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
Central African women experiencing the fun of P.Ed
Central African women experiencing the fun of P.Ed

Dear Friend,
Due to your support, we are on our way to build a program that is providing lessons to others. I am so humbled to share that in the Month of September 2015 we hosted 8 Central African Women (from Zimbabwe, Congo and Cameroon) who paid HFAW a visit to learn about our popular education approaches.


While they were in Kenya, HFAW staff demonstrated some of our participatory approaches and also made sure to bring the guests to the village to interact with the women and men who have benefitted from the program. Here they saw their economic activities and their own work of intervention of issues in their own communities. The women and men dramatized some of the skids they use in their own work such as in schools and shared their own experience with popular education.


We were pleased to see the guests capturing some of the lessons they took away with them. “The trip to Kenya was fruitful in that it opened my eyes to new things and ways in which to improve the community through interventions for women. The HFAW methodology of Popular Education is a good one. This is so because it engages everyone and acknowledges that everyone has a part to play, no matter their social ranking. It also builds people from their lived realities, it addresses problems according to the needs presented using the simplest resources thus saving on time and money.” wrote Samantha who is one of the guests.


Samantha added that “As an area of interest, I have identified the area of Cultural practices and sexuality. The experience in Kenya taught me that Africa still has a long way to go in terms of addressing cultural practices that are harmful especially to women and children. An example is that of the Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) practice that is still rampant in some parts of Kenya. In Zimbabwe, in Shamva district, there is a high rate of child marriages and people are comfortable with it… I would like to pursue this topic of cultural practices in my area as I have seen the impact it has on the girl child as well as the children that are born under such conditions.”


“Men can be facilitators in the improvement of the lifestyles of women and children; Women, in whatever circumstances, can be empowered to improve their situations; Projects, when well coordinated, can improve communities as a whole; There is need for the engagement of local authorities in programming” Wrote Grace Musuka who reported on behalf of the team.


I have to share with you what Michael Fonner, one of our staunch supporters, global giving contributer and the only man who attended the first workshop said, “I so very much enjoyed being with you last week during your extremely well lead, informative, enthusiastic, and promising seminar. I told Leslie all about it and she shares my joy at the good and important work you are doing…I think your work in popular education; the kind of empowering education that values every person and arises from the grassroots is powerful and life-giving to the communities that you serve. Leslie and I are grateful to be a small part of what you are doing. We thank you.”


Michael and Leslie, we thank you more and we appreciate that you had time to join us. You are the voice of all our global giving supporters worldwide who won’t have a chance to be with us.


At the end of the exchange the women expressed a strong interest to take the popular education training so that they can bring the methods to their countries. As we speak two of the women are registered to participate in the EPES international school in January 2016 in Chile where HFAW had taken lessons from.


HFAW plans to offer the trainings here in Kenya in the near future as we have seen demand for the program even in our own locations. We won’t stop until we expand to more locations. We are in real need to expand the methods and interventions. We are challenged by our limited resources but have hope that we will overcome this challenge. Please do not hesitate to reach us with ideas on how we can make this a reality. We want you to know that we value your advice and your contributions. Please talk to your friends, family and networks about HFAW and your role in bringing us this far.
Again, thank you so much for your partnership with us.

Kenyan and Central A. women sharing
Kenyan and Central A. women sharing
Central African women experiencing Kenyan views
Central African women experiencing Kenyan views
HFAW and Guests including our Michael Fonner
HFAW and Guests including our Michael Fonner
Community participation in Kisii meeting guests
Community participation in Kisii meeting guests
Evans let his wife share experience of PEd at home
Evans let his wife share experience of PEd at home
HFAW men and women Sharing a skid with guests
HFAW men and women Sharing a skid with guests
Rael explaining her economic activity to guets
Rael explaining her economic activity to guets
Using a string to learn and share-codes wont break
Using a string to learn and share-codes wont break
Guests at Gisebei primary school our area of work
Guests at Gisebei primary school our area of work

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GWNL 2015 Class-Grace in Yellow African Dress
GWNL 2015 Class-Grace in Yellow African Dress

Dear Friend,

The first part of the year saw us engaging with advocacy with youth and children issues at Gisebei primary school to combat child, youth abuse, FGM and prevent early pregnancies all reported in previous report.


In May, HFAW CEO, I, was privileged to participate in the Global Women Leadership Network which offers transformative training entitled “The Ripple Effect of Women leaders: From Local Impact to Global Change.” It was a training that not only inspires direction but helped me see blind spots including the hidden invisible rules and assumptions that limit us from helping our staff and stakeholders from achieving our potential. It unfolded mindset and self doubts that slow us down and inhibit us and those who work with us. The training helped unveil how to disengage from these things while opening new possibilities, new thinking about our vision. It showed me how to create a new roadmap. The good thing also is that our coaches are with us for another six months before they send us to the world of work. I came home convinced that HFAW must take a first step of developing its live changing strategic plan. All the way from San Jose to Kenya I kept wondering how HFAW survived three years without a clear and professional strategic plan. To many of you our supporters, Thank you so much for your support. Please know that we carry enormous gratitude in our hearts to you our cheerleaders. We could not have done anything without your support. Through you we raised flight tickets and some remaining fees. Some of you continuously gave us moral support and mentoring especially when things are so tough. Importantly, you are helping my entire HFAW team, health and human rights promoters and myself turn breakdown into breakthroughs!


And now HFAW team is working with a consultant to create a five year strategic plan. This will clarify our focus and help us better engage our local beneficiaries and stakeholders at the local and international levels. We expect even better outcomes and bigger impact in the near future. As we work on this plan our women continue to forge forward with their economic empowerment project. We continue to endorse interest free loan from kiva.org and the women (and men) continue to work on their economic activities. And our advocacy work is underway. We want to train as many people as we can on how to be an intervention in their own communities.
We believe that our model program of employing popular education to combat GBV and other gender issues in the community combined with economic entrepreneurship and leadership from the community itself is very practical. We still want to train more women than the first 30 health and human rights promoters. We therefore appeal to you for your continued support Please reach out to your friends, colleagues and all kinds of well-wishers to help us reach our funding goal of $25,000 and build a movement that will end gender discrimination in Kisii. You helped us earn a spot on global giving, so tax deductive donations will reach us through global giving site. We will keep you well updated on all our progress and achievements. Please visit our website and facebook to see photos of our work portraying the trainings and an additional photo from the GWLN training. Please also review our work with youth and children report. Thank you!


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Teaching through music and dance
Teaching through music and dance

Dear Friends, Colleagues, and supporters,

In our last report we did mention that the Gisebei primary school invited the health promoters and HFAW staff back on March 6th  to speak to the parents of the children about child abuse, children’s rights and FGM. We knew that this was going to be hard to do considering our meager resources. Thanks to your help we are glad we made it.

 The health promoter turnout was great as always. Over 400 parents joined their children, the teachers, some guests and a local catholic choir on the school play ground. There were other education officials who came to witness the award giving as this was an educational day for the pupils. The health promoters got a brief period to share their knowledge with parents and they used it well. First, they offered an educational song filled with messages and action and then conducted a child abuse play and children’s rights. This action packed episode was entertaining but very educational; a song recrafted to urge the parents, teachers, educators and children to stop all kinds of harmful practices ranging from FGM to child abuse.The song urged them to come together for the good such as education. The parents expressed total interest to hear more even when we had to let the school carry on with other agenda. The headmaster requested that I take a few minutes to address the parents. I took advantage of this to recap the issues for the parents. Through question and answer method we knew that that these abuses happen and very frequently in their neighborhood and they disapprove. I asked, are there parents among you who beat up their children and sometimes bite or burn them up? They answered in chorus with loud “yes” from one question to the other. To this moment we were pleased at the responses. But not with FGM.

 We were not completely shocked to expect women especially shout that they wanted FGM to continue. We are already aware of how they hide kids and mutilate them at night since the passing of antifgm bill. Many women especially were saying that anything else can end but not FGM. FGM is equivalent to motherhood, how can it end? Right there we know that our work is cut out for us. The health promoters have publicly sworn not to continue with the practice but they came to this conclusion after very personalized, intimate and participatory discussions with them in way that they had to probe the practice themselves and find answers. We know that the approach can work if only we can reach as many women and men as possible. We were pleased however that the youth and children are getting it. HFAW staff and health promoters began to find out what they know from our last engagement with them. The ones who had a chance to share their views revealed that they condemn child abuse, FGM and support child rights. With that we know that intervening with youth and children is the first step to ending these vices and especially FGM.

Today’s development just like many of our episodes left each of the health promoters and HFAW staff with an urgency. The urgency to reach more youth and children, women and men. Our methods do work but our resources are just not there. We passionately appeal to you to reach out to your friends and relatives to support this work. It is worth fighting for that one child, one youth, one woman and one man who gets it for our future depends on them. View some of the photos from March 6th, 2015.

 

Over 400 parents participated
Over 400 parents participated
Health promoters teaching - child abuse and rights
Health promoters teaching - child abuse and rights
More skids and dramatization
More skids and dramatization
Their time to perform
Their time to perform
Youth and children in attendance
Youth and children in attendance
Grace addressing parents
Grace addressing parents
A close view of these youngesters
A close view of these youngesters
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To our Dear Supporters, We have expereinced many challenges but we are not giving up.
On Sunday 22, 2015, Mary, Hellen, Teresia and Joyce arrived at the training ground in the village ready to observe the graduates for the second time on how well they can facilitate health and human rights trainings. We were pleasantly surprised at the tremendous improvement from the previous(November 10, 11) facilitation shown by the 26 graduates who arrived. The HFAW team literary hugged them for the job well done. We had discussed the women and men all week long on how their enthusiasm did not match their first performance. But this time we saw women who took our feedback seriously and took charge; who understood content; that made sure everybody participated; who involved various methods such as circle discussion, group work and went overboard with use of various dynamics. Some of the teaching aids included use of locally made materials such as rings made from banana fibres. We saw women and me use dynamics to make the point that men need to also baby sit and the men took it positively and even demonstrated carrying a baby on their back. We think that the men in the group will ultimately be role models for the community. Lisper who is one of the younger women said, “I honestly did not know I could train since I am shy but now I feel ready.” Elizabeth who is the chair to the grassroots committee opened up to us “Your tough feedback was a wakeup call, we had not realized that facilitation was so challenging until you made us do it.” Evans who is a jovial man had this to say. “You know, when you put me on the spot I thought you were cruel but now I appreciate your way of doing things. I thank you for putting up with us.” And he told the team to clap for us and for themselves. That they were pleased with themselves was so clear. They were even more pleased when we told them we were happy with the way they had improved.


We reiterated that what we did was to make sure they can bring the solutions to the many problems afflicting our community. HFAW team and the graduates agreed that nothing had been done yet until we use the popular education methods to solve our community problems, one by one.


Therefore, went a step further and discussed how the graduates will put their skills to practical community work in January 2015. They had already identified teenage pregnancy in the village as acute problem leading to girls dropping out of school. Since we have been invited to talk to girls in the neighborhood primary school the opportunity has presented to them to mentor girls here. They have scheduled the plan for January 12, 2015 after discussions with school administration. We left them to follow lessons learned and prepare to tackle sexual assault issues, violence against girls, early pregnancies, and FGM in early January as they work with the school. HFAW team will stand behind them to give feedback and help them along the way.
When we first conducted our assessment of the graduates’ facilitation skills we left feeling discouraged due to the performance that did not match their enthusiasm nor our expectation. We worried that our graduates were not up to the task for 2015. The Hope Foundation team worked with the graduates to reshuffle the 4 team members and categorized tasks according to talents. We gave many feedbacks concerning effective facilitation plus more hands on. We gave out work and promised to be back on 22 of November for more observation. That is why this second observation meant so much to both the graduates and HFAW team.
As a young organization, HFAW has experienced many challenges. We are nurturing vulnerable rural women (and men) who are forgotten in our country. We lack resources to do a better job. We travel from Nairobi to empower these women. It can be very overwhelming and discouraging for us. And on your end, it is very easy to think that your resources are not worth it. As my mentor Karen Anderson said to me, “you make two steps forward and a few steps backward before you finally succeed.” Social justice is really hard work that requires a lot of understanding and perseverance for all of us who care. If we have not given you frequent feedback on how grateful we are for your support and what progress we are making, it is because of the formidable challenges we have to overcome. HFAW team wants you to know that we are not deterred by the challenges. We need your support now more than ever before. Thank you for standing up with us.

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As I write this report, I yearn to stretch my arms and hug every one of you, our dear supporters. When we began the health and human rights promoter training early this year, we knew it was important. But none of us imagined the extent of the joy it will bring to the women especially and men. And so in this report we are thrilled to share the joy experienced by the 30 graduates on September 2,2014 as they cerebrated “our day” as they called it.

This day was the culmination of an exciting, transformative and empowering training which seeks to address various human rights and gender issues in Nyamira County. Key among these issues is FGM, gender based violence, and HIV/AIDS, general reproductive health and advancement of human rights. This was a major achievement having all 30 of them graduate on September 2…and surely how could they contain their joy. Each one of them was joined by family members to show them what they have been up to all these months.

Now we have 4 solid teams to move on and spread the training to 4 different locations come January 2015 should we find funding: That is Mekenene, Esise, Kiabonyoru and one remains at home Nyansiongo where we begun. The motivation we see in these women and the men and their determination to transform their lives and those of others confirms to us that this is the way to go for the Entire County and later Kenya. "Today, I am a transformed person, that action plan can be used even in our homes" said Karen Nyaboke. She says she is ready to go out and transform others. Karen was to tell later during our strategy meeting how her husband who does not believe that a woman can lead even if she holds a PhD and how he is slowly changing his mind partly due to the teachings Karen is doing at home and also due to his attendance of Karen’s graduation, where he listened to a whole lot of inspired women and men. On the said strategy meeting John Keranda also enthusiastically shared how he used to be arrogant and dictated things but now consults. He earned a real good clap from the audience when he again said that because of the training he shared a piece of his tea plot so his wife can also pick and earn her own money. Many of the graduands were very inspiring. We have trained them to empower themselves first before they can go out and empower others in order to serve as a good example. We have also prepared them on the backlash awaiting them out there which they must not succumb to.

In rare light moment during graduation ceremony, Evans said he can now show love in public to his wife as he has been taught—which made audience laugh so loud. This is a culture teaches men discriminate against women by excluding them at all areas of lives. I need to state that part of our training discusses family issues. We do emphasize that there can never be stronger families in homes where the woman is despised, abused and dismissed. We also enumerate the many things the man and his family misses out when the woman is ignored and unhappy.

We were joined by 5 law makers; two from our county and three from the neighboring Kisii county. They all agreed that this program needs to spread across the nation. They could see clear change of the participants as they shared their experiences with telling how the training has transformed them. They were so inspiring and confident on stage and admitted looking younger and brighter in those yellow t-shirts. "We from Kisii County would like to copy this idea from you and I will be the first one to be taught," said Hon Christine. "You have brought a storm to Abagusii" said Winfrida, who is member of NGO Council. She welcomed us to seek her help in one way or another.
The County Women’s Representative also reiterated that she would like to support the spread of the methods throughout the County of Nyamira and beyond since the woman has no boundaries all of them need to be reached. We were pleased to see politicians say positive things about our work. Only time will tell if they will keep their promises. This day will be remembered for a very long time because so many positive things happened.

We have strategized to provide peer to peer mentoring to all the 30 graduates which will happen through December. The big agenda of scaling to 4 locations begins early next year. Are we too ambitious? Considering the impact this training is achieving I think it is worthy it to press on. Each team will require over $20,000 to be able to do a good job of training another 30 promoters plus an outreach to over 400 people by each team. This means we need over $80,000 for the four team and $20,000 to support HFAW team. We need to build a huge critical mass of our methods in these locations if we are ever going to address the issues. That not even one person dropped out of the training should speak volumes. We are now appealing to every one of you to help us reach the 4 locations. We hate that we have to come back to you. However, we know you know why this cause is so important. The fate of Africa is destined to be resolved by African women. Kindly reach out, organize, fundraise, do house parties and help Hope Foundation to take this movement to an unstoppable level. Help us raise the first $18,000 and we go from there. We have updated our proposal to reflect our growth. WE ARE MAKING PROGRESS! AND CREATING IMPACT.

With all our sincere gratitude,
Dr. Grace Mose Okong’o
PS: Please note that Nyamira and Kisii are two separate counties occupied by Abagusii people. Also please ignore some errors and gliches in the video; our very first video was done by our dear young university girl volunteer, Pauline Ooko. We have no resources to hire professionals.

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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
$15,566 raised of $25,000 goal
 
240 donations
$9,434 to go
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