Leadership Training for Girls in Maasai Kenya

by Kakenya's Dream
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Leadership Training for Girls in Maasai Kenya
Leadership Training for Girls in Maasai Kenya
Leadership Training for Girls in Maasai Kenya
Leadership Training for Girls in Maasai Kenya
Leadership Training for Girls in Maasai Kenya
Leadership Training for Girls in Maasai Kenya
Leadership Training for Girls in Maasai Kenya
Leadership Training for Girls in Maasai Kenya
Leadership Training for Girls in Maasai Kenya
Leadership Training for Girls in Maasai Kenya
Leadership Training for Girls in Maasai Kenya
Leadership Training for Girls in Maasai Kenya
Leadership Training for Girls in Maasai Kenya
Leadership Training for Girls in Maasai Kenya
Leadership Training for Girls in Maasai Kenya
Female students learning at a H&L session
Female students learning at a H&L session

The Health and Leadership Training Program will conclude later in November in its 2022 iteration, having run for six months since May. In light of burgeoning community demand, we expanded to 28 new schools this year, which is almost double the number from last year! 4,578 girls and boys were trained on their rights, the negative effects of FGM and child marriage, communication and advocacy skills, and comprehensive reproductive health. The program presents a unique opportunity for us to connect with youth outside our main education programs; it also provides valuable professional development for the 77 young women and men who teach our curriculum, a rarity given high unemployment rates across the country. 

The program gives participants confidential spaces to discuss questions on adolescence, puberty, and other sensitive topics. This year, our school partners and peer trainers shared feedback that they saw noticeable improvements in students’ behaviors towards the importance of girls’ education and against gender discriminatory attitudes. Given the warm reception of this year’s program, we are excited at the prospect of expanding the number of schools we reach for 2023. 

Construction for our youth-friendly health clinic remains underway. To prepare for its opening next year, we are in the process of scouting and hiring a clinical officer to lead its programming. The clinic, which is the first of its kind in our community, is being built with a specific emphasis on adolescent healthcare and will include components like mental health resources, contraceptives, and sexual and reproductive health education activities. 

Our Linda Dada (“Protect a Sister” in Swahili) campaign, which began under our Health and Leadership Program, has now reached over 2,100 community members since its launch in the fall of 2020. The campaign incorporates awareness and prevention messages on the issue of teenage pregnancy in monthly training sessions for local adolescents, parents, government officials, religious leaders, and other stakeholders. Teenage pregnancy remains a persistent challenge in the region, with the Kenyan Ministry of Health releasing data earlier this year showing that Narok County, where we primarily operate, was one of several counties contributing to 51% of all teenage pregnancies in 2021. Community-wide interventions like the Linda Dada campaign are pivotal for the dissemination of objective information on sexual and reproductive health among the community, as well as for the destigmatization of related issues like HIV/AIDS and STIs, which are considered taboo topics. 

We are so thankful for supporters like you who are helping grow this program across the region we serve. Because of our GlobalGiving community, the impact we are making to empower adolescent girls and boys with critical health education is reaching their parents, siblings, and peers in more ways that we could have imagined. Thank you for your continued partnership; we can’t wait to share our newest updates in the next report with you! 

Construction of our health clinic continues
Construction of our health clinic continues
Participants of a Linda Dada session in June
Participants of a Linda Dada session in June
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Training of Health and Leadership teachers
Training of Health and Leadership teachers

This year, we are expanding our Health and Leadership Training Program to 28 schools, essentially doubling our impact from the 15 school partners last year! The afterschool program, which began in May and runs through November, is being introduced in two new counties, Migori and Kisii. We anticipate reaching 4,500 girls and boys with critical leadership, health education, and life skills by the end of the year. 

From January to April, our program team met extensively with local government education officials and community leaders to build community support, which helps reinforce at home the lessons learned by our youth participants. 77 young adults were trained to teach the curriculum this year, which includes important topics like substance and drug abuse, gender violence and bias, and human rights. 

Our monthly Linda Dada sessions continue to run smoothly, reaching 380 new beneficiaries between January and March. This brings the total number of community members directly sensitized on teen pregnancy and other adolescent issues through this campaign to 1,695. The Linda Dada campaign, which was originally created to combat the rise in unplanned pregnancies after the COVID-19 school closures, will eventually be folded into the programming of our upcoming youth-friendly health clinic. We are thrilled to share that we broke ground on the clinic in mid-April with construction swinging into full gear in May! The clinic will be the first of its kind in our community, emphasizing adolescent healthcare with mental health resources, contraceptives, and sexual and reproductive health education activities. 

As we continue to expand the Health and Leadership Training program, we remain deeply grateful for supporters like you who make this growth possible. More and more young people and community members are being empowered with quality health education and in the following years, will have accessible key reproductive and adolescent health services. Thank you for your continued partnership; we look forward to sharing more updates with you in our next report! 

Linda Dada session in March
Linda Dada session in March
Groundbreaking ceremony for the clinic
Groundbreaking ceremony for the clinic
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A Health & Leadership peer trainer guides students
A Health & Leadership peer trainer guides students

Our Health and Leadership Training program, which is conducted over six months through an afterschool workshop delivery model, concluded last November. A total of 890 girls and 915 boys, spread throughout 15 primary schools, were reached with our curriculum. This curriculum has nine topics for boys and 10 topics for girls that cover a range of issues, including gender equality, harmful traditional practices, sexual violence, sexual and reproductive health, leadership, healthy communication and relationships, and life skills.

In order to properly evaluate the students’ learnings and to identify areas for improvement, a baseline survey was distributed at the start of the program and followed by an endline survey. A high level summary of the results include: 

  •  An increase in the proportion of students who felt satisfied with themselves, valued, and worthy of respect, indicating greater levels of self-esteem and self-confidence after they completed the program.
  • An increase in the proportion of students who agreed with statements on children’s rights, like the right to education, the right to play, and the right to receive help and care.
  • A decline in the proportion of students who agreed with statements that endorsed gender discrimination and traditional attitudes of bias for boys over girls.

In addition to the student data collected via the base and endline surveys, we regularly received feedback from other stakeholders involved in the program.  Throughout the six months of the Health and Leadership Training program in 2021, our peer trainers reported increasing levels of student enthusiasm for the curriculum and eagerness to delve into socially sensitive topics, like reproductive and sexual health, gender violence, and puberty. Parents also shared that their children were more transparent about issues they faced in conversations at home. Given the strong stigma that surrounds many of the topics students learn about in our curriculum, the presence of these conversations and open attitudes of both students and parents is an exciting development for the progress of gender equity in the communities we serve. 

Under our Linda Dada (“Protect a Sister” in Swahili) campaign, which addresses the rise of teen pregnancy from the COVID-19 pandemic through community intervention, we held monthly sessions throughout the past year for parents, local community leaders, and adolescent youth.  At these sessions, participants discussed strategies for prevention and awareness, with a focus on issues of child rights violations such as female genital mutilation (FGM) and gender-based violence (GBV), and cyclical, intergenerational poverty as a consequence of teen pregnancy and early marriage. 

Additionally, resources on the importance of adolescent health and responsible family planning were provided at each session. Since launching the campaign in December 2020, 1,153 community members have participated. Given the high levels of positive engagement and feedback that facilitators received throughout the year from attendees, we are excited to expand the campaign to two other surrounding communities this year to reach an additional 2,200 direct beneficiaries.

As 2022 continues, we look forward to providing further updates to our GlobalGiving supporters!

Our program officer for Linda Dada leads a session
Our program officer for Linda Dada leads a session
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A Linda Dada session in progress
A Linda Dada session in progress

Since starting the second year of our revamped Health and Leadership Training program in May, we have reached over 1,800 participants in 15 schools across Narok County, bringing our total reach to almost 16,000 girls and boys over the past decade. The trainings, which are spread out into a six-month after-school program, teach boys and girls a number of important health and gender issues, including human rights, reproductive health, child marriage, self defense, and public speaking. This year we trained 36 facilitators to teach the curriculum. These facilitators, some of whom are former Health and Leadership Training participants, work hard to desensitize their students on these topics, which are considered taboo in rural communities.

One facilitator, Purity, is excited to see her students embrace the material, saying, “Our first lesson in the curriculum was on puberty and adolescence. Students were so quiet and shy they could not discuss the topic amongst themselves. But by the time we started the second lesson on menstruation and pregnancy, the class was so active. They had so many questions we ended up extending the lesson in order to respond to them all.” Thanks to the dedication of Purity and our other facilitators, we are empowering young people in the community with knowledge in these areas to prevent harmful cultural practices like female genital mutilation (FGM) and discourage risky teen behaviors.

The Linda Dada (“Protect a Sister” in Swahili) campaign, which is an extension of our Health and Leadership Training program, combats rising teen pregnancy rates in response to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Starting in December 2020, we organized monthly training sessions for young people and parents to educate and reduce the stigma around topics of teenage pregnancy, sexual exploitation, HIV/AIDS, and STIs. To date, we have reached 986 participants through a total of 11 sessions. Working with local radio and television stations, we also broadcasted information to 325,000 listeners and viewers. Two more training sessions are planned for the end of this year. For 2022, we will partner with other community-based nonprofits, faith-based organizations, and government agencies to expand into two additional subdivisions to reach over 2,200 direct participants.

We look forward to sharing more updates on our Health and Leadership Training and Linda Dada campaign with you in the new year!

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Learning about Linda Dada
Learning about Linda Dada

In May, Kakenya’s Dream launched its extensive six-month Health and Leadership Training in an effort to teach more girls and boys in our community essential information as they approach and navigate through adolescence. The trainings provide resources on reproductive health and rights as well as the harmful effects of female genital mutilation (FGM) and early marriage. We train youth Mentor Trainers, many of whom are program alumnae, to deliver the curriculum in a fun and engaging manner. The Mentors offer their friendship and guidance to facilitate group discussion on gender-related inequalities from the girl-centric perspective. This peer-led approach allows participants to learn how to advocate for themselves and others, develop effective communication and leadership skills, and build relationships with adults in the community who can lend support without judgement or stigma.

We collaborate closely with the Ministry of Education in an effort to expand our programming across the region. More schools each year express an interest in participating in our trainings. In 2021, we have been hard at work expanding our program capacity to fifteen additional schools, an increase from ten the previous year, and in 2022, we plan to partner with twenty more schools. 

The ongoing COVID pandemic has underscored the importance of health education. Over the course of the past year, we have witnessed an  increase in the number of unplanned, teenage pregnancies in our communities. We, in response, created the Linda Dada (“Protect a Sister” in Swahili) campaign as an extension of our Health and Leadership Trainings to raise awareness of and reduce unplanned teen pregnancies by working with various stakeholders, including community leaders, parents, teachers, media, and nurses. The Linda Dada campaign provides critical sexual and reproductive health information, training on healthy interpersonal communication and relationships, as well as forums to have honest conversations around related topics traditionally seen as taboo, such as FGM and child marriage. To date, we have held a series of stakeholder meetings and have partnered with local media to launch an advocacy campaign which has reached over 325,000 people.

We remain excited about the potential of our revamped Health and Leadership Trainings and the Linda Dada campaign. We look forward to providing you more updates on both in the coming months and years!

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Organization Information

Kakenya's Dream

Location: Arlington, VA - USA
Website:
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Twitter: @KakenyasDream
Project Leader:
Kakenya Ntaiya
Founder
Arlington, VA United States
$34,360 raised of $40,000 goal
 
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