Our Esteemed Supporters and Cheerleaders,
Thanks to your important support, we reached 313 pupils including 160 boys and 153 girls at Sirete primary school on 17th April 2023. Sirete is located at a hard to reach sub location in Nyamira County a place which is showing high prevalence numbers especially in hard to reach sub-locations. Our staff and Health and rights promoters often have to go out of their way to access such schools and often have to use a bodaboda (mortal cycle). Our sole objective was to educate the pupils about the harmful effects of FGM, how to resist it through speaking up as well as reporting to the authorities.
As you would expect at first the pupils were shy and secretive in talking with HFAW advocates about FGM. Using their popular education approach which is nothing less than participatory HFAW taught the kids to discover how harmful the FGM practice is; what it is, its effects on children and mothers and the whole community. They ensured that the pupils got to unveil the root causes of FGM. How it is rooted in gender inequalities in this community where only boys are allowed to inherit property and how in some homes girls do not compete equally with girls at school despite the fact that in each of these villages girls number more than boys. They then touched on step by step process for resistance by saying no to the cut, reporting to the 116 number, reporting to the elders, and to the community health promoters.
Slowly by slowly the advocates build the pupils confidence to share and speak up about the trends which they see in their village from year to year. Eliana, not her real name, eloquently shared how she was cut at 10 years. “It was really painful and I could not run away from the women who held me down and covered my mouth with dirty linen.” She said with teary eyes. “I wish I knew all these that you have told us today.” She expressed.
Olive shared how her younger sister was recently transported to her grandmother for the cut. “I wish you had been here, we would have known what to do. “She said. Staff challenged the young boys to fight side by side with the girls in ending FGM and work hard with girls to become Nyamira youth ambassadors to end FGM. They were told that in other parts of Nyamira we already have such anti-fgm ambassadors. “You should be pioneers in this area” said Joyce. And the youngsters did not disappoint. They were more than ready and promised to speak up in the villages and churches.
As our valued Supporter and cheerleader, we want you to know that your financial assistance enables us to accomplish far more than we could ever express in words. Saving just one girl means so much to these girls and the HFAW team.
Please share our donation links with your friends and family and explain why their contribution will safe a girl from the FGM cut. Let them know why you care about this project. Ones again, with much gratitude, we thank you for your continued support.
Dear friends and esteemed supporters,
In our effort to continually train health and human rights promoters 16 days of activism provided an opportunity for HFAW Founder, Grace Mose, who is also a lecturer at Kenyatta University to mentor the young Kenyatta University students on how to speak up against violence against women and girls. Many times students in this country graduate from institutions of higher learning without ever getting a chance to learn practical skills of advocacy. So many students have approached to volunteer at HFAW but often they do not know how to speak up against the vices in communities such as GBV, FGM early marriages, early pregnancies and child abuse. Last year’s 16th days of advice provided a great opportunity for these students to learn the skills. A number of them have committed to proceed to the grassroots and agitate for change and today was the start.
“At first, I was so afraid to speak up as we sang but I gained confidence as we chanted around,” said Elizabeth who was one of those being mentored. Iam Inspired, said Josephine. I want to do this again, said John.
These young people were so happy to discover that what they see others doing around the world is indeed possible with them as they shouted and sang messages: unite and stand up against GBV; No society without women; end GBV, silence will not help us, respect women, men have a role to play etc. to mention a few. It was an inspiring day and these students could not wait for yet another activism day.
HFAW works in communities such as Nyamira and Kajiado where FGM is rampant and young girls are becoming pregnant in numbers among other vices. To you our supporters, we want you to know how grateful we are for your continued support. Thank you for investing in HFAW. As we transition these young people to agitate against GBV, FGM and early pregnancies, we bank on you. Our communities are better because of how you choose to donate to our project. Please share our reports with your friends and family and explain to them the difference you are making when you donate to HFAW. Thank you for choosing to walk with us.
Sincerely and with gratitude,
Grace B Mose-Okong’o
To Our Dear Supporters, it is our pleasure to share the activities of August 2022; HFAW health and human rights promoters visited Riabagaka primary school with the aim of creating awareness on child rights, child abuse and body and environment hygiene. We managed to reach a population of 209 for both teachers and pupils. Where 127 were boys while 82 were girls. A key challenge in the school were more than 30 jigger infected pupils.
Gladys, one of our grassroots health promoters was responsible in addressing the children about hygiene. During this time, one of our other facilitating health promoters noticed a girl crying among the pupils. At the end of the session, one of the teachers requested support in terms of hygiene kits and shoes for 31 pupils with jiggers.
Our health promoters took the girl aside to know what was happening; that was when they realized that she was not only jiggers infested but also undergoing other forms of violence and experienced extreme poverty from home.
“I could relate with the forms of abuse you said since I am a victim, I was unable to with stand the pain, and that is why I started crying.” said Lorna a grade six pupil at Riabagaka primary school
Jigger infestation is related to poverty which leads to neglecting hygiene issues. Children risk dropping out of school due to the situation which stigmatizes them due to ridicule by others. They also risk spreading diseases such as HIV/AIDS when they share needles and pins as removing equipment for the jiggers.
The health and human rights promoters discussed with the teachers about the girl’s situation. They shared that the children, especially girls, had a difficult situation. Others sometimes missed school because of the jiggers and lack of sanitary towels. He requested if we could provide jigger sanitation kit and shoes for the 30 pupils identified as jigger infested so that they can be able to attend classes.
"We need you to come back; as you can see, the students are very interested with the information and in dire need of pads and shoes for jigger-infested pupils. It is a crisis." said the school head teacher
Our supporters, we request you to be part of the treatment and rehabilitation of our needy children. Please consider donating and informing your friends, family, and networks about HFAW and our jigger campaign for children to remain in schools. We plan to extend our support to their caregivers to improve their livelihoods in the near future when funds allow.
To Our Friends and Supporters,
Meet Maria from the Nyamusi ward of Nyamira, Kenya. She is elderly and a good example of many grandmothers and grandfathers who live with their grandchildren. Like many of her age mates she is jigger infested and an ardent supporter of FGM.
HFAW recently did an advocacy in Nyamusi School and found students who are jigger infected. We discovered that their grandparents are jigger infested as well. An earlier project with elderly and women living with disabilities had already exposed this jigger problem. Maria recounted how she had lost her daughter to diseases including jiggers. Because she is poor and did not own even a radio, she had no access to information on jigger’s prevention and issues of FGM.
It is hard to close our eyes to such a problem even though it is outside our mandate. Our role was to sanitize her and her house as well as educate about jigger issue and its eradication. We also spoke with other our trained health promoters to begin extending our work to this unreached village. In addition, we were able to educate her and others on FGM and its consequences. She was surprised that FGM was a harmful practice because she was teaching people to do it.
‘I didn’t know FGM is harmful’ said Maria. She encouraged us to tell the younger people.
She was grateful for the jigger treatment including that of her grandchildren.
Dear friend, we thank you for choosing to walk this journey of transforming the lives of girls and women and men in our community. What we did to the few grandmothers and grandfathers is the tip of the ice bug. Many more women need to be reached. It is one of the most heartbreaking situation we have ever come across. Kindly continue sharing with your friends and family so that they can support our work. Many grandmothers and grandfathers and children who are jigger infested expect us to go back and sanitize more homes.
Dear Friend and Partner
Happy New Year
It is wonderful to speak to you again. The new year brings hope and renewed energy to advocate for what is right and safe, and strengthen efforts in amplifying the voice of the vulnerable and people who need our help. As we reflect on what that means to us and how that guides our project of training community health and human rights promoters to help in fighting FGM.
When we started this project, we were ordinary people who saw the power of training in ending cultural vices ailing our society and threatening to subject vulnerable girls and women to the vicious cycle.
The number of community health promoters trained and continuing to effectively and collaboratively conduct end-FGM, end-teenage pregnancy, and teaching life skills education has increased to more than 80. Furthermore, we are happy to have created links and networks at the local level leaders and healthcare providers. This milestone has impeccably transformed our operations at an organizational level and positive impact in creating needed conversations surrounding the safety and health of girls and women in Kenya.
Moreover, before going into the end-year break, we had a wonderful session documenting our story with support from the GlobalGiving team. Words cannot express how happy and humbled we were when we received news of this opportunity. This necessitated HFAW to bring on board the community health and human rights promoters who have been key in making a positive impact on the lives of girls and women who are at risk of FGM. The video follows the journey of our founder, Dr. Grace Mose Okong'o. We look forward to sharing with you the final video. Our hope is that by taking part in this, you get to see the amazing work your support has done in our community.
Looking into 2022, we are more hopeful that this is the year to make our voices in ending FGM, teenage pregnancy, and gender-based violence louder and bolder. We welcome you to continue joining hands with Hope Foundation for African Women.
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