A team of five empowered individuals from Mfariji Africa set to carry out a girl’s empowerment event in Kitui on October 25th just before the Kenya Certificate for Primary School Examination(KCPE). This was a very sensitive time in the country with presidential elections nullified and a re-run set for 3 days after our mentorship event. The country was in tension pulling between two major parties, in the midst of chaos the schools had been severely affected, most learning institutions closed for safety and it only took our great relationship with the school headmistress to extend the closing date by a day to allow our team enough time to speak to the girls.
Our team met with a group of more than 30 girlsin class 7 and class 8 who were preparing for the year end examinations. In the midst of the chaos and confusion in our country, a time when no one was really thinking about these children who happen to be our future generation leaders, Mfariji team braved the storm and insecure roads to be in this school talking to girls, impacting and empowering them not be shaken or slack in their studies because the future depends on them. These are our real heroes, who refuse to give up until change happens.
Our lead mentor Faith Imdeke, started us off by telling the girls that Mfariji team was there to give them hope, encourage them, teach them life skills and remind them that the only limitation to their dreams and future is the image reflected at the mirror they are staring at. That life has limitless opportunities if they work hard and open themselves to receiving unlimited opportunities.
We had 4 mentors and our communication officer and each mentor had been tasked with a specific topic to tackle with the girls.
- Good relationships, STIs, HIV/AIDS, Adolescence.
- Male and female reproductive system, sexuality, sexual violence.
- What is love, saying no to sex, why wait to have children, Stigma.
- Preventing pregnancy, getting tested for HIV, Caring for people with HIV.
- Menstrual hygiene management
‘Stand firm, make the right decisions, work hard, pray ,ask your teachers questions where you do not understand ,be obedient to your parents and definitely you will grow to be a resourceful woman in this region,” Said Natariana one of the mentors during the training session.
Our mentors insisted on the need for girls to focus a lot on education since it’s a proven way of success that has impact far beyond an individual and could influence an entire community and nation. Education is vital for the full realization of an individual’s potential and is central to a country’s social and economic development.More than 49 million girls are out of primary and secondary school in sub-Saharan Africa, with 31 million of them out of secondary education, undermining their rights and limiting their opportunities.
Through the entire mentorship session, girls were asking questions, taking notes and assured the team that they will work hard in their studies despite the lack of resources like learning materials. Mfariji Africa has realized amazing success through this program and our hope it to continue running the curriculum with girls meeting weekly culminating to once a term get- together mentorship day.
A UNESCO report estimates that one in ten girls in Sub-Saharan Africa misses school during their menstrual cycle. By some estimates, this equals to as much as twenty percent of a given school year. Many girls drop out of school altogether once they begin menstruating. Should young women miss twenty percent of school days in a given year due to lack of facilities, information or sanitary products?
Mfariji Africa is exploring interventions that can work to improve access to sanitation facilities, improve hygiene awareness and address girls’ absence in school. We are looking for partners who can support us to ensure girls have the access to adequate information, preparation, and support with which to manage menstruation in a healthy, safe, and dignified manner.Young girls and women must have access to sanitary products, accurate information regarding their own menstrual health, and should no longer feel shame or stigma when menstruating.