The communities will benefit through community mobilization, education, inter-generational dialogues and capacity development of duty bearers. PCF is training all sectors of the communities – school children, teenagers, adults, elders, village chiefs, circumcisers, healthcare workers, law enforcement, teachers and religious leaders in order to prevent and respond to FGM/C and child marriage incidences.  In addition, the communities are trained on how to use referral systems for quality service providers and child protection services in Samburu County.

Promoting and providing support services for children:

Encouraging children to seek quality professional support and report incidents of violence helps them to better cope with and resolve experiences of violence. Giving children and adolescents the skills to cope and manage risks and challenges without the use of violence and to seek appropriate support when violence does occur is crucial for accelerating the abandonment of FGM/C and child marriage in communities. The information that Samburu girls learn at Pastoralist Child Foundation’s educational camps is crucial in providing them with the instruction, confidence and self-esteem required to reclaim control of their own sexuality and make decisions about their future. Through comprehensive sexuality education Samburu girls now have the power to protect their future.

Young people leading the change:

Young people are trained on issues of FGM/C and child marriage. The youth proven to be effective champions of change together with various teams working on sexual and reproductive health and rights advocacy conduct door to door rallies and public gatherings in the 6 selected villages to strengthen community based dialogues and increase awareness on the detrimental effects of FGM/C and child marriage to girls and women.
All-inclusive community participation:

Community inter-generational dialogues are vital for the abandonment of FGM/C. Therefore, the all-inclusive participation of youth, women, men, elders, chiefs and circumcisers is essential. Religious leaders will join dialogues to present factual information from religious texts that remove the belief and perception that religion condones FGM/C. The participation of teachers is also critical due to their important and respected roles as educators and role models who have the trust of their students.  Community change agents also facilitate sessions on FGM/C and child rights, the social implications of FGM/C and its adverse health effects.  Pastoralist Child Foundation’s efforts to bring everyone together to peacefully discuss the sensitive issue of FGM/C will advance the efforts to eradicate it.  Listening to the population affected by these issues gives a voice to the “unheard.”  Success is better guaranteed when everyone’s voice is heard and viable solutions can be collectively gained. Sustainability is assured when everyone is educated and agrees to make the life-changing decision to abandon FGM/C.

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Fifty girls aged 12-17 from 5 primary and secondary schools in Samburu County attended a girls empowerment workshop.  The event was held at the Lorubae Primary School at Archer’s Post.

It was a delightful, happy and smart group of girls who took many notes.  

We’re certain the girls’ hands were quite tired at the end of the 3 day workshop after writing so much! We covered more topics than ever before and classes were very interactive.

We encouraged the girls to always ask questions and contribute their ideas and opinions.

Our youngest participant was Freda, 12 years old, and although it seemed at times she would fall behind during the fast-paced lessons, she kept up! We’re so proud of her and every single girl who attended. This was their school holiday and they chose to “go to school,” and for that, we offer our respect.

Subjects taught:

1.    Self-awareness & Self-Esteem
2.    Teen Pregnancy & Early Marriage
3.    Gender Equality & Human Rights
4.    FGM/C & Sexual Reproductive Health
5.    Beading of Young Girls
6.    Child Rights & Child Labour
7.    HIV/AIDS & Sexual Transmitted Diseases
8.    Sex Education, Love & Relationships
9.    Importance of Formal Education
10.     Moringa Tree Planting
11.     Save the Elephants Presentation

Our esteemed facilitator, Anastasia Leporporit reports encouraging feedback from girls,

“They’re telling us that they’re happy they attended our workshops. They now know that when they see a girl or woman who is experiencing pain during her periods or childbirth, it’s very likely due to the effects of FGM. Girls are more self-confident as well and are not afraid to discuss “taboo” subjects such as FGM and early marriage – 2 factors that prevent many girls from completing primary school. They are telling their parents/guardians that formal education is very important and are seeking their support to finish school.”

Our sponsored student, Asha, in Form 2 (grade 10) wrote us a very encouraging letter:

“First and foremost I would like to congratulate you for coming up with a good idea for organizing a workshop. These workshops have really changed the lives of many young girls in our community. Also, the rate of FGM/C is decreasing day by day and I no longer hear cases about FGM/C in my community. This is my third time attending the workshop. It has changed my life a lot and made me know how to socialize and know how to live with people in my society. Did you know that I was elected as the Deputy President of my school? I was re-elected by the students in my school and I now have top responsibilities on my hands, and probably all the students in my school are happy for me. I feel proud of myself because you are helping me to fulfill my dreams.”
We added 2 classes: planting Moringa seeds and a Save the Elephants presentation. The Moringa leaf is a highly nutritious food and the tree is easy to grow. Thanks to a donation of hundreds of seeds and instructional booklets from our friends at HOW Global, the girls planted the seeds in used water bottles and took them home to care for and watch grow into trees. The presentation by Save the Elephants educators, Daud and Jerenimo, was excellent. 

They showed a documentary film about the plight of the elephants due to poaching for ivory tusks, and the importance of elephant conservation.  We want our girls to care about their beautiful African wildlife and environment.

Our next workshop will be in December 2015 followed by an Alternative Rite of Passage for 200 girls.

We’re honored to serve the Samburu community where, for the most part, people are open-minded and welcoming. As difficult as it may be for some, they see the need for change in order to improve the status of girls which, ultimately improves their communities. The conversation is alive… girls are getting the support they need… they’re more optimistic and confident about their futures.

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