The program started in March 2014 and is ongoing with an aim empowering and educating rural young girls on matters of sexuality, substance abuse, hygiene and distribution of sanitary pads. It was also meant to boost their academic performance through tuition and offering materials for revision.
The target schools have increased from 1 school in 2014 to 25 schools in 2017 namely Athinai, Koisamo, Sarambei, Kimugul, Testai, Lenginet, Shalom, St. Marys, Logiri, Majani Mingi, Sinendet, Mogotio, Makongeni, Banita, Kipsyenan, Kaptera, Lomanira, Ngusero, and Kapsetek primary, Athinai Secondary, Christ the King girls and Vanessa Grant Girls schools as well as Mogotio polytechnic and Emining Technical Training institute.
This has grown to include boys from 2015 and mentorship with performing secondary school (Vanessa Grant Girls School) which has increased hope and confidence in the girls. The theme for 2014 was “My education, my future”, in 2015 it was “Be the Change” and 2016 it was“I am the change”2017 the theme is, “Change begins with me.”
We also provide revision books and materials to them in an exchange system as well as past exam papers for revision. Pupils from 15 primary school sat for a common exam every term which really motivated their effort of improving performance. Over 250 pupils sat for their national exam (KCPE) and we are hopeful of good results to allow them join high school.
There are also extra skills in computer packages, baking, soap making and cooking offered during their school holidays. In 2016 all our candidates joined high schools with 3 schools being among the best performing in the region and 4 of the girls getting full scholarships for secondary education.
We are glad that since July 2017, at Dandelion Africa Resource centre is a library that serves the students and pupils with access to free internet services for research which serves the community to a radius of 15 KMs away allowing them have access to information.
The clubs approach started in 2016 and in 2017, there are 25 schools with the Girls for Leaders and Boys for change Club in their schools, these clubs focus not only on SRHR but on STEM and reporting systems of abuse and leadership. This has been accelerated by the pioneers of the program who have graduated to different secondary schools and initiating the clubs as well as neighboring schools requesting to be included.
Workshops are done with the schools and parents on the impact of cultural practices to the performance of girls, major issue being FGM, early and forced teen marriages, substance abuse and dependency on the parents among others.
The success of the information reaching the pupils has been confirmed by having one of the girl from Kimugul primary Abigael Cherono (15 years) rescued from early marriage. We have also recorded 15 girls coming out to report violence ranging from sexual to harmful cultural practices.
Provision of sanitary pads has also helped to keep the girls in school and ensure their right for education is achieved. We provide sanitary pads to 1850 girls from 25 different rural primary and secondary schools.
The awareness campaigns are done in schools and villages to communicate to the surrounding villages the effects of FGM and paternal alcohol dependency as well as other cultural practices like early marriages. The pupils use the art approach to communicate this. The information is displayed through projector shows to create more impact on the pupils and community at large.
The following villages have been reached through awareness campaign; Mogotio, Lomolo, Sarambei, Athinai, Koisamo, Majani Mingi, Alfega, Lenginet, Rongai, Banita, Shalom and Moricho. All these villages have shown great changes after the awareness campaign e.g. Lomolo declared FGM free zone!
In 2017, men and boys included gender equality sensitization in their campaigns against harmful cultural practices which have seen most communities understanding gender roles positively including Majani Mingi, Mogotio and Sarambei.