Receiving a solar radio in the Angaza care package
Our planned activities for the year have, of course, taken an unexpected turn with the reality of the global health pandemic. With the spread of COVID-19 and school closures around the world, many aspects of Kakenya’s Dream’s operations - including our Health and Leadership Training - have been delayed, suspended, or otherwise modified. Kenya's schools have been closed since March and the government recently announced that they will remain closed through the rest of the year. Our girls do not have access to any kind of learning materials in their homes without Kakenya’s Dream support and, if left unaddressed, this would cause them to fall behind their peers in more resourced locations who are able to continue learning through radio programs, Whatsapp, and other media. We also know that in addition to missing academics, girls are lacking medical care, counseling, and reproductive health attention and information that we provide. Unfortunately, the longer our girls are away from school, the greater their risks and challenges are when they finally do return.
Our team has quickly pivoted our planned activities to immediately address these concerns and have been busy implementing new measures to protect and support our girls through this time. In May, we launched the Angaza Project, meaning “shine” in Swahili. Through the Angaza Project, our team is providing care packages to our students and their families that include the basic necessities they lack at home, such as soap, feminine hygiene products, and food staples. We also purchased solar-powered radios to allow the girls to access the lessons being delivered through national and local radio stations by the Ministry of Education, as well as solar lights, story books, textbooks, and other learning materials. We will be regularly distributing supplies as long as the crisis continues and hope that this support will mitigate some of the challenges our girls are facing while at home.
Additionally, COVID has only exacerbated the already alarmingly high rates of teen pregnancy in our region. Even before the pandemic, our communities have the highest rate of teen pregnancy in the country, currently at 40% - over twice the national average of 18%. Our team recognizes we need a stronger prevention strategy to combat early pregnancy and provide training on healthy interpersonal relationships. Beginning this fall/early winter, we plan to launch a community advocacy radio program to educate teenagers and young adults about how to be in control of their bodies, avoid unintended pregnancies, and learn about responsible family planning. We look forward to sharing more information in the next upcoming report - in the meantime, please sign up for our newsletter and connect with us via social media to get the latest updates!
Thank you for your continued belief in our work and your unwavering support of our girls. We are in this together.
An eighth grader with her Angaza care package