FGM Monthly Article – January 2021

By CAROLINE CHEBET | January 8th 2021 A report on children’s well-being in Africa has ranked Kenya as ‘fairly friendly’ to girls. Kenya was ranked 17 out of the 52 African countries. Mauritius, Tunisia and South Africa take the lead as the friendliest governments to girls in Africa, according to the African Report on Child Well-being 2020. The report was released on November 20, by Africa Child Policy Forum. In the report, Kenya has done fairly well in protecting girls even though cases of rape, malnutrition, female genital mutilation (FGM) and early marriages are still recorded. South Sudan, Chad and Nigeria have ranked the poorest girl-friendly states where the majority of girls undergo child marriages, are malnourished with low education levels coupled with sexual abuse and trafficking. Of Africa’s 308 million girls under the age of 18, three in 10 are married while majority of those in poor girl friendly states are likely to undergo FGM. “The Girl-Friendliness Index (GFI) measures the performance of governments in realizing the rights and well-being of girls. It serves as the main analytical framework for this report. The results of the analysis show a stark difference in African governments’ respective performances in ensuring the well-being of girls,” the report notes. While Kenya is ranked fairly friendly, it is noted that incidence of pupil-to-pupil sexual harassment was 40 per cent higher for schools in the poorest communities while in countries like Zambia and Senegal, one in eight girls reported having been sexually harassed by teachers or staff in school. The report also reveals that girls in Africa are more likely to be victims of trafficking, sexual abuse and labor exploitation. “Violence, and sexual violence, in particular, is a highly prevalent and persistent problem in Africa, where the first sexual experience is forced for around 40 per cent of girls,” the report...

Read More

FGM Monthly Article – December 2020

UNICEF, NOA WARNS STIFF PENALTY AWAITS PERPETRATORS OF FGM PRACTICE December 1, 2020 Vanguard News Nigeria By Adeola Badru The South-West FGM Consultant of United Nations International Children Education Funds (UNICEF), Mrs Aderonke Olutayo and the Oyo (Nigeria) State Director, National Orientation Agency (NOA), Mrs Dolapo Dosumu, have warned perpetrators of the Female Genital Mutilation practice in Oyo State (Nigeria) would henceforth be prosecuted. The duo stated this at the grand finale of the public declaration to abandon female genital mutilation practice by 156 communities in the state, which was held at Isokun community in Oyo Town, where 68 communities in Oyo West Local Government Area publicly declared to abandon the practice. In her remarks, Dosumu admonished residents of every community that have declared to abandoned the FGM and all residents of the state, to embrace the ‘no-female-genital-cutting’ slogan. According to her, there is an existing law in Oyo State –Child Rights Law, that is against violation of the right of a girl-child. She asserted that the practice of female genital mutilation, “is violating the right of a girl, and when you do that it contravened the law that protects the girl, so it is liable and such person will be prosecuted.” Dosumu assured the public that there would be training for law enforcement officers in every local government to be well aware of the provisions of the law. The NOA boss, while recalling efforts made before 156 communities could openly declare to stop the practice of FGM, said NOA in collaboration with UNICEF, started from the platform of community dialogue. Dosnmu said: “Since it is noted that anything that has to do with a well-rooted tradition has to take a process before people can decide to say whether to drop the tradition for a particular reason or not.” “We exchanged views with them, trying to find out why is this tradition in place, what are the advantages and what the people gain.” “But we find out that it is just a form of belief, just what they inherited from their forefathers and the practice goes on.” She said the groups started by sensitization, creating awareness and explaining to the people that the practice does not actually have any benefits particularly the girls and mothers.  “Then we have the consensus-building wherein we collected the stakeholders of these communities, empower, enlighten and educate them the content of what actually is...

Read More

November Highlights

Every parent/ guardian/ caregiver / teacher wants a child that has in them the desire to excel in life, to be the next leader in society, a person of repute. A child who is morally upright, respectable and shows concern for others is every parent’s delight.  Being focused is undoubtedly going to make the child feel more positive and controlled in their life. Knowing what’s important in their life will be the seed that will determine where the girls end up. The skill is in being committed to achieving their goals. In the month of November, we concentrated a lot of effort on visiting the girls in Form 4 at the various schools where we offer mentorship and life skills. The idea was to help the girls cope with challenges at school after being home for so long, abruptly being asked to resume studies, and having to adopt to a new lifestyle of wearing masks, sanitizing and keeping social distance in order to avoid contracting and spreading the Covid 19 virus. As expected, there were a lot of challenges. The teachers were having a hard time convincing the students to keep their masks on. The majority refused to wear them, and the teachers had to use harsh measures to enforce the rules. Teenage pregnancies rose during the long holiday; many girls fell pregnant and gave birth, many resumed school while still pregnant.  Other girls were giving up, refusing to go back to school and being rebellious towards their parents and guardians. Teenage pregnancy can be a crisis for teenagers and their parents. Common reactions might include anger, guilt and denial. The teen might also experience anxiety, fear, shock and depression. Asking what the teen is feeling and talking about what’s ahead helps diffuse the situation and brings comfort. The teen needs parental love, guidance and support at this point more than ever. We visited some of the teens that had given birth, donated items that they needed for the babies, and encouraged them not to give up hope. Despite having fallen pregnant, there is still the hope of their going back to school and finishing their education. As a voice of hope, we were there to attend every situation that called for our attention. We have visited and formed clubs in the slums since Covid 19 hit, and we will continue with the programs until the end of November. We emphasized...

Read More

Hope Amidst Despair

We have been visiting the schools where we offer our mentorship classes and encouraging the Form Four students as they get ready to sit their exams next year in March.  They have a short time to cover what is left in the syllabus, and they need all the encouragement and support they can get to pass the exams. This has been a very trying time for the teachers; they have to ensure that the students observe the guidelines been put in place by the Ministry of Health regarding safety due to Covid 19, though some students are not taking the matter seriously. We, have, however spoken with them and tried to help them understand why they need to be careful especially now that we are experiencing a second wave of the disease. Our mission to bring hope to the teenagers in the slums continues. We realize there is a great need to reach out to these teenagers. There is great talent in the slums, and all the teenagers need is a caring hand to steer them in the right direction. Last week we visited Soweto Academy Secondary School in Kibera. Soweto Academy found its beginnings in 1988, when Kenyan Pastor Chris Okumu was led to Kibera, the third largest slum in the world and the largest slum in Africa. In his words, “education is the most precious gift a nation can give to its children, and a church can give to its members.” The harsh reality of life in the slum is this: ‘education is the only means of escape from the cycle of poverty.’ The school sits in the slum, but once you arrive and go through the school gate, the atmosphere changes. Other than the high-rise slum dwellings that surround it, one would be forgiven for assuming they are in the leafy suburbs of Nairobi. The school is extremely clean; the administration office is quiet and tidy. There are hand washing stations in every corner of the school. The order in the school is admirable, and the students maintain very high discipline. The teachers are caring and motivated; they are happy to be there for the girls. This school speaks of hope- hope in the midst of the despair that surrounds the slum. The school has a huge garden in which they grow a lot of their vegetables. The school, which hosts both day and boarding students,...

Read More

Environmental Issues Affecting Schools In The Slums

Poor drainage, flowing sewage, decomposing garbage, animal and human waste, that is a picture of what the slums look like on a normal day. When it rains, the situation is made worse. The current rainfall has caused havoc in the country. There is a lot of flooding reported in most parts of the county. The farmers are happy, however, because there will be plenty of food harvested which is a welcome relief after the losses they incurred during the corona pandemic as many restaurants shut down, and the demand for farm produce decreased. In the slums, floods mean misery. The situation is already bad enough on dry days, the wet season just adds to the already pathetic situations. The semi-permanent structures in the slums do little to provide the residents with shelter; the houses made of mud and wattle have gaping holes that make living in them extremely uncomfortable. The schools in and around the slum are made of the same material. They are roofed with iron sheets, but because is highly populated, the schools suffer flooding due to poor drainage. Students are forced to study in the waterlogged classrooms; they do not have an alternative option. The government, despite making promises to upgrade the facilities, fails to do so, and many a politician has been known to garner votes during the campaigns by promising to upgrade the slum schools and health facilities.  Once they get elected, however, it seems nothing changes. Having students live in this kind of environment can be very frustrating. They already deal with so much strife, studying in such conditions makes their lives very miserable. The cold and wet conditions contribute to diseases. Malaria is a major killer especially to the young children. Stagnant water from the floods create a conducive environment for mosquitoes to breed. Many of the students we mentor in the various schools come from an informal settlement. They experience better living conditions when they are at school. They eat three meals a day, have adequate beds and beddings, clean bathrooms and toilets; they have security. Overall, their general well-being is better at school than at home. They are lucky to study in schools that are either supported by the church, the government or are privately owned. During our discussions at Kimuka and Njabini schools this past week, we reminded the girls to look at the positive situations in their lives...

Read More
WordPress Image Lightbox Plugin