Overcoming myths and education in schools in Kenya

Family planning and education on female genital mutilation

The cur­rent situa­ti­on in Kenya is depres­sing. The popu­la­ti­on has tripled sin­ce inde­pen­dence. Lar­ge fami­lies, poly­ga­my, poor qua­li­ty of schoo­ling, lack of jobs, scar­ce resour­ces, litt­le women’s rights are the order of the day, ”wri­tes our for­mer pro­ject part­ner Make me Smi­le Kenya, who took over our 114 Rain Workers, who were trai­ned tog­e­ther in 2017. That is the rea­son why we are acti­ve with several pro­jects in Kenya.

In total, we have trained 334 people in Kenya since 2008: partly as real rain workers, partly for additional qualifications in their jobs!

We star­ted our appren­ti­ce­ships in Kenya in 2008 and have sin­ce then worked with a lar­ge num­ber of local and inter­na­tio­nal pro­ject part­ners:

CAFGEM Mak­ki­non tog­e­ther with Tabu e.V. Dort­mund: 3 Akti­on Regen Info Days with 25 com­mu­ni­ty social workers

Ger­man Doctor´s Nai­ro­bi: Trai­ning of 27 Rain Workers

Aus­tri­an Doctor´s Kajia­do: Trai­ning of 10 Rain Workers

SOS Vil­la­ges: Trai­ning of 25 Rain Workers and 35 SOS mothers

SOS-TTI Tech­ni­cal Trai­ning Insti­tu­te Nai­ro­bi: Trai­ning of 4 tea­chers and 22 stu­dents

PANAIROBI Mat­ha­re Nai­ro­bi: Trai­ning of 7 Rain Workers (social workers in the slum)

Make a Chan­ge: Trai­ning of 3 Rain Workers (social workers in the slum)

DESECE Bungo­ma: Trai­ning of 40 Rain Workers

Parish DolD­ol Nukuyu­ni: Trai­ning of 14 Rain Ror­kers

MIGORI Women and Widow Group: Trai­ning of 8 Rain Workers

MIGORI / MABERA com­mu­ni­ty: 20 new Rain Workers will be trai­ned in 2020
bil­det

we are now assis­ting com­mu­nities to try fami­ly plan­ning as an opti­on to sol­ve their pro­blems in life

OVERCOMing MYTHS TOGETHER

Our pro­ject part­ner DESECE has been acti­ve in West Kenya sin­ce 1993 in peace work, human rights, edu­ca­ti­on and trai­ning, gen­der equa­li­ty, health, orga­nic far­ming, the envi­ron­ment and eco­lo­gy. Our joint Rain Worker trai­ning cour­ses, which we have been pur­suing sin­ce 2015, have led to DESECE has a fixed core team of 40 Rain Workers, who have set the focus from this year, to pro­vi­de detail­ed infor­ma­ti­on about FGM to fema­le geni­tal muti­la­ti­on. In addi­ti­on, 10 new rain workers will be trai­ned in 2019.

We have the goal of reaching even more schools,” wri­tes the DESECE coör­di­na­tor, “becau­se the pro­blem of unpro­tec­ted traf­fic among stu­dents is very high in our regi­on. But we also have to inten­si­fy our work in the com­mu­nities, becau­se many peop­le belie­ve in old myths and have mis­con­cep­ti­ons about fami­ly plan­ning methods. The con­dom in par­ti­cu­lar is still asso­cia­ted with pro­sti­tu­ti­on. Others belie­ve that if women take con­tracep­ti­ves, they will beco­me weak and sick. ”

The ran­ge of our Rain Workers is enor­mous: in 2018 they held over 1,200 ses­si­ons and, with fami­ly plan­ning, repro­duc­ti­ve health and HIV/AIDS pre­ven­ti­on, reached more than 26,000 peop­le in vil­la­ges, church­es, various com­mu­ni­ty groups and fami­lies. In addi­ti­on, the rain workers went to schools and reached almost 6,000 school­child­ren and 700 stu­dents.

 KNOWLEDGE MAKES SCHOOL!

In the slums of Nai­ro­bi, in the Mat­ha­re slum, many young women beco­me pregnant befo­re the age of 18 becau­se they are not or only insuf­fi­ci­ent­ly infor­med. Often they ter­mi­na­te the pregnan­cy under dan­ge­rous con­di­ti­ons or they are expel­led from school and face a future with no pro­spects. For this rea­son, we coope­ra­ted with PANAIROBI from 2014 to 2019, and in June 2018, tog­e­ther with the deve­lo­p­ment aid club and our Rain Workers, we car­ri­ed out the “Know­ledge makes school” pro­ject, in which not only pupils recei­ve edu­ca­tio­nal les­sons, but also train their tea­chers in fami­ly plan­ning beco­me.

3,000 pupils from ten schools were given age-appro­pria­te infor­ma­ti­on during the cour­se, and 20 tea­chers were trai­ned in fami­ly plan­ning, HIV pre­ven­ti­on and sexu­al health. Infor­med ado­lescents can make respon­si­ble decisi­ons and avoid unwan­ted pregnan­ci­es and HIV infec­tions.

We have crea­ted a good plat­form, a pro­tec­ted space in which rain workers can open up the wrong ide­as about fami­ly plan­ning in a friend­ly and open man­ner,” wro­te the coör­di­na­tor of PANAIROBI in her report. “The tea­chers and stu­dents share their expe­ri­en­ces and can learn from best prac­ti­ce examp­les. The Rain Workers also give prac­ti­cal demons­tra­ti­ons, for examp­le how to use a con­dom cor­rect­ly. ”

A SCHOOL IN THE MASSAI AREA AS A Pioneer

Most of the inha­bi­tants of the Kajia­do regi­on, on the bor­der with Tan­za­nia, belong to the Masai and live as semi-nomads from catt­le bree­ding. We have been coope­ra­ting with the Aus­tri­an Doc­tors sin­ce 2018 and have star­ted to train 12 future rain workers from the Eroret pri­ma­ry school. The head­mas­ter and his wife, a tea­cher, act as super­vi­sors and sup­port the trai­nees as much as pos­si­ble.

Kenya is one of the coun­tries whe­re the rate of geni­tal­ly muti­la­ted girls and women is very high. FGM (Fema­le Geni­tal Muti­la­ti­on) is par­ti­cu­lar­ly widespread among the Masai. Our Rain Workers will the­re­fo­re draw the public’s atten­ti­on to the health pro­blems and con­se­quen­ces of the muti­la­ti­on and try to make them rethink.

Even though the num­ber of tho­se who advo­ca­te infi­bu­la­ti­on — that is, the com­ple­te remo­val of the geni­tals with sub­se­quent sewing on a pin-sized hole — is decli­ning, cli­to­ral cir­cumcisi­on is incre­a­sing. This cir­cumcisi­on, often inter­pre­ted as a “mild” form, is not a “more huma­ne” one, becau­se the pain for the girls and women is uni­ma­gin­ab­le. Becau­se the cli­to­ris is not — as is often assu­med — sim­ply a skin fold that has to be remo­ved, but an organ! This is a cen­tral con­cern of our Rain Workers!

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Birth rate:
4.9 child­ren per woman
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Mar­ried women who use con­tracep­ti­on:
32%
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Women who are geni­tal­ly muti­la­ted:
FGM is tra­di­tio­nal­ly prac­ti­ced by 38 of the 43 eth­nic groups. The hig­hest cir­cumcisi­on rate of an eth­nic group is 94%, the lowest at 0.2%. Over­all: 21% are muti­la­ted:
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Mater­nal mor­ta­li­ty:
1%
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Child
mor­ta­li­ty:
7,9%
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Illi­ter­acy rate:
Men 22% Women 30%
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HIV/AIDS rate in adults:
5,4%
This empower­ment has enab­led many peo­p­les to chan­ge their atti­tu­des towards the nega­ti­ve per­cep­ti­on to fami­ly plan­ning