30 Jun Mentorship Program
Mentorship Program for Class Eight Leavers Form 1 And Form 2 Girls
This is a residential programme held annually in the 2nd week of December. The rationale of the programme is to facilitate an alternative passage of rites to the girls by equipping them with knowledge and skills to help them negotiate secondary level of education without undue pressure from all areas of their lives.
This is a phase of transition for most of them as adolescents who need to cope with life in boarding institution. It is a five days intensive programme covering psycho education life skill education, games and sports other forms of creative use of leisure time. There are success stories from the participants of the pioneer group who are now in form 3 in various High schools
Achievements made so far:
- Eleven girls successfully graduated in Dec 2009 after being trained for six days at SACDEP, Thika Town.
- A follow up to the eleven girls was done. Nine girls were invited for a few days at Ngoliba Retreat center, Thika in Dec 2010. The other three girls could not afford to pay for it.
- An additional thirteen girls went through the programme and graduated at Ngoliba Retreat Center. A total of 25 girls have been taken through the initiative.
- The programme continues to empower the girls to face the challenges and it has been noted that they are recording good academic performance in their respective secondary schools. They are well disciplined as their parents and the girls themselves reported forms indicated. The following statements support this:
- Esther, one of the girls who attended the first seminar reported in June during her half-term recess had this to say..
“I learnt so much that my life as positively transformed. When other students tease a teacher in class, I act differently and remind them that the class is the loser when it shows hostility to their teacher. I keep referring to my notes whenever I talk to talk to my classmates because they proposed that I should be the class peer counselor”. I now do well in Math’s and Science which I enjoy studying”.
Another girl, Dolly was able to cope in a private secondary school where her peers wanted to exert peer pressure on her to experiment on alcohol smuggled to school by a friend.
Dolly reflects… “When I remember my past life in primary school I feel could have done better if I had interacted with TRI programme earlier”.
One mother of the initial group stated…“As a family we are proud of Sarah’s behavior and performance and we intend to visit her on Saturday and award her for maintaining a high standard of discipline and academic excellence”.
Another mother reported that her daughter was made a dormitory prefect in second term of form one.
Challenges and limitations:
Every new idea meets many challenges and these will be addressed accordingly, for instance:
- Mobilization workshops: To address parents and reassure them their children are in good hands. The workshops will encourage their participation and opportunity to ask questions.
- The project will focus in one district before moving to other areas especially the rural communities where female cut is still the norm. We intend to use lessons at the experiment district to add value to the new areas.
- The contribution of parents will cater for transport, accommodation, stationery and other consumables.
- Any external funds would be put into transport, meals and per diem allowances for invited expert facilitators.
- We anticipate the programme will gain popularity with time, then the projected increments. We also expect the beneficiaries to assist in spreading word to friends and relatives, thus reducing mobilization expenses slightly.
- To reach out to girl child in other areas especially where female genital cut is normal practice. This will require sensitizing parents and community in general. The exercise requires the blessing of community leadership and schools. Involvement of boys is essential as they are essential stakeholders as future suitors and husbands.
- Alternative rites of passage for girls and value addition to communities where male circumcision is traditionally practiced.
- Through elders and community leadership the programs will introduce the values of male circumcision and allow me for community to discuss and digest the pros and cons of the idea in order to make informed decision.
- These participatory meetings normally demand time and other resources.
- Empowering vulnerable girls by virtue of teenage pregnancies and also coming from low economic backgrounds particularly from kiandutu slums in Thika County.
- Establishing a Teenage Rescure home where disadvantaged pregnant teenagers can call a home, bring up their children and acquire necessary lifeskills as well as continue with their education.