Saving Kenya's Environment Through Family Planning

by Communities Health Africa Trust
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Saving Kenya's Environment Through Family Planning
Saving Kenya's Environment Through Family Planning
Saving Kenya's Environment Through Family Planning
Saving Kenya's Environment Through Family Planning
Saving Kenya's Environment Through Family Planning
Saving Kenya's Environment Through Family Planning
Saving Kenya's Environment Through Family Planning
Saving Kenya's Environment Through Family Planning
Saving Kenya's Environment Through Family Planning
Saving Kenya's Environment Through Family Planning
Saving Kenya's Environment Through Family Planning
Saving Kenya's Environment Through Family Planning
Saving Kenya's Environment Through Family Planning
Saving Kenya's Environment Through Family Planning
Saving Kenya's Environment Through Family Planning
Saving Kenya's Environment Through Family Planning
Saving Kenya's Environment Through Family Planning
Saving Kenya's Environment Through Family Planning
Saving Kenya's Environment Through Family Planning
Saving Kenya's Environment Through Family Planning
Saving Kenya's Environment Through Family Planning
Saving Kenya's Environment Through Family Planning
Saving Kenya's Environment Through Family Planning
Saving Kenya's Environment Through Family Planning
Saving Kenya's Environment Through Family Planning
Saving Kenya's Environment Through Family Planning
Saving Kenya's Environment Through Family Planning
Saving Kenya's Environment Through Family Planning
Saving Kenya's Environment Through Family Planning
CHAT Nurse providing a 3- year implant to a lady
CHAT Nurse providing a 3- year implant to a lady

As they bid the community goodbye after 7 days of sensitizing them with family planning information, Rose, CHAT’s FPCORP, could not hide her joy due to the significant effect they were making especially in the lives of the young school-going girls. Just as she was about to enter the car and start their journey back, she noted a middle-aged woman who was shouting her name from a distance. 

Despite that the team, with the locum nurse, was somehow in a hurry to return, Rose couldn’t afford to ignore the woman who had made such effort to attract her attention and now running towards her. Catching up and calling Rose aside, she said “I can’t believe that you are going back, we need you to stay for a longer time and sensitize our daughters.” Out of her wisdom, Rose was keen to respond to this woman, so she said “It could not be better than this, my sister; we have done the most important thing - to educate you. I believe so far and with that information, our daughters are in a position to make an informed decision.”

The woman nodded back in agreement to the response Rose had given and stated that the information was given at just the right time and in the right manner. She went further to admit that since the reporting of the first case of COVID-19 when the schools were consequently closed, the parents had experienced so many struggles in keeping up with their teenage daughters who had just started “knowing themselves”. She mentioned to Rose that her greatest fear was the risk of her two daughters getting unwanted pregnancies, as she herself still struggles to single-handedly educate them.

As usual, Rose remained keen on the kind of responses she was giving the lady, realizing the community so much relied on the information that they receive from her. She then shared with her that it was the parent’s responsibility to share with their children on sexuality as they grow, as this was one of the factors that had contributed to a majority of teenage pregnancies. She then wrapped up the conversation by saying, “Despite about access to family planning, we have also shared with your daughters on the need for safe sex and abstinence, as this will also save them from a myriad of repercussions including contacting STIs’ & HIV/AIDs.

It was the team’s joy that they had also capacity build the facility nurse on how to offer the family planning services to the clients. According to Rose, it was such an impact made within a short time- and this continues to make her passionate about what she does. 

Thanks to GG support - in the past three months CHAT was able to reach a total of 4,982 individuals with behavior change communication (bcc) information with 1,523 family planning clients receiving different contraception methods, of which 1,222 chose the long-term methods giving 3 and 5-years protection against unwanted pregnancies & 22,315 condoms were distributed.

“Childbearing, I mean, if there's no place to go to deliver your baby, then you're the one that's delivering in those unhealthy circumstances. Or if you can't get access to family planning, your chances of surviving and being able to bring your kids up if they come one right after the other, that is what locks you into a cycle of poverty”

 Melinda Gates

Sensitization during a motor mobile clinic
Sensitization during a motor mobile clinic
Ongoing motormobile activity
Ongoing motormobile activity
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Roundsitting sensitization with women at Merti HC
Roundsitting sensitization with women at Merti HC

*not their real names

“It’s quite a long distance from my place, but I always find it quite satisfying to serve my communities and especially fellow women,” were CHAT’s CORP partner Madina’s  words as was sharing about - her experiences while championing family planning (FP)  intervention within the communities. She wwent on to narrate about an encounter with one of the clients she had referred three years before in Merti.

She had visited the facility - as she usually did in every quarter - and this day, she was giving health education to the women that were attending “clinic day”. She had passionately taken the women through the & positive effects  FP had to their health and family and using the PHE approach, to hammer home the socio-ecological correlation of the FP intervention. Just before she had concluded her session with her prospect FP clients, she was interrupted by a lady who had just been dropped by a boda-boda at the facilityand ran towards them shouting her name.

This drew the attention of the women who were keenly listening to Madina. Madina was surprised to hear the lady shout her name. At first, she did not recognize her till she realized it was Hamsa*, whom she had visited three years before finding her at her lowest moment. Hamsa had five children and with no job, they all depended on her husbands’ minimum wage as a sales assistant in the local shop. They barely had enough for themselves and largely depended on the school feeding program to feed her children which only provided one small meal a day.

Without even introducing herself to the group of women, Hamsa went ahead and started appreciating Madina and piling praises on her for having changed her life. She was bold to criticize women in the community who were living in absolute poverty due to unmanageable family sizes. “Please my fellow women understand that as long as we don’t get responsible for our own health and the number of children we have, we will remain slaves to poverty and our male counterparts,” said the lady in a bitter tone.

She narrated how Madina visited her house three years back and shared about the environment, health and population and how these are all corelated. She explained how it has empowered her even to pursue business opportunities. She explained that ever since, she has been keen on the return date for removal and re-insertion and it was her return day. Madina was really happy to see that she had made an impact in someone’s life! More so in a way that she is so passionate about and believes in. As she concluded giving the health talk, Madina had all the joy to tell her audience “you are more familiar with this lady and how the family planning has empowered her. It is my joy that each of us lives to tell a story, a story of how different her life has been transformed through FP.”

In the past three months, through your support CHAT was able to reach a total of 3,982 individuals with behavior change communication (bcc) information and with 1,101 clients receiving different FP methods of which 934 chose the long-term contraception method providing 3 and 5 years protection against unwanted pregnancies.  21,615 condoms were also distributed.                                                                                                                      

"We cannot confront the massive challenges of poverty, hunger, disease and environmental destruction unless we address issues of population and reproductive health"

Thoraya Obaid

Service provision during a CHAT Mobile clinic
Service provision during a CHAT Mobile clinic
A thriving enviroment in CHAT operation area.
A thriving enviroment in CHAT operation area.
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Sensitization by Backpacking CORP
Sensitization by Backpacking CORP

*Not their real names

CHAT’s community own resource person (CORP) partner, Esther, had just finished explaining to the community members of Tulanga on the strong connection between family planning and the environment; but what was odd was that the women were more in awe of the teachings about family planning. She demonstrated to them how the different methods are used.  One-woman, Lemoole* a 23-year-old mother of three, stood up and told the other women that she was lying. She knew of a friend of hers who had been inserted an implant method and it travelled to heart - now she was just waiting for death!

As insane as it sounded, other women believed her. They thought that it was a plot to finish them since one of their own knew it was bad. Lemoole then went on to say that the friend is now weak and she cannot do anything. And just like that - Esther had a new challenge to overcome! She first had to convince Lemoole that all this was not true. She explained that it was just a small match stick-like thing that goes just under the skin and it never moves. She went on to show them her implant that had been on her arm for months and not moved even an inch.

 Lost for words, Lemoole slowly agreed that it, indeed, was true. the implant does not move along the arm. She confessed that it was just misinformation. Then suddenly she decided to get it herself then went ahead and ttold other women that she now understand the importance. Although the others asked why she was being a chameleon, all Lemoole could say rather regrettably, is that she wished she had got the right information earlier.

 

 

In the past three months, through your support CHAT was able to reach a total of 2,481 individuals with behavior change communication (bcc) information with 1,089 clients receiving different FP methods of which 911 chose the long-term methods of 3- and 5-years protection.  15,211 condoms were distributed.       

 

“The single biggest threat to our planet is the destruction of habitat and along the way loss of precious wildlife. We need to reach a balance where people, habitat, and wildlife can co-exist – if we don’t everyone loses … one day.”

Steve Irwin"

                                                                                                                               

CHAT Camel Mobile
CHAT Camel Mobile
An indigenous flower in areas where CHAT operates.
An indigenous flower in areas where CHAT operates.
Nothern Kenya Motor Mobile services by CHAT.
Nothern Kenya Motor Mobile services by CHAT.
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Men being sensitized on FP with a PHE approach
Men being sensitized on FP with a PHE approach

*not real name

“We used to experience good rains in this part of the country back in ‘90s and before. What has happened!?” laments Legusuranga* as he chatted with other men under a dry tree with little shade. “Food was in plenty and pasture for our animals was enough to run us up to the next season.”

Legusuranga hails from Lekuru village in Samburu county, an area that has been experiencing long dry periods over the last five plus years consecutively. Animals have been dying and people seem to be experiencing increasing hardship.

 Zipporah, CORP partner working alongside CHAT, has been sensitizing communities using the Population Health & Environment (PHE) approach with a focus on providing access to family planning services. During her visit in Lekuru village, she found the men in discussion. To bring out the aspect of men involvement in family planning, Zipporah was categorical in the way she approached the men collectively, with her understanding of the patriarchal culture she was brought up in, where men control all decisions made concerning the family.

The session with CORP Zipporah brewed into a hot discussion where the men eventually came to under that it’s through cutting down of trees and overstocking of livestock due to several reasons, one being to create space for the growing population that their land that once provided “milk and honey” was now a desert. They also got to understand that the man, as the head of family, was vital in leading the discussion about family planning they all nodded in agreement with this and commented that it is a noble idea to adopt.

“Thanks, so much our daughter, we will have to rethink our ways now. We need to conserve existing indigenous trees and plant more trees especially in areas where they can grow easily” replied one of the men. “Its quite unfortunate we have not come to understand this years ago”

“Its never too late to start” Zipporah quoted and helped them to plan how to start a conservation group for easy coordination of activities at the village level including the continued dissemination of information about family planning which combines a strong element of environmental conservation.  It was a starting point for this village.

“Today we are faced with a challenge that calls for a shift in our thinking, so that humanity stops threatening its life-support system. We are called to assist the Earth to heal her wounds and, in the process, heal our own - indeed to embrace the whole of creation in all its diversity, beauty and wonder. Recognizing that sustainable development, democracy and peace are indivisible is an idea whose time has come” Wangari Maathai

In the past three months, through your support CHAT was able to reach a total of 3,781 individuals with behavior change communication (bcc) information with 1,507 clients receiving different FP methods of which 1020 chose the long-term methods of 3- and 5-years protection.  18,777 condoms were distributed.

CHAT Camel Mobile going into arid areas
CHAT Camel Mobile going into arid areas
Sensitization during backpack
Sensitization during backpack
Service provision during a CHAT motor mobile
Service provision during a CHAT motor mobile
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A CHAT Mobile clinic set up in rural areas
A CHAT Mobile clinic set up in rural areas

*Not their real names

As the team was providing services at Ngilati village, a woman, jovial but in some sort of a hurry,  said to the mobile clinic driver

‘I am so delighted to see this car, please come to Sananguri - there is a wedding tomorrow. We are in great need.’ Even before the driver could ask more, the woman had already started striding away. The driver shared with CHAT’s CORP partner, Pauline, who explained that in the next community, that’s where the wedding would be. The team continued providing their services then made preparations  to serve more clients at the wedding the following day.  

Early morning, they set camp right outside Sanaguri. Having gone ahead, CORP Pauline had already started sensitizing the community. She specifically started with the lady who had, the previous day, passed by the vehicle. Leyantai* had heard about the services offered by the yellow landrover she wanted to learn more and see if it was an option for her.

Leyantai is a third wife, having been married to a man who only had daughters. She knew she was doomed for since she too had the same predicament as her preceding co-wives, having to give birth until it’s a boy. She now had seven girls and no boy yet. She was tired and wanted a rest. She felt like she did not need any more children. Leyantai knew this was a safe place to access the much-needed help. Her husband was happy and making merry with his mates so telling him she needed a little break at this time was not going to be hard.

And indeed, when she shared with her husband after talking to CORP Pauline, so as to understand better, he agreed that she could rest from having a child for sometime but with the condition that she still had the obligation of giving him a son. Leyantei was the happiest woman at the wedding, even happier than the bride! She chose and received the a five-year protection implant. She knew that this would help her a lot for the next few years.

‘You have helped me a lot today. Ashe Oleng!’’ Leyantai said, and then she called all her friends and told them about family planning (fp) immediately she left the service tent.

‘This is a very smart woman. I wish we can have hundreds more like her in every community.’ Pauline commented as she went back to get some more women from the wedding to inform and be able to access services.

 

In the past three months, with support from our GG donors  cost shared with others -we have been able to reach 34,192 individuals (both men and women) with behavior change information ( BCC) about family planning – using  a Population Health & Environment (PHE)  approach and 8,511 chose and were provided with different methods of contraception.

“A nation that destroys its soils destroys itself. Forests are the lungs of our land, purifying the air and giving fresh strength to our people.” Franklin D. Roosevelt

CHAT Nurse providing services to a client.
CHAT Nurse providing services to a client.
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Communities Health Africa Trust

Location: NANYUKI, LAIKIPIA REGION - Kenya
Website:
Project Leader:
SHARON WREFORD-SMITH
NANYUKI, LAIKIPIA REGION Kenya
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