“I was devastated when I found out I was pregnant with my fourth child! I could not believe I was getting another child, yet I had been telling people to plan their families. What would they think of me? I kept asking myself.” CHAT’s CORP partner, Sportman from Leang’ata, started. “To be honest, I had postponed the date for the removal of my 5-year implant and insertion of another one. This has always been my preferred contraception method. I chose to wait for the health facility to be restocked since it was out of stock. I should have gotten something to keep me safe for the time being, but I did not. That was a huge mistake.”
“When the facility was restocked a month later, I went in for the implant, but first, I had to be tested for pregnancy. At first, I was so confident that I was not pregnant, but then I started doubting myself when I realised, I was not protected against pregnancy - and the test proved my fears right - in a few months, I would have a baby, AGAIN! So, instead of getting contraception as initially intended, I was started on the antenatal clinics.”
“My husband did not take the news very well. He immediately started worrying about the pressure of feeding, clothing and educating the children. We want to provide a better life for our kids, and if we continue with this trend, we will be unable to get out of the scary cycle of poverty!” she lamented. “Well, I learnt my lesson. I am thankful that with the knowledge I have gotten from CHAT, I will always ensure there are enough family planning commodities in stock to serve all the women I refer for services during the door-to-door backpack.” She finished.
Thanks to GG support, in the past three months, CHAT was able to reach a total of 11,943 individuals with behaviour change information (bcc). 3,097 family planning clients received different contraception methods of their choice, of which 2,073 chose the long-term pregnancy protection methods of 3 & 5 years - against unwanted pregnancies.
“When women are able to plan their families, they are better able to plan their lives."
A smile at last
*Not their real names
Had she not made up her mind to embrace what other community members had termed as ‘anticultural’, her life would hitherto be similar to many other cases within the society. She emotionally narrates her story of how hard life was for her back in those days, and the bitter memories trigger tears down her cheeks. “I am lucky that these are tears of memories and not today’s realities!” she stated as Stella helped her wipe the tears. According to her, she never imagined one day she would ever tell her story since she had never had even a hint of how her life would change for the better.
“This lady has been more than a destiny aider- she revived my life. I was just enduring and not living,” she said, referring to Stella- CHAT’s partner, a community own resource person (CORP). “Telling her story took her more than courage and listening to it as well, but experiencing her story as it unfolded then, was more horrific than anything else,” said Stella as she echoed her words. Stella’s first experience with her client was when Stella met her with her three children by the road late in the evening after a domestic conflict. She had disagreed with her drunk husband due to his irresponsibility and had made up her mind that enough was enough.
Being passionate about empowering fellow women and seeing them thriving in life, Stella had a deeper conversation with *Naeku”. Though she did not have much to offer her at the time, she was confident that in the long run, the conversation would be part of Naeku’s success story soon, if not sooner. “I did no idea of how access to family planning would transform my situation before. But today, I agree that it solves especially so many of a woman’s problems,” stated Naeku happily as she explained how her situation changed after meeting CORP Stella. She acknowledged that her sessions with Stella helped open her mind and enabled her to see an opportunity to space her children, focus on more productive activities and support her husband in making their family better.
Stella would later visit Naeku’s house and share with Naeku’s husband about FP and its environmental and economic benefits. He would later admit he regretted that he had made his wife and children suffer because he was not aware of such interventions that would enable him to manage his family size and their scarce resources. He would later become a pro-FP mobiliser among fellow men in the community, encouraging them to embrace the intervention. Though it was not an easy experience, Stella was glad she was restoring family units and putting smiles on fellow women’s lives. “I cannot be any happier than seeing my fellow women smile and thrive just because of knowing where and how to access family planning,” said Stella as she wound up her story about Naeku.
Thanks to GG support, in the past three months, CHAT was able to reach a total of 12,943individuals with behaviour change information (bcc). 3,195 family planning clients received different contraception methods of their choice, of which 2,211 chose the long-term pregnancy protection methods of 3 & 5 years - against unwanted pregnancies.
“Contraceptives have a proven track record of enhancing the health of women and children, preventing unintended pregnancy, and reducing the need for abortion.” Louise Slaughter
*Not their real names
Nalobisho* could not stop herself from grinning each time she got closer to the clinic tent. She was here to get her first 5-year implant contraception method. The mother of six could not imagine having even one more child. Her husband, Nakuli*, sells charcoal, and Nalobisho is a housewife, but on market days, she sells tea and ‘mandazis’ (donuts) to traders. They do not have much to go around and live-in abject poverty.
CORP Susan met Nakuli by the roadside looking for customers. She took the opportunity to explain to Nakuli the effects making charcoal has on the environment, he responded that if he did not burn that charcoal, where would his family get food? “I have a family of 8. I did not go to school and have no economic skills except how to make charcoal. How will I feed, clothe and educate my children?” he asked. “My wife mostly stays at home taking care of our children as I try and find the money. At times I can go for days without selling even half a bag!” he exclaimed. Susan suggested that it was time to find another way of making money. Maybe helping his wife sell tea full time at the shopping centre would bring a steadier income.
Susan requested if they could go home to visit Nalobisho and talk to her more. They found the woman busy with chores while caring for her two little children. One is 3 years and the other a year and a half. This was no easy task. When she saw her husband and a guest, she thought of the task ahead to entertain them, which wore her down instantly. Susan asked her not to prepare as they were there to talk. She told them about the different FP contraception methods and their benefits. They thought it would be a good idea as a family to try the five years implant pregnancy protection method as it would give them a more extended period to get their affairs in order.
Since the CHAT motor mobile clinic was visiting their village, they agreed to meet there the following morning. After getting her implant, Nalobisho could not contain her joy. She was grateful to the organisation for enabling the mobile clinic to get to them and urged them to continue visiting to help more people in her community. She promised that whenever she heard the news of the vehicle coming, she would at least bring 3 women for the same service.
Thanks to GG support, in the past three months, CHAT was able to reach: a total of 13,862 individuals with behaviour change information (bcc), with 4,004 family planning clients receiving different contraception methods, of which 3,008 chose the long-term methods of 3 & 5 years’ protection against unwanted pregnancies.
“Every second, every day, every year, we fail to address demand for reproductive health and family planning services. Lives are lost, and girls' opportunities to thrive and contribute to their country's development shrink. These are real people.” Jenny Shipley
*not real name
As *Mzee Lkaseti was seated inline between women waiting to choose a FP method, Jackeline, CHAT’s Community Own Resource Person (CORP) partner could not understand why he was there sitting with women in the ‘FP’ line! This was at a motor mobile clinic in Suradoru, in Samburu. He was in no hurry to leave and as the line got closer to the tent Jackeline decided why not direct him appropriately. Upon asking him what he needed, he said that he would love for them to go home together with the team. This was a request he was making since he left his wife *Nashami doing her chores thus no opportunity for her to attend the clinic. When the team finished up with what they were doing, they followed Mzee to his home. They found his wife, Nashami, washing their last-born baby who was just two years old.
Mzee Lkaseti and Nashami have four children. Two are in school. One in the fields taking care of animals and now the two-year-old baby. “We have lost a lot of cattle and camels due to the drought. There are no rains and food. The water is not enough for both the animals and human consumption. Food has become more expensive and we barely have enough to feed on. With no sign of improvement, it’s time we started planning our family to the size that we can manage comfortably. I heard you people offer medicine that women use to help in the prevention of pregnancy. I would like to learn more from you then take it.” Mzee explained. He then excused himself to go look at their goats least one of them died. “They have been dying almost every day now. I am worried.” He said as he stepped out of the door
CORP Jackeline explained to Nashami the different methods of FP and their benefits as well as their disadvantages. She demonstrated how they are used and their different span of time they are for Nashami decided to use the three years implant and gauge if it suited her. With this, she was ensured that they would stay for the next 3 years without the worry of the family expanding. She got her three-year implant from the motor mobile nurse and being so happy she treated the team to some tea from the little milk she had.
‘Many men are starting to see the importance of managing their family sizes. They are allowing their women to get FP more and more. Out of this, I can see the change that is going to happen in a few years. It really makes me happy to see my job being well appreciated.’ Jackeline shared.
Thanks to GG support, in the past three months, CHAT was able to reach: a total of 12,911 individuals with behaviour change information (bcc) with 3,004 family planning clients receiving different contraception methods, of which 2,738 chose the long-term methods – 3 & 5 years’ protection against unwanted pregnancies.
‘There is a huge need for contraception in our communities. Women do not go to the hospital nor do they have adequate knowledge on the use of contraceptives. It will take a lot of intervention to ensure that they are aware of their right to contraception.’ CHAT CORP Eunice Karimi
*Not their real names
As the CHAT motor mobile team was settling into camp in Ntepes in Samburu after a days-long work, Nurse Ann noticed CORP Ntoijoni was seated at the furthest end with a woman. They were in deep conversation. She was curious thus decided to approach them. She found *Lesempa looking all scared but at the same time hopeful. She wanted to know why the lady had taken her time to come to the clinic only to sit there reluctantly, not sure what to do. She led them to the tent so they could talk more.
*Lesempa had come to the clinic to find a solution. She is 35 years old and has ten children. She doesn’t want any more. She was married at 20 years, which was an achievement since her sisters and peers mainly were married at only 15.
Her reason for getting FP was that she wanted to be able to send all her children to school, all the way to the end. Her youngest child is just 1 ½ years old, and she says she is scared if she has any more children, she won’t be able to afford school for them all. She had seen how Ntoijoni was able to educate her children and had learnt that recently, one had just finished high school and was attending computer classes in Maralal town (That was such a big deal to *Lesempa) . From the frequent interactions CORP Ntoijoni had with *Lesempa, she always encouraged her to plan her family whilst consideration of her recourses. Once Ntoijoni correlated the success of her children to how she planned her family, Lesempa started to see the light. She began to understand that the most significant benefit of FP is for her children’s future.
She was initially scared that her husband would be adamant and say that she had to continue having children. But to her surprise, he was in full support of her going for FP which was so admirable. She had never used FP before and said she used to fear because she heard lots of stories that it would do bad things to the body and make one sick. At the end of it all, Lesempa was able to get a five-year implant that would protect her from getting more children.
Thanks to GG support, in the past three months, CHAT was able to reach a total of 12,134 individuals with behaviour change information (bcc) with 3,912 family planning clients receiving different contraception methods, of which 3,001 chose the long-term methods - 3/5-years protection against unwanted pregnancies.
“Family planning is an integral part of development planning. It is an essential part for the reason that you cannot hope to plan other forms of production if you cannot plan the production of the main resource – the human beings.” Mwai Kibaki
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