Improving lives of 1000 girls in Nairobi's slums

by Vijana Amani Pamoja (VAP)
Vetted

With the dust of a historic qualification of Kenya’s national women football team to play in the Africa cup of nations for the first time later in the year 2016 not settled down, VAP stirred up the air by organizing a girls Kick N Test VCT tournament with an aim of making and maintaining the ‘historic trend’ by testing more girls and young women. Inspired by the stellar performance of their national women football team a total of thirty teams comprised of girls and young women came from all the walks and townships of Nairobi to put their best feet forward on the pitch and their best finger off the pitch for testing purposes. As part of VAP’s aim and responsibility to change the behaviors of Kenyan youth with an ultimate goal of a reduced HIV infection rate, the tournament was characterized with lots of activities despite football. Such activities included HIV testing for participating teams, fans, community members and the continuous pilot trials on football and oral self-testing in our communities targeting individuals over 14 years of age. For the first time in the history of Kick ‘N’ Test VCT football tournament, the event witnessed a huge turnout of teams that resulted into a high number of individuals getting to know their HIV status that forced the event to end up later in the evening and with the health service providers running out of testing equipments

                          Most Tested Team

They may had not put up a fantastic footwork on the pitch that could have allowed them to win a trophy but Mathare Girls football club  were very much spirited in seeking solace by doing more of  finger work and mobilizing their football mates and their supporters to get tested and gain more points off the pitch. Their efforts were not in vain as their faces were painted with smiles as they walked out with a trophy of the most tested team."Am happy to know my hiv status."Said Jackline from Golden stars football club.

Congrats to three Mrembo girls: Mary, Serian and Pauline for emerging winners of the Global Early Adolescent Study (GEAS) youth voices video contest. Their video and quotes: Football defines my adolescenceMy Discovery journey and ‘My path to struggles’ were incorporated into a project for the Global Early Adolescent study.
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.

Again,many thanks to all the donors who have been generously contributing towards supporting our girls via Global Giving..It's because of people like you that our girls are shinning...

Through the newly formed ‘FURSA’ project which is part of the Mrembo program, 5 Mrembo girls program participants accompanied by their guardians had smiles painted on their faces as their dreams dawned on them just in the nick of time when they received scholarship cheques that would cater for their high school education. With the high school intakes having kicked off this month of February,the scholarship recipients who are Mrembo Goal champions are expected to give back to the community at least once in a week by conducting Mrembo programs with other participants in the community. The girls who will be joining different high schools, have been actively participating in Mrembo program since their early ages from primary schools. “Am happy to join high school, pursue my education as i also continue to be a Mrembo ambassador and teaching other girls even in my new school. Thanks Mrembo program for shaping me and getting my dreams on track.” Said 14 years old  Nzisa who will be joining Nguumo high school.

Programs Around The Schools

With schools having kicked off in the month of January, it’s all systems go, with different programs actively running in schools. Armed with fresh information from the refresher course with targets and goals already set, the coaches are reaching out to secondary and primary school students as well as community members across Nairobi. Despite the awareness programs, plans are afoot for this year’s thematic community events that are generally perceived as a ‘bonus’ to the ongoing awareness program both for the participants and community members where they would access health services and other life changing information from various partners. Additionally with the approval from Kenya medical research institute and the partnership of other institutions,VAP is setting up the stage to run a couple of pilot studies surrounding its community programs with an aim of designing and determining effective strategies of improvements.

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.

 

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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

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