Wasichana Juu is weekly, 2-hour Sport for Development session that runs for 30 weeks, open to any young woman (aged 9 – 19 years). Our program provides an opportunity for girls to participate in a guided open dialogue of health (physical, sexual, psychological), safety (personal, environmental) and leadership (effective leaders, inclusivity, public speaking) while engaging in physical activity.
We focus our program in two slums of Nairob; Mukuru kwa Njena and Shauri Moyo. The difficulties faced by adolescent women in developing countries are magnified due to limited access to education, unstable social and economical environments and poor sanitation and healthcare. In the slums, there is the addition of crime, drug abuse and prostitution. Families live in 1 room corrugated shacks, few with electricity. Multiple families will share communal water taps and toilets. Living every day in such circumstances can lead to behaviors that compromise their health and safety and often lead to early marriage, unplanned pregnancy, criminal activities and abandoned education.
From January 26 through March 16, 2019 we have reached 21 young women between the ages of 10 and 16; 30% of participants are 13 years of age. We have held 7 sessions, with a variety of discussions about Drug and Alcohol Abuse, Personal Hygiene, The Menstrual Cycle, Sexual Reproductive Health and HIV & AIDS.
The young women have shown genuine interest in learning about how they, as women, can take control of their lives and how they can guide their own futures. We emphasise that through education they will have more opportunities to better support their families, have more enriched relationships and be able to make informed life decisions.
At this age, girls are very curious about boys, so it is important that we teach them about sexuality; to be honest about the potential consequences of entering into sexual relationships. We talk about STD’s, HIV/AIDS, pregnancy as well as domestic abuse. We recognize that youth do not respond to fear alone; we talk to them about what healthy relationships look like; any relationship, whether with friends, families or boyfriends, should be based on mutual trust and respect. No beneficial relationship will be influenced by intimidation, coercion or fear.
Our weekly discussions are lively, and we have seen the girls really open up. They want to be heard and listened to without judgement. We have a rule that all questions are relevant, we learn by asking questions. By providing a forum for young women to ask anything and everything we are shaping them to become involved in their education and teaching them that they are not alone in their curiosity about sexual health.
We look forward to the next few months and see where the girls lead us.
Football session after discussion as a team