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Youth Work

Dear Friends, Colleagues and Supporters,
On February 6th was FGM international day for zero tolerance worldwide. HFAW health and human rights promoters held an eventful day working with youth and children at Gisebei primary school in their neighborhood to combat FGM, prevent child abuse and early pregnancies that is rampant here. 
This is a school with with over 1000 pupils and on 6th February they reached over 800 of them. The other 200 comprised of early childhood pupils and those with special needs were not included as we need more time and facilities to organize a forum that would be appropriate for them.
 To say that this day was extra ordinary event for both the health promoters, teachers and pupils is an understatement. We were not only able to show publicly a documentary showing the child undergoing grisly  cut but were also able to use handmade resources to publicly explain to the children what really happens during "circumcision." I need to say that even if FGM is so popular in Kisii and deeply entrenched, this practice is not one of those that people are allowed to share publicly for not willing to scare the girls away. often many children are told of the goodies and good name they will receive after the cut and nothing about the immediate and lifelong pain they will deal with. BUT THIS DAY WE SHOWED THEM. We know that seeing is believing. You should have seen their faces while watching. And then we asked them, if they will agree to it. All of them screamed a big No! I am very certain that after this day, those who do this to these children will be so cruel to them literary. For now they know what it entails. We included the young boys to also learn and reject FGM.
 Then health promoters showed educational dynamics and role plays on child abuse as well, and what they need to do when abuses happens to them. Who to tell and what to do when they see one of them scared and afraid and abused. The health promoters did not stop there but went on to show demonstration on prevention of early pregnancy. One of the parents literary wore a pink uniform in order to demonstrate how to exactly say no to sexual encounters. This was so tremendously effective as the students were wowed and we could tell they were paying attention despite the large numbers. The promoters talked about the abuses at home and school( beating them up, denying food as punishment, sexual abuses, etc) and in school and surely the kids confirmed that these things happen when adults try to discipline them.

For many of the health these was deeply emotional as some of them are parents in the same school. Being a change  agent for their own kids was not a mean  achievement. Just recently before taking the course none of them could have imagined that they will be so passionate about educating the kids on fundamental issues which will make a huge difference in their lives.

We were able to donate 23 text books as a result of the much need in the school. This school is huge with limited facilities just like many of them here. The promoters challenged the teachers in a separate teacher-health promoter session to make sure that they stood up for the kids in all the three issues we tackled: child abuse and their rights, FGM and early pregnancies which are rampant in this community. Teachers not only felt the need to also take the course but asked us to go back on March 6,2015 to do more. On this day the school will have their educational day and will be so pleased if we can go back and continue with what we did. Besides, they said that this day over 400 parents will be invited to specifically hear what we have to say about protecting children.

What also caught their attention was how the new health promoters talked about issues of sexuality so openly. "you are breaking taboos" the headmaster said. He emphasized that talking to these kids is so key as they will hear early enough to stop these things than when we are only dealing with adults. It has to be a combination of both parents and their children and teachers.

Before we began our trip back to Nairobi we received another call from Nyaronde primary headmistress, in the nearby neighborhood. She said she has heard about what we did at Gisebei. She wants a date so that her school can hear the same messages. The dynamics, demonstrations and role plays which we learned from Epes, (Thank you Karen Anderson and your team for teaching us) are proofing to be so uniquely effective. We have our work cut out, only just lacking financial resources. The schools here are also poor-no hall, no text books. The health promoters and HFAW staff and myself could see ourselves in these girls as we grew up in so much similar circumstances. Girls are slightly more than half--Please identify them with pink collars in attached photos which we could only share some.

The promoters used kisii and kiswahili languages mostly but we are trying to translate so we could share some video clips as well. Thank you so much for your support. HFAW team Mary, Hellen, Joyce, Lisper and Grace accompanied the health promoters and mentored them all the way.
We feel that the 6th which was a FGM international day for zero tolerance was perfectly well spent. Even the global giving aired our work on FGM globally...click here to see the project:.http://goto.gg/17210
My kindest regards now
Grace on behalf of HFAW and Health and human rights promoters.

Designed Bully Vincent