taken through all VAP programs including the economic empowerment facets within VAP.Each and every head of VAP department had time to narrate the way they do their programs and the support that they would expect from teachers and parents. The parents too had an opportunity to ask questions and add input towards strengthening the programs. “My 14 year old daughter can make her own informed decision with less of my commands, thanks to VAP coaches.” Said Mariam .

With its trending trademark of using sports/football to unveil the inner beauty of a girl child through Mrembo program, VAP was invited by GBS TV to participate in ‘Women View’ talk show. The show that lasted for 30 minutes surrounded on issues of girls and young women as well as the Do’s and Don’ts of dating and courtship.VAP took the opportunity to share out how sports plays an integral part of shaping and contributing to the lives of girls and young women who end up making healthy and informed decisions. Women View talk show is normally aired by GBS tv every Wednesday as from 10.30am and touches on a spectrum of topics and discussions including: finance, Child Care, Politics, Culture, Fashion, and other issues of the society which are addressed by invited experienced experts who trade on the issues.

                                Marking World Peace Day

As the world was marking peace day on 21st September, VAP joined the wave together with other like-minded organizations under the auspices of Kenya Sports Development Program (KSDP).Over 10 organizations from all the walks of Kenya who are affiliated to KSDP were represented by young coaches both female and male who converged at Soweto grounds with their best sports based skills and knowledge for social impact ready to learn, explore, exchange and network with their counter parts from different organizations. With the topic being ‘peace day’ organizations working in the areas of peace had an opportunity to showcase their expertise and activities related to sports and peace development. During this event that took place in Nairobi, VAP was represented by a team of 20 young girls who also participated in the football 3 methodology, a system designed to foster dialogue and bring about peace by engaging young people at risk

New Restaurant for Economic Empowerment

Arguably one of the greatest challenges facing young Kenyans today is unemployment and low employability.62% of the population in Kenya is under 25 years of age. The youth unemployment rate hovers around 13% on average. This figure, while high, masks the gravity of the problem of under-employment, discouraged work force and lack of career opportunities.In response to this,VAP being an organization that embraces and works with young generation through football for social and economic empowerment,has opened M-food restaurant.Originating from the loins of Mrembo (Girls) program, the new M-food restaurant and catering school is intended to engage and motivate Mrembo program graduates, provide them with valuable soft skills including,catering,pastry,financial and computer literacy and prepare them for the job-market as well as helping them create their own sustainable income generating opportunities. Just like Mrembo salon vocational training where VAP works so closely with well-established hair and beauty shops for the purposes of providing internship and job placements for the graduates-food will work closely with various well established restaurants that would provide internships and job placements for the M-food graduates who will eventually join the other lot of ‘VAP Achievers’ (graduates who have been socially and economically empowered).Additionally,proceeds from the restaurant will go towards supporting Mrembo(girls) program in different ways e.g purchase of sanitary towels and other support.

Wasichana Wacheze(Girls Play) Champions League

Clinging on the same trend of unveiling the inner beauty of a girl child through football based activities via Mrembo program, a mini football league dubbed ‘Wasichana Wacheze’ composed of girls from various chapters both in schools and community centres was organized from 30th June ending on 6th August. The aim of the ‘Wasichana Wacheze’ champions league was to create a springboard for the girls to showcase their football talents and a safe space for them to discuss crucial topics crowding sexual health, reproductive and rights issues among adolescent girls. Jericho chapter emerged the first winners of Wasichana Wacheze and were awarded with a trophy and other educational supplies, including sanitary pads. The other participating teams also walked out with educational materials that would support their education with sanitary pads.

Holiday Activiities

With schools on vocation, the month of August turned out to be a bee hive of many community events and activities spreading out in various parts of Nairobi. Top on the list was ‘Goal Events’ where a total of three events were conducted. The event focused on girls who had a privilege of being taught on communication, health and hygiene, rights and financial literacy coupled with football matches. Some of these events were attended by Standard chartered bank staff who had to depart their comfort zones and have program’s hands-on experience with the participants and the community. Despite the Goal events, a series of other program activities were well on track and with an additional Kick N Test football conducted at the tail end of August that saw participants getting to know their HIV status and receiving other health services which is already a culture of Kick N Test football tournaments

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Organization Information

Vijana Amani Pamoja (VAP)

Location: Nairobi, Kenya - Kenya
Website: http:/​/​www.vijanaamanipamoja.webs.com
Project Leader:
Nancy Waweru
Founder
Nairobi, Kenya