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Train 120 Health & Human Rights promoters in Kenya

by Hope Foundation for African Women (HFAW)
Train 120 Health & Human Rights promoters in Kenya
Train 120 Health & Human Rights promoters in Kenya
Train 120 Health & Human Rights promoters in Kenya
Train 120 Health & Human Rights promoters in Kenya
Train 120 Health & Human Rights promoters in Kenya
Train 120 Health & Human Rights promoters in Kenya
Train 120 Health & Human Rights promoters in Kenya
Train 120 Health & Human Rights promoters in Kenya
Train 120 Health & Human Rights promoters in Kenya
Train 120 Health & Human Rights promoters in Kenya
Train 120 Health & Human Rights promoters in Kenya
Train 120 Health & Human Rights promoters in Kenya
Train 120 Health & Human Rights promoters in Kenya
Train 120 Health & Human Rights promoters in Kenya
Train 120 Health & Human Rights promoters in Kenya
Train 120 Health & Human Rights promoters in Kenya
Train 120 Health & Human Rights promoters in Kenya
Train 120 Health & Human Rights promoters in Kenya
Train 120 Health & Human Rights promoters in Kenya
Train 120 Health & Human Rights promoters in Kenya
Train 120 Health & Human Rights promoters in Kenya
Train 120 Health & Human Rights promoters in Kenya
Girango residents with Gladys, HFAW CHHRP
Girango residents with Gladys, HFAW CHHRP

Dear Partner and Friend


 What a wonderful feeling to speak to you about the progress being made in training health and human rights promoters in Kenya. Your support has enabled us to make tremendous steps in fighting for the rights of women and girls in our community. Today, we wish to tell you about Girango Dispensary community outreach where we training 40 adults on how to be the champions of positive change in their community.


When we came to you with appeals to support this project, we did not anticipate the impact it would have in fighting for the health and human rights of the community. Following the restrictions of movement due to the outbreak of Covid-19, we now realize how important it easy to have a health and human right promoter in at least every household. Our visit to Girango dispensary revealed that there are rising cases of domestic violence, teenage pregnancy, FGM, and child abuse. This may be because of the increased socio-economic pressure created by Covid-19. But we would be lying if we said that such problems are new; they have just become rampant.


The community members in Girango were taught on the reproductive health and rights of women and girls, the effects of child abuse, the health effects of FGM, and the need to be an empowered community in all spheres of life. Nyamira is among the counties in Kenya leading in cases of GBV, teenage pregnancy, and FGM. Therefore, it was so critical that Girango residents know how the problems are limiting their development as a community. We ended the session by creating action plans where each person trained explained what they planned to do, when, and how they will implement the actions so that the challenges explained can end.


Dear partner and friend, empowering the community is a journey that we are focussed on covering. We are humbled by your support. We urge you to continue supporting us through sharing information on this project with your friends and loved ones. We are hopeful that they will see the change you are making in the world. Thank you.

Training session by a CHHRP from  the area
Training session by a CHHRP from the area
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Media outreach at Minto FM, Kenya
Media outreach at Minto FM, Kenya

Dear Friend and Partner

We hope you are fine and safe. It is a tough time.  We would like to remind you that we are strong, resilient, and will come out of this stronger. We hope you and your loved ones are keeping safe.  We are humbled by your support. It makes our community a better place each day.  

The pandemic adds to the endless list of the problems our community currently deals with. The restrictions on movements enforced through the partial lockdown in Kenya has made it challenging for CHHRPs to hold advocacy activities on the ground. Luckily, it is also the time we have apprehended how the media can come in handy in creating awareness on the issues affecting our society. Therefore, during this period, we have been empowering the masses with skills and knowledge on how to end FGM, various forms of GBV, create awareness on how to stop the spread of Corona Virus, and promoting children’s rights.  Also, we have employed equally effective social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter to run campaigns targeting the same topic areas. We are happy to report that we have received positive outcomes from the platforms. We have reached at least 40,000 people nation-wide through radio and over 500 through our social media platforms.The community members have been responding positively to the messages and even asking how they can continue to be champions of change while obeying the measures input by the government of Kenya to control the spread of Corona.

Dear partner, you have been so kind and generous to our community. You have given us hope that change is possible. We ask you not to relent. We need your support on the journey to train more CHHRPs through alternative and effective methods. Please consider sharing our work with your close friends and families so that they can see the positive impact you are making in Kenya. Above all, stay Safe. 

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Participants learning on GBV
Participants learning on GBV

 

Dear Friend and Partner

We had a men’s training in Kebirigo, Nyamira County, on men living with FGM survivors. This was in line with our goal to train 120 health and human rights promoters in Kenya. On this forum, we trained 25 men, and we are happy to report to you the outcome of the meeting. Our prior efforts, supported by your generous donations, have created fruits since more CHHRPs are seeing the importance of involving men in ending FGM and addressing other health issues more than ever before. In fact, the beneficiaries of the project now offer to spread the end FGM messages and mobilize for other members of the community to be trained.

We covered topics like civic education, child protection, economic empowerment, Gender-Based Violence, and the health effects of FGM. While these areas of training may seem varied, our goal is to promote the empowerment of the community with priority to ending FGM, which have been proven to be connected to the gaps in knowledge helpful in addressing the challenges.

‘I have learned the various forms of gender-based violence. I appreciate this training because it has clarified that all the factors provided as reasons for GBV are merely triggers. I know that the real reason for the continued violence we continue to experience in families is because of gender roles. Chances are, a  man beats his wife because he considers her weak and believes he can get away with it. Otherwise, if he does it because of being annoyed, the he would be fighting his peers at social joints anytime they disagree with him’, said Twara, a local pastor at Kebirigo.

Some of the high point of discussion during the training was on the prevalence of FGM in the region. As we have mentioned in our previous reports, the 2014 Kenya Demographic Health Survey ranked Nyamira and Kisii among the areas with the highest prevalence of FGM. Apart from FGM, the regions are also affected by social problems like teenage pregnancies, poverty, and school drop-out. The situation has led to conclusions that FGM may be connected to the rise of these problems, specifically among the Abagusii. However, we are hopeful that the next report will show decrease in FGM, because of the work we have been doing because of your support.

'My wife and I realized the effects of FGM just recently. Today, I have gained a deeper insight into the issue. Now I feel more informed to advocate for alternative rites of passage. Our church usually holds training for girls and boys transitioning from primary school to secondary school. During this forum, other members of the community and I, usually condemn FGM’, said Peter, a participant during the training.

Dear partner, the milestones we are making in the community point to a positive future. Thank you for your donations. While there is still more to be done, we do not underestimate where we have come from-courtesy of your support. We encourage you to share our work with your friends and family so that they see the positive impact you are making in our community.

A participant engaging with HFAW facilitators
A participant engaging with HFAW facilitators
Demonstration of how unity empowers the community
Demonstration of how unity empowers the community
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Sali speaking on challenge of teenage pregancies
Sali speaking on challenge of teenage pregancies

Dear Friend and Partner,

We wish to thank you supporting the development of our community through empowering men and women to be community health and human rights promoters. We have trained them and impacted them with skills that they are using to address the challenges experienced in the community. While there is still more work to be done, we appreciate that, courtesy of the efforts by the CHHRPs, more parents are shunning FGM, girls are expressing interests in continuing with education instead of engaging in behavior that put them at risk of teenage pregnancies, and matters previously discussed in low tones like menstrual hygiene and sexual and reproductive health are being discussed in open forums hence leading to effective and long-term solutions. 

On the 14th of October, we marked the International Day of the Girl Child at Nyaronde grounds, Nyamira. We focussed on advocating for the end of FGM, teenage pregnancies, period-shaming, and encouraging girls to stay focused on their education. The projected received special support from Khatsimi Simami, Ph.D. student, University of Washington, Information School. The event attracted more than one hundred girls and women from Nyaronde, Nyamira. The day is usually marked annually worldwide on every 11th of October. However, the community members requested us to hold the event on the 14th. The CHHRPs expressed interest in being part and parcel of this day so that they could use this platform to continue advocating for the protection of girls and women’s rights. 

The event began with a walk covering a distance of at least 5 km. Then the participants convened at Nyaronde grounds to discuss the theme of the day, Gilrforce, unscripted, and unstoppable. The highlight of the day was the provision of sanitary towels to girls from deprived backgrounds who can barely afford sanitary towels.The idea was inspired by a sad case of a girl who committed suicide because her allegedly teacher ridiculed her for staining her skirt with her menstrual blood. By gifting the girls sanitary towels, HFAW hoped to change the negative attitude towards mothly periods and increase the confidence and sense of self-worth among girls who live in an environment that rarely give them emotional and economic support during such moments. 

‘Many of us struggle to get sanitary towels. Worse is the fact that no one psychologically prepares us for the effects periods will have on our bodies. I witnessed my primary school classmate refusing to leave her seat in class until everyone is gone because of being worried about stains. I have also had moments where I lack sanitary pads hence using pieces of clothing which is unhygienic and unhealthy. Sometimes I would resort to missing school. I know I am not alone. Something needs to be done. We are grateful to organizations like HFAW, which are working to eliminate the problem’, Catherine, a 17-year old girl.

‘I believe that teenage pregnancy is still among the main challenges affecting girls in this area. I do not have a child. I owe that to the mentorship I have received from my sister and parents. Also, I want to focus on excelling in my studies first, get a good job, then think about starting a family. I wish other girls would receive the type of support I have received. We would not be witnessing the high cases of teenage pregnancies in this region.’, said Sali.

‘Words cannot begin to describe how thoughtful this project was. I enjoyed being part of this. I plan to issue the pads to girls whom we identified. I hope you consider doing this in this area again. It directly impacts and uplifts girls’, Jackie, the area sub-chief.

Dear friend and partner, after wrapping up the event at Nyaronde grounds, the HFAW team went to Pisgan primary school to gift girls from poor backgrounds with sanitary towels. The headteacher, deputy, and staff member received the team. After the introduction, the girls were called to receive their gifts. We are grateful to Simami and the whole GlobalGiving platform for showing this kind of love for girls in our community. Because of you, they are no longer ashamed of having to go through a menstrual cycle because, thanks to this event, they now know that periods are natural, beautiful, and a sign of growth.

Some girls proudly holding  boxes of sanitary pads
Some girls proudly holding boxes of sanitary pads
Joyce,HFAW, handing over sanitary to Pisgan girls
Joyce,HFAW, handing over sanitary to Pisgan girls
Girls from Nyaronde leading in the walk
Girls from Nyaronde leading in the walk
CHHRPs posing for a photo during IDG2019
CHHRPs posing for a photo during IDG2019
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Jones and other participants during men's training
Jones and other participants during men's training

Dear Partner and Friend

Meet Jones from Rigoma Ward, Nyamira county. He is in the mid-50s. He wishes his wife could have more kids. However, it is too risky. After the delivery of his second son, his wife almost died. Up to now, he says he does not know how his family pulled through such devastating moments.   He made peace with the decision that he would only have two children. He wanted at least five-just like most of his peers. He can. But he will not. It is too risky. This time, he may lose her, and he cannot imagine a life without his better half. All this time, he never knew the reason for his wife having to give birth through caesarean section two consecutive times. Now he knows. It is because of the monster FGM.   Jones is among the 30 male participants who were trained on the health effects of FGM on women and girls which occurred between 24th and 27th in Rigoma and Manga, Nyamira County.

‘As I sat down listening to your teachings, I found myself thinking about painful moments that my wife and I have gone through in the course of our marriage. She had two smooth pregnancies. However, when the time for delivery came, on both occasions, the doctor insisted that she had to go through CS. Because of FGM, she had low chances of having safe deliveries.’

FGM is going down…

There is no doubt that because of anti-FGM advocacy efforts conducted by HFAW is making impacts among the Abagusii community. Going by the high number of men and women publicly proclaiming to ending FGM and committing to take individual responsibility for the same, FGM is about to become a thing of the past.

‘Before this training, I was convinced that when my last born daughter is old enough, she will have to undergo FGM. For a long time, I have considered myself a custodian of culture. However, knowing how and what is done to young, innocent girls in the name of our culture, I regret allowing my first born daughter to go through it and I will never allow another girl to be a victim. I have now become a protector of women and girls. I will mobilize other fathers to do the same’, says Richard.

How fathers are making up for allowing FGM to go on for so long…

Just like Jones, Richard did not know that FGM was harmful to girls and women. He says that he cannot describe what his older daughters experienced. Fathers and daughters rarely discuss such topics. The girls were told that they were just going to visit their grandmother. He and his wife knew that they would be cut. When the girls came back, he never cared to ask them about it. Now he wishes he did.

‘I regret that they had to go through what I have seen. I can only hope that they forgive me. If not for anything, maybe for my ignorance on the psychological and physical effects of FGM. I plan to make it up to them. If not for anything, maybe to salvage the respect and love they accord to me as their father’, Richard remorsefully adds.

The reactions of Jones and Richard are a representation of the feedback we received from the participants during the men’s training. We are hopeful that the next survey by the Kenya Demographic Health Survey will show a significant decrease in the prevalence of FGM in Nyamira and Kisii. Had we not been facing the challenges of mobilizing for resources, we would survey within the regions as HFAW, which would help us to quantitate the impact we have made through your support.

Dear friend and partner, thank you for choosing to walk this journey of transforming the lives of girls and women in our community. Through your support, more girls from the Abagusii are assured of achieving their dreams. Kindly share with your friends and family so that they can know about our work.

Expressions while watching a video of FGM act
Expressions while watching a video of FGM act
HFAW Facilitator,Leah,illustrating effects of FGM
HFAW Facilitator,Leah,illustrating effects of FGM
Participants chanting a way forward during a break
Participants chanting a way forward during a break

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Organization Information

Hope Foundation for African Women (HFAW)

Location: Nairobi, Kiambu County - Kenya
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @HFAW2015
Project Leader:
Dr. Grace Bonareri Mose Okong'o
Nairobi, Nairobi County Kenya
$15,315 raised of $25,000 goal
 
229 donations
$9,685 to go
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