| Oct 6, 2023
Building our Community's Commitment to Gender Equality
Celebrating the Day of the African Child in June
Since May, our afterschool Health and Leadership Training Program has been taught across 30 schools in two counties, the Narok and Kisii Counties. Once the program concludes in November, 5,638 girls and boys will be educated on comprehensive sexual and reproductive health, the dangers of female genital mutilation (FGM) and child marriage, and trained in advocacy and communication skills.
Over the past five months, staff have met regularly with the peer trainers that teach the curriculum to collect their feedback and provide support. Trainers have reported active student engagement and increased curiosity to discuss typically taboo topics like abuse or child marriage. Teachers have also noticed positive changes in students, such as greater confidence and eagerness to participate in class activities and higher school attendance rates. We are thrilled to see these young people’s enthusiasm and hunger to learn about their bodies, health, and rights! As the program winds down for the year, our staff will be preparing for next year’s implementation by tailoring the curriculum to be grade appropriate for different ages. They will also build more engagement opportunities into the curriculum for students’ teachers and parents to help reinforce lessons and invest in their children’s learning.
On June 17 for the Day of the African Child (DAC), we partnered with six peer organizations and the local Ministry of Education to host an event that raised awareness of children’s rights. 1,110 students, parents, and community members heard speeches from Irene Kemunto, the acting Deputy County Commissioner for our sub-county, and Naserian, a student from our boarding high school, on the need for holistic community support to protect children’s rights, especially for girls. Local TV and radio stations broadcasted the event with our message reaching thousands of viewers and listeners. Throughout the month of June, members of our staff also went on local radio talk shows to raise awareness on child rights, reaching an estimated total of 500,000 listeners. By using both in-person and media platforms to share about our work and the issues we tackle, we can effect positive changes in social norms around girls’ education with local youth and community members.
The Linda Dada (“Protect a Sister”) campaign, which is housed under our Health and Leadership Program, was launched in Fall 2020 to bring awareness and prevention of teenage pregnancy among community members like parents, local community and religious leaders, and out-of-school youth. To date, we have reached 4,416 individuals through monthly discussion forums and 825,000 indirectly through media and radio campaigns. The issue of teenage pregnancy and harmful practices like FGM remain prevalent in the counties where we operate. In fact, 66% of girls have undergone FGM and in Narok County alone, 28% of girls have experienced pregnancy–nearly twice the country average of 15% (2022 Kenya Demographic and Health Survey). The campaign, along with our other advocacy and awareness initiatives, fosters community dialogue and destigmatizes taboo topics like teenage pregnancy, sexual health, and FGM to shift community attitudes towards greater gender equality.
We are deeply grateful for people like you in the GlobalGiving community. Your continued support means that thousands of girls, boys, and community members are being empowered with critical health education. As 2023 comes to an end, we look forward to sharing the impact of your generosity in the months ahead!
Students learning in a H&L session