Seminar in Meru

December 3, 2018

The seminar we held in Meru was a huge success. We had a turnout of 64 girls on the first day and closed the seminar with the same number. The topics prepared were appropriate for the age group, and we had facilitators who did a very good job helping the girls break down the information.

It rained heavily but that did not deter the girls from coming in early every morning for the meetings. Some walked from very far away villages. The girls were shy to ask questions on the first day and giggled away when certain words were used.

By the second day, most of the girls had relaxed; the interactions between them had improved with the lessened tensions, and they began to make friends.

Teenage pregnancy was a big subject because of the current crisis we are facing here. Most of the girls told of the pressure they are under to engage in premarital sex. The pressure, they shared, is usually from teenage boys, teachers, and older men. They all knew of a girl or girls who had dropped out of school due to pregnancy, as well as friends unable to resume school after having given birth. Media, peer influence, anxiety, rape, spirit of adventure, bad morals and poor judgment are some of the causes the girls indicated that contribute to the pregnancies.

Substance abuse, divorce and separation, self-esteem issues, and absentee parents have also contributed to the mess that many of the girls’ lives have become. Some girls said their parents are so busy trying to make ends meet that they have no time to ‘spend time’ with their children. They get back home very late from their various work places and are too tired to follow up on the details of how their children spent their day.


Idleness, boredom, and frustrations lead these girls to places that later cause them harm. They are looking for fun and adventure; they are curious and most of the times the people they are turning to for information are their age mates who end up providing the wrong information.

Breakdown in communication between the children and their parents came up a lot. The girls feel that the parents do not understand them, and they judge them without finding out why they behave the way they do. Some are crying out for help, and no one seems to listen. They are accused of being hard-headed, disrespectful, lazy and moody. They are trying very hard to fit in, and in the process, often get taken advantage of, go down the wrong road, and become lost.

Boys who have just been circumcised also pose a threat to the girls. The older boys who have taken care of the younger ones during an in-house confinement/ isolation period (usually lasting between two to three weeks), incite the young boys during the recovery period into sleeping with a girl afterwards, to prove ‘they have become men.’ The age group of the girls attending our seminar are the ones the boys chase after full recovery.


How do we deal with these many problems and issues? The girls need to know their worth, they need to respect their bodies; they need to draw boundaries, so they don’t get compromised. It is also very important that the girls stay in school and learn, so they stay busy and focused on something productive and worthy. They cannot stay out late at night. They need to be careful about where they go, and selective about who they chose to interact with and consider the moral integrity of their confidantes.

We had two top academically-tested girls come to the seminar and advise the group on how to pass their exams. These girls attended local schools, just like all the girls at the meeting. The two mentioned how they stayed serious with their studies, kept focused, and put in the effort necessary to ensure they would successfully pass their exams. They were a real inspiration to the rest of the girls who made a commitment to work just as hard.



FGM, bullying, good hygiene, and relationships were some of the other topics we discussed. The last day, Father Mwenda talked to the girls about Christian values. He urged them to love God and do His will by being obedient to the teachings of Christ. “This,” he informed the girls, “will keep them in check in every area of their life. Obedience to God’s ways,” he said, “and the fear of God, will keep them out of mischief and away from self-induced danger and harm.”


We cut the Graduation cake on the last day, took pictures, and had a sumptuous lunch. We awarded the girls with Certificates of Attendance which was a joy to all. They were all grateful for the program and requested we hold additional seminars in the future. All agreed they would look forward to attending them.



The rate of FGM has dropped because the government has put strict measures in place, but there are occasional incidences that still occur. Thankfully, the situation has much improved over the last three years. That was very gratifying information for us to hear.



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