Samburu Girls Learn About Rights, Health, and Self-Awareness
Pastoralist Child Foundation (PCF) held its December Educational Camp for 72 girls in Samburu, Kenya. The venue was Lorubae Primary School, Archer’s Post, Samburu County, from November 30th through December 4th, 2014.
A Great Beginning
On the first day, November 30th, 72 girls (participants) arrived at Lorubae Primary School for PCF’s educational camp. We had a number of fantastic facilitators and volunteers:
The workshop began after the participants arrived and registered at 8.00 a.m. Pastoralist Child Foundation Director Samuel Siriria Leadismo welcomed everyone, asked the participants to enjoy the workshop and their stay at Lorubae Primary School.The following rules were established to guide and direct the workshop after the introduction of every girl and the school they attend.
Participant Ground Rules
- A time keeper was identified
- A welfare officer was identified
- Phones to remain on silent mode
- Respect for each other’s opinions
- Punctuality maintained
- Full participation by everyone
- Any address made through the welfare officer or the chair
Welcome, from Samuel
“I, Samuel Leadismo, Director of Pastoralist Child Foundation welcome you to our workshop. It is my pleasure and honor to make these opening remarks on the empowerment program for our girls. Our mission is to create awareness for our girls and make them agents of change in this rapidly changing society. I welcome you to be part of this workshop and contribute your views for the sake of our sisters’ empowerment.
I hope that by the end of this workshop each of you will leave this place a changed person. My heartfelt regards to the esteemed facilitators for their punctuality and preparedness in delivering the information to our participants.
This workshop is officially open and any views which will help build our vulnerable groups in society are highly welcomed. Once again, thanks for attending this seminar in large numbers and keep the candle burning by empowering your friends who have not had an opportunity to be here.
Time for action is now…Let us all prevent and end violence in our society.”
Facilitator: Severina Sangurikuri
Self-Awareness is having a clear perception of your personality, including strengths, weaknesses, thoughts, beliefs, motivation, and emotions. Self-awareness allows you to understand other people, how they perceive you, your attitude and your responses to them in the moment.
We might quickly assume that we are self-aware, but it is helpful to have a relative scale for awareness. If you have ever been in an auto accident, you may have experienced everything happening in slow motion and noticing details of your thought process and the event. This is a state of heightened awareness. With practice we can learn to engage these types of heightened states and see new opportunities for interpretations in our thoughts, emotions, and conversations.
Every individual needs to be fully aware of his/her personality. This helps with the well-being of an individual.
As you develop self-awareness you are able to make changes in the thoughts and interpretations you make in your mind.
Changing the interpretations in your mind allows you to change your emotions. Self-awareness is one of the attributes of Emotional Intelligence and an important factor in achieving success.
Self-awareness is the first step in creating what you want and mastering your personality. Where you focus your attention, your emotions, reactions, personality and behavior determine where you go in life. Having self-awareness allows you to see where your thoughts and emotions are taking you.
It also allows you to see the controls of your emotions, behavior, and personality so you can make changes you want. Until you are aware in the moment of the controls to your thoughts, emotions, words, and behavior, you will have difficulty making changes in the direction of your life. One must learn the core things in his/her life before teaching others.
Self-awareness is related to:
- Knowing your family
- Knowing your name
- Where you come from
- Knowing your sex.
HIV/AIDS & STDs (Sexually Transmitted Diseases)
Facilitator: Ali Njoroge
Mr. Ali Njoroge asked the participants if they knew about HIV/ AIDS transmission.
The participants listed the following:
- Sexual intercourse
- Use of unsterilized instruments
- Traditional practices like circumcision
The lecturer informed the girls that HIV /AIDS is a pandemic that affects people through irresponsible behaviors. He explained the need for attitude change. Mr. Ali asked if the participants knew about PEP– Post Exposure Prophylaxis. This is a drug taken for 28 days for someone who has had sex with an HIV positive person. The side effects are so severe to the person who takes the drug.
A study of HIV infection among the youth was conducted and the results were shocking. HIV transmission among school teens (80%) showed they didn’t take charge of their health and so there was a need to change attitudes.
The second lecture was by Fabiano Lengees, a medical professional from Lerata Health Centre. He explained to the participants that the research conducted shows that the virus replicates – it changes. That is why it is difficult to get HIV drugs. He asked the participants if they know the signs and symptoms of HIV /AIDS.
The girls gave the following as the answers:
- Being thin
- Night sweats
- Shedding of hair
- Skin rashes
HIV gives room for opportunistic diseases. Therefore, when your body’s immunity goes down, AIDS can set in and can lead to death.
The lecturer took the participants through several TB stages and advised the girls that should someone be infected with TB, one should comply with the medication prescribed. Failure to comply will lead to the TB virus changing to another stage, which is more deadly.
Teenage Pregnancy and Early Marriages
Facilitator: Severina Sangurikuri
Madam Severina asked the girls to define “teenage pregnancy.”
The girls gave the following answers:
- Getting pregnant before maturity
- Pregnancy between 14 to 19 (-21)
She informed the participants that young girls whose pelvic bones are under-developed suffer complications and sometimes death during childbirth. Early marriages result from early pregnancy, culture, poverty, and peer pressure. More discussions took place about the prevalence of early marriages in Samburu.
The girls were informed that forced early marriage is illegal.
This topic was further discussed in the Sexual Health & FGM [Female Genital Mutilation] workshop.
Democracy and Human Rights
Facilitator: Anastacia Leparporit
Madam Anastasia reviewed the previous day’s work with the girls; girls were seen actively participating. This topic also raised a few issues as the girls were really interested in knowing their rights.
The topic of the day was Democracy & Human Rights. Democracy originated from the Greek language – “Demo” means “Whole Citizen.”
Human rights and freedoms:
- Right to life
- Right to education
- Right to worship
- Right to ownership
- Right to highest attainable standards of health
Right to Life: Every child / citizen has the right to life. The Kenyan constitution clearly states that citizens should not be killed by another human being. The government has full mandate in protecting the life of each person. Children’s issues have been fully addressed in some chapters.
Right to Education: Every child has the right to education. The government has made free and compulsory primary education. A parent who denies a child to attend school will be prosecuted.
Freedom of Worship: The Kenyan constitution guarantees rights to worship but restricts devil worship. This brought a lot of debates amongst the girls. Many girls wanted to know whether some cults like Illuminati are registered as it makes them scared.
Right to highest attainable standards of health: The constitution defines the right to health as the enjoyment of the highest attainable standards of physical and mental health.
Right of Justice: The Kenyan Constitution guarantees every citizen the right to a fair trial. Juvenile courts are responsible for taking issues related to children seriously. The government takes stern actions towards people who violate children.
Hygiene and Sanitation
Facilitator: Fabiano Lengees
Fabiano Lengees is a certified WASH doctor. WASH stands for “Water, Sanitation & Hygiene.” He invited the participants to brainstorm about sanitation and hygiene. The girls broke out into groups of three.
Personal Hygiene: This is complete personal cleanliness. It starts from the head down to the other parts of the body. The participants were made to understand that hygiene is very important for the prevention of diseases, including Ebola.
Importance of personal Hygiene
- Good hand washing with soap promotes behavioral change through motivation, information and education.
- For prevention of diseases – poor hygiene leads to poor health.
- Personal grooming is very important.
Bedding: Bedding should be thoroughly washed/cleaned at least weekly and dried completely in the sun. If bedding is infested with mites and/or lice it should be boiled and ironed in order to kill the pests.
Food: Food stores, cupboards and tables should be kept clean. All food stuffs should be covered to prevent flies from gaining access to them. All food utensils should be clean and dry.
Environment: Every person should live in a clean environment. This should start at home and school.
Sexual Reproductive Health, FGM/C and Its Effects
Facilitator: Severina Sangurikuri
- What are some of the good cultural practices that you know?
- What are the procedures of Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting?
- What are some of the harmful cultural practices you know?
The participants broke out into groups and wrote answers to the questions.
The following were listed as practices which the girls believed to be harmful:
- Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting
- Early marriages
Discussing Genital Mutilation
Some girls confessed how inhumanely they were cut. Pauline Lengarta, a form one student narrated with a lot of pain how she was repeatedly cut four times, followed by the application of a salty substance on the already affected genital area. She couldn’t hide her painful emotions.
Joyce, a participant from Laikipia, was given the opportunity to teach the participants about sex education. The forum was open for discussion. This prompted the girls to share their various views and they came up with a slogan:
“No, not now, not with you!!”
Joyce asked the girls why they agreed to have sex. Various answers were given and debated.
Madam Severina asked the girls to reflect on the issue and discuss the issue in groups. She read the Kenyan constitution dealing with children and the protocol of the Africa Charter on Human Rights and the Rights of Women in Africa.
Article 5 states: elimination of harmful practices; prohibition through legislation measures backed by section, of all forms of Female Genital Mutilation, scarification, medicalization and para-medicalization on FGM/C.
Madam Severina also read through the Bill of Rights – Chapter 4, section of the Kenya constitution. The bill states:
Every child must be protected from abuse, neglect, harmful cultural practices, all forms of violence, inhumane treatment and punishment, and hazardous or exploitative labor.
Types of FGM/Cut
Removal of the clitoris. This type originated in Egypt.
The partial or entire removal of the clitoris and scraping of labia majora. This procedure was invented by Sudanese midwives.
It is the most extreme form of circumcision.
Removal of the clitoris, the labia majora and joining the scraped sides of the vulva across the vagina by sewing.
Small opening is left to allow the passage of urine and menstrual blood flow. Practiced in Kenya, Djibouti, Ethiopia, and Somalia and other countries.
Causes of Rape
Participants were asked what they believed to be the causes of rape.
These answers were given by the girls:
- Drug abuse
- How girls dress
- To humiliate women
- To hurt the victim
- Poor social life when it comes to dating
- Demonic/Devilish values or practices (local language for “men behaving badly”)
The Last Day: Sharing & Mingling with Friends
The last day of the four-day camp was a hub of activities where girls were given the opportunity to express any burning issues affecting them.
Girls were asked to mingle with friends and share experiences and the challenges they face in their daily lives.
Joyce, our visitor from Laikipia, was a good role model for the participants, as was Asha, a form 2 student whose education is fully sponsored by Pastoralist Child Foundation.
The day started very well with a lot of excitement and many people came for the event. The participants had a lot to share with parents and visitors.
Many girls read poems, and acted out traditional plays with powerful FGM/C and early marriage themes. Speaker after speaker asked Pastoralist Child Foundation to continue extending its hand in empowering more girls.
We’re so proud of each and every participant and grateful for a successful workshop! Until next time…peace & blessings to all!