Women Up

by Green-Kenya
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Women Up
Women Up
Women Up
Women Up
Women Up
Women Up
Women Up
Women Up
Women Up
Women Up
Women Up
Women Up
Women Up

Vanessa (left) and Evamia (right) are the current volunteers running the women up program. Vanessa is the women up coordinator. Currently, a psychology and sociology student at the University of Nairobi while Evamia  is the women up assistant coordinator. Both of them play football.

“It has been 2 months since we started our volunteer at Green Kenya in June 2022. When we began, we expected all our sessions to be on the field, to have mostly 15- to 19-year-old girls in the off-field sessions, to have a lively, vibrant and participative class that was conversant with the topics discussed or have experience from them”.

It has not been an easy ride for us mostly in the off-field sessions. It was difficult in the beginning to have the girls participate since we were new faces and they had difficulty opening up. Some girls in the sessions are young and have no experience or have never heard of some of the topics making them understand less and not participate.

Due to their environment, they are not as exposed to information hence they have little or no information at all. This creates a challenge as we have to explain out of topic and begin from a familiar place to help them understand better. This in turn takes a lot of time on one topic.

The on-field sessions are not as challenging apart from a large number of girls if being handled by one person, and since most of the girls are at their puberty it calls for a lot of understanding and patience as some might be rebellious. Apart from that the sessions mostly run smoothly and the girls are participative.

We have come to grow fond of the off-field sessions as we see an improvement weekly in how the girls are adjusting to us and opening up. Though the topics might be intense for some of them we have seen great improvement in their contribution and participation and how they generally are as a person. We have seen some of the girl's confidence, self-awareness and self-esteem grow immensely over the past two months. They have stopped being shy and reserved and some can now speak boldly in front of people”.

Yours in service

Vanessa,

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Women Up
Women Up

This story is about a young girl who lives in one of the informal settlement where we conduct Community Impact program. For the sake of protecting her identity, I will call her Esther.

When our community coaches met with Esther, she was in class 5, about 11 years old, when I first entered their worn out iron sheet class room to introduce our programs to the Children, she was just quiet the whole time. After introducing the program, all the Children were excited except Esther, that caught my attention and that was the beginning of my curiosity about her and why she was quiet and withdrawn.

When the day to finally kick start the sessions, I was looking forward to see Esther, and to my surprised, she came to the field with the rest of the participants, we begun the session on a high note but Esther was still having stone face, I later realized that she was very aggressive and bitter with everyone, but more so with the boys, all the boys feared her, including the ones who were older than her.

After the sessions, I met with Esther’s teacher and I began to have a candid conversation about the girls and the teacher called to the side and dropped the bombshell to me. “You are correct David, said the teacher, the girl is very aggressive, and sometimes she is uncontrollable”. “Esther was a victim of rape for a long time, I got a bit more curious, and asked questions, the teacher said that the perpetrator was his father, who used to come home late at night drunk and he would rape the girl without the knowledge of the mother, apparently the mother was also abusing drugs and she did not care much how the Children were doing in schools or at home. Esther’s elder brother, who was in class 6, was also in the same mess, his father used to give him a bit of alcohol at night, and when he wakes up he was still drunk, this made him not to attend classes.

To be honest, I was angry with the whole story, and I decided to do what I can and help the two Children, I sat down with our Community Coaches and shared the story with them, we agreed to prepare football sessions to address the social issues that the duo were facing, we followed up with small steps by ensuring that they came to school in a daily basis, that way we would have a chance to involve them in the sessions.

Because they were in different classes, they attended sessions on different days, I ensured that Esther was in charge of attendance, ensuring that everyone was in the field on time, the games had more fun sessions, self-esteem sessions and after 3 months, we begun to see new Esther emerging out of her shell, being jovial, her grade improved, the smile came back, this moment made me emotional, even the teacher recognized it.

I was with Esther in March 2019, after just 4 sessions in the beginning of the year before Covid-19 was announced as global pandemic and my heart sunk, I thought that the perpetrator would take advantage of the situation and flush all the gains we made to the drain, to fast forward to 2022, I saw Esther again after 2 years and she was glowing, she was clean and talkative. Something interesting happened, during Covid-19, there were no places that their parents would get cheap alcohol or other drugs, there was a country wide curfew that started from 7:am to 5:am, everybody was looking forward to work and protect their health.

Even though the scares of Esther are not fully healed, we believe that she will fully recover and she will get justice one day. One of the step we took was to have a psychologist in our organization to help Children who are going through these kind of situations on a daily basis, though we might not keep the psychologist for long because they are going to with us for 3 months, we believe that this is the first step to bring healing to these young souls. Our end goal is to have at least one counselor as a full time staff.

Women Up session
Women Up session
Women Up greetings
Women Up greetings

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demolished houses
demolished houses

 Time really flies, we are in the festive session and on behalf of the Green-Kenya team we would like to wish you happy holidays in advance.

 

In the past 3 months, we have had memorable moments during the on field sessions with Children in different parts of Mukuru informal settlement, our community Coaches have worked tirelessly to keep Children safe while helping them to relieve stressful moments as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Many students have not yet reported back in schools because of either school fees or because the family relocated to a rural home. We have had the lowest number of participants who took part in our programs ever recorded in the past 4 years. There has been a significant drop in the number of girls who attend the sessions which is a worrying reality.

“It is challenging to keep these Children in school without enough food that was there before and enough teachers, even though it is more safe to keep them here than at home when their parents are not around during the day” said one of the teachers.  

As if this situation was not enough, the government through the county government came with bulldozers very early in the morning to demolish a huge part of the informal settlement which inhabits around 700,000 people with a court order. As a result of these occurrences, Green-Kenya convened a special meeting with the leadership of Mukuru kwa Ruben to discuss the security of the Children, their parents and property.

After a long discussion, Our community Coaches in consultation with the Green-Kenya committee team agreed to stop all football sessions in Mukuru community. Most of the Children who have been affected by the demolition participate in our programs. Some of their parents had to seek refuge in the community field where we conduct football sessions. “I think it is not safe for Children to go to the field at this moment because there are riots, the residents are demonstrating against the demolition, let their parents settle first”  said Joseph Kip’ ngame Chairman Mukuru Kwa Ruben, Wesinya community.

The coaches are still visiting the Schools to talk to few Children who are present and assuring them that football sessions will be back after the holidays are over. The demolition has been stopped to give people time to look for somewhere to relocate. We are thankful that our participants are safe, though there were fatalities during the demolition. The Covid-19 infection is slowly going down, there is hope that infection rate will be controlled with the availability of vaccines in the country. The government of Kenya through the ministry of health have directed that no one will receive government services without being inoculated.

Arial view of Mukuru informal settlement
Arial view of Mukuru informal settlement
Wasichana Juu session in Mukuru
Wasichana Juu session in Mukuru
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Girls Up 1
Girls Up 1

I hope you are all doing well and keeping Safe wherever you are.

Just to begin with, we have had a wonderful time with Children in the field but not as much it is supposed to be in the work plan. The school Calendar has been disrupted because of Covid-19, many Children have either dropped out of school because of school fees or they are in the rural.

Another challenge is that the government through the ministry of education has given all teachers an ultimatum for all of them to be vaccinated by 24th of August, these has led to many Children missing classes because there are no teachers in school, which technically makes Children to miss after school football sessions. But the situation will improve as we move a long because of vaccination is being rolled out in different places in Nairobi.

As far as community impact program is concerned, it has been a good feeling to see Children again in the field playing again and relieving stress that they are going through at this time. We are now working with a small group of participants compared to the previous years, we have ensured that there are hand washing stations, thermos guns and sanitizers an indicated by the ministry of health.

One the finding during monitoring and evaluation is the decreasing number of girls in the sessions, the decrease is coming from schools especially adolescent girls “many of these girls are helping their parents at home, to cook for the young ones as their parents go out to do manual work to feed the family”, said Mrs. Veronica of Brains wealth. This is just but one case on 4 schools that we are working with in Mukuru Slums.

As a community Coach, I feel for Children who are living these communities, there are situations that need more intervention to be able to support pupils to go to school, at times we ask ourselves whether to buy soap for washing hands or buy food, or pay for school feel. These has been one of the difficult moment in the lives on many young people who are leaving in challenging environments.

We would like to thank all of you for your support during these interesting times, through your support we have been able to keep these Children closer be giving them moral and psychological support to live one day at time. We are optimistic that as the vaccine become more and more available, it will ease the burden that the whole community is going through and eventually bring back the tranquility in our lives.

CIP 2
CIP 2
Girls Up 3
Girls Up 3
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Time flies, the first quarter of the year has just elapsed, we have faced insurmountable challenges but our tenacity and resiliency has proved that tough times never lasts but tough people do and you are one of them.

We have had different kinds  of moments that came as a result Coronavirus pandemic, Green-Kenya community coaches begun community impact program  in February with an array of hope that they year will be different than the previous one, we had a total of 147 Children across three community schools and conducted 20 sessions. This was one of the lowest numbers of participants that we have worked with for the last 3 years. Something which is surprising is that girls were few during these sessions with about 45%.

Some of these girls were at hope helping their parents to cook and help in taking care of their sibblings while their male counterparts were in school. Many Children were either stuck in the rural home because their parents lost their jobs, these parents could not afford putting food on the table leave alone taking their Children to school any more. Some of the parents were scared to let their Children attend the sessions. I have witnessed many of these parents at their weakest moments during these pandemic not mentioning how emotional and uncertain of what is going to happen next.

Despite all these challenges, we have put a brave face while we were not sure what is going to happen next, many Children have experienced stressful moments especially during lockdown, just in case you are not aware of these, our program is taking place in Nairobi which the capital city, which is one of the most affect counties and just recently, the President had announced the secession of movement in and out of Nairobi, the good news is that the ban has been lifted, we are now looking forward to begin our sessions after reviewing  Covid-19 protocols with youth leaders, physical education teachers and the stakeholders who are engaged in sport for development.

Having said that, Our community coaches have been going through a refresher training on how Children learn, the training is a bit different from the normal sessions where the coaches use cones and balls, it is about how to capture the attention of Children, different kind of learner, values and identity, values from Olympism and the biggest elephant in the room which is Safe guarding and Protecting Children participating in sports. The lessons are being conducted by one of our Board member Cliff Parry, who has over 30 years in education and working with Children.

I am looking forward to see the adrenaline of these girls once we go back to the field again, this moment will be one of its kind, Thank you for your big heart even during one of the challenging moments in our life time, we are in this together and this is the message that we will pass to the girls when we resume.

To all of you, we say “Asante sana”  / Thank you very much

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Green-Kenya

Location: Nairobi - Kenya
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immaculate Auma
Nairobi, Kenya
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