Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Girl Power Nairobi September Report

This month was quite difficult for the Clubs as there is a Government regulation barring government-sponsored schools from holding groupings of any type nationwide, until schools close in October. We, however, managed to cover various topics in various private schools but others, including Olympic Secondary had no session this month and probably the whole of this term, while in Karen C Secondary, the sessions will end this month until next year. We have managed to cover at least two topics in schools this month. 
This is the sessions overview during the month.
Olympic high school
Conflict resolution
Personal statement
Karama primary
Career choices
St Catherine primary
Career choices
Peace one day
Personal statement
Nazarene  primary
Career Choices
Peace one day
Personal statement
Karen c
Career Choices
We had two schools attend St Catherine and Nazarene 62 girls present. The day was special as we marked Peace One Day with various activities on conflict resolution and also played two sports: rugby and football. The girls participated fully and it was a good day.


The theme was conflict resolution we marked the first day during Sports Day and also the real Peace One Day with Nazarene and also with Jitahidi at the tennis court during that week the topic was peace in all the school to mark the day, playing tennis. The total number that participated was almost 600 from ll the activities carried out that week.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

At Last: Proof That Our Program Changes Lives!

It is finally here! The proof that what we hoped for all these years is actually true!

Girl Power Clubs Africa, together with other organizations in Africa and Asia, participated in a unique 3-year DFID-sponsored and Women Win coordinated ‘Building Young Women’s Leadership Through Sport’ (BYWLTS) programme, with the objective of increasing the leadership of adolescent girls and young women (AGYW) in formal and informal decision making processes. Women Win worked closely with eight partner organizations in seven countries to deliver quality sport and life skills curricula to over 65,000 AGYW. In addition, AGYW were provided with opportunities to practice leadership through a mentorship program and by learning how to share their stories through Digital Storytelling. Extensive monitoring and evaluation processes were used to understand the impact that the BYWLTS program had on partner organizations. 

Read more about it on this link and be amazed!

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

VV Mentoring Walk A Boost For Rural Kenyan Women and Girls

Hon. Angelina A. Ochiambo cuts the ribbon to begin the Walk
On Saturday 5th of March 2016, attention of Kenyans were drawn to a rural community in Sigomere, East Uholo, Ugenya in Siaya County, where 233 girls and 100 community women mentors gathered for the Vital Voices Global Mentoring Walk, an international event that saw girls make life-changing pledges to their mentors that will dictate their individual and collective future. The mentoring walk was officially opened by Special Guest, Hon. Angelina Achieng Odhiambo, nominated member of Siaya County Assembly, who encouraged the girls to keep working hard and complete school as a first decision.

Girls and Mentors walk joined by the community
"This is the first time that such an important event has taken place outside of a city in Kenya", said VV Lead Fellow,  Dr. Liz Odera, on a phone call from Durham, USA. "I was very confident, and very impressed to see how well the whole community, including the leaders joined hands and embraced the idea of mentoring girls." Liz, who is the founder of Girl Power Clubs Africa, also said, "There are women in rural communities have a lot knowledge and support to lend."  And this was, indeed, an opportunity to let them drive the process on their own, under the able encouragement of County Lead for Girl Power Clubs in Siaya, Maria Okong'o, who ensured that she was inclusive and brought in both men to champion the girls' cause, ably bringing in more than 7 media houses to cover the event, which was also encouraging messages from the MP for Ugunja Constituency, Hon. Opiyo Wandayi, who was unable to attend, but sent a representative.

Hon. Christine Ombaka delivers the keynote speech
Our Guest of Honor, Hon. Dr. Christine Ombaka giving the keynote speech, she said," Men in our Luo community who understand our tradition, recognize the importance of women, and that is why in 1969, men chose a woman, Grace Onyango as the Mayor for Kisumu, and later as Member of Parliament. And that's why the power of men is important in ensuring girls grow up, and for that, we congratulate those men who are ready to boost our joint efforts, However, for those men who look down on women, the time has come, when girls must have the same opportunity as men. And that is why we will all continue to join hands as Girl Power on the 8th March, at the International Women's Day". 

The result of this exciting event was the launch of a mentoring program, called, "Ask Aunty" which brings together women from the community to encourage, inspire, and train girls. "Many of these women grew up in Siaya, but went on to live elsewhere to study, work and have families. We are now offering them a chance to support the girls too.", says Maria.
Maria Okong'o (seated) and Joy Akim

Girl Power Clubs National Coordinator, Joy Akim, who was fully involved in the preparations, and ensured that all the technical areas were covered, said, "I was very excited to see how well local women can organize themselves, and also how much the head teachers and patrons of the school clubs were supportive and ready to lend a hand. I find Siaya a unique and exciting place to work in, and see the opportunities for growth will be great here". Joy intends to carry our follow ups with the mentors and mentees for the rest of the year, and hopes to report progress.

One of the mentees, Helen Achieng, summed up the occasion in one sentence, "Now I know that everyone cares about my future."

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Girl Power Clubs Africa to Lead Global Mentoring Walk

Preparations are underway to mark this year's International Women's Day on 5th March, in Uholo, Ugenya Constituency, Kenya, with the Global Mentoring Walk that will see more than 200 girls partner with mentors who will help them make life's decisions. This is be the first time that an event of this nature takes place in a rural setting in Kenya.

We are pleased that Vital Voices Fellow Dr. Liz Odera, chose the Girl Power Clubs Africa Program in Ugunja Constituency to be the flag-bearers for Kenya. The Guest of Honour will be the Siaya County Women’s MP Hon Dr Christine Ombaka. Other leaders from the county will be present. It will be a precursor event to celebrate the International Women’s Day.

The Day’s Programme
8.00 – 9.00 a.m. High school girls and community women leaders converge at the Sigomre Chief’s Camp.
9.30 a.m. – 10.00 a.m. Flag off of the Ceremony
Women and Girls begin walk, which ends at the Sigomre Secondary School
11.00 a.m. – Speech by the Guest of Honour, Hon Dr Christine Ombaka 
                   - Speech by Ugunja MP Hon Opiyo Wandayi
11.30 a.m. – Girls and mentors hold group discussions
12.30 p.m. – Lunch and guests leave at their own leisure.
Notes to the Editor
  1. Vital Voices is a leading non-governmental organization (NGO) that identifies, trains and empowers emerging women leaders and social entrepreneurs around the globe, enabling them to create a better world. Vital Voices believes that mentoring is a critical activity in empowering women to succeed as leaders and creating opportunities for women on a local scale.
  2. Girl Power Clubs Africa is a women leadership program that trains teenage girls to become agents of positive change through sport, culture, art and dance, addressing Action against violence; personal abilities; healthy lifestyles; HIV and AIDS; self-esteem; entrepreneurship; role modeling, and taking leadership roles. Current membership: 1530 girls in 32 schools within Nairobi, Busia and Siaya Counties, with networks in Uganda, Tanzania, and Rwanda. Website:
  3. The Global Mentoring Walk is an opportunity to highlight the importance of women’s leadership, and to accelerate the impact of women leaders through mentoring. Organized by outstanding local leaders who are key members of the Vital Voices Global Leadership Network, the annual Mentoring Walk brings together established women leaders and emerging women leaders to walk together in their community.
  4. As they walk, they discuss their professional challenges and successes and establish a mentoring relationship in which the seasoned leader guides, advises and supports her peer. The benefits of women’s mentorship are numerous. It establishes camaraderie, creates gender-friendly environments, promotes a stronger environment for women’s success, and expands horizons for further personal growth as you explore innovative leadership strategies
  5. For more information, please contact Maria Okong'o, the Girl Power Clubs Program Leader in Siaya County, and +254-727-869-882. 

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

A Visit To A Girl Power Club: St. Catherine School, Kibera

Girl Power Club - St. Catherine School in Kibera is very special: learn about the effort and sacrifice of two people who chose to change the lives of many in the founders of this school.
St Catherine School was founded in the year 2000 by Pastor James Anyango and his wife Cprine. It started as an orphanage;   a large number of children had no home to stay in the society. It started with three children who had lost their parents and no relative of them was willing to take them in, further orphans who had lost their parents due to poverty aids or violence were adopted .The number gradually increased  step by step developed to a preschool then a primary school was created. More than 150 children are learning in the school some from the orphanage and others from the west side of kibera slum. The orphanage has more than 30 children currently as some are leaving .Its main objective is to help the needy children in kibera to achieve a better life and give them the right perspective for the future to reach their life time goals.

In the year 2015 a road construction project has been implemented in kibera slum by the ministry of devolution to reduce crime activities in the slum, hygienic purpose and to better their living in kibera. The process has really affected the school since they had to give way for the project. The school has split into two a preschool [from baby class to class three] and upper primary [from class four to class eight]. It has been left with no field or playing ground. Girls dormitory for the orphanage were also affected during the contraction .This courses congestion since the kids have to share the left rooms.

The heavy load of construction and organizing the school has been left on teachers and the children. The distance also from the children’s home to the school has been added with almost 1.5 km since that is the distance the school has been forced to split and migrate from its original position. Water and food has become a challenge too .Children prepare their own lunch in  turns, using the kitchen which is shared between the school and the children’s home, so as to save on time. The road also is a problem. The school has no fencing or enough space for the children and during the tea break time they run to the road to play or find something to eat which is dangerous due to the high speeding cars and motorcycle.  It has two toilets which are in a poor and dangerous condition and this has led to poor sanitation. The school assemblies have also been affected making it hard to communicate to children as one. Classes are filled with dust, cracked walls and poor roofing which allow sun and rain to penetrate easily to the classes.

 The school and orphanage depends on its farm at Migori County in Kenya, the church, donation of items and fund, child sponsorship, cooperative company and volunteers to enable them get funds for running the school.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Siaya Remains Firm Inspite Of Tough Times

Inspite of difficulties experienced countrywide as a result of the mammoth teacher's strike, Girl Power Clubs Siaya County remained resolute and used every moment to get involved in projects and educating the community. Here is our report:

August:  There were no direct Girl Power activities in August as all schools had closed for the holidays. However, the Parish Games organized by the Catholic Church were held during the month. All youth in the ward were involved and the games proved very popular in the community who made time to come and watch their favorite teams. Many of our Girl Power members participate actively in sports and so were an integral part of the various teams. The Girl Power coach Florence Owino was in great demand to help coach some of the teams. The winners were Sigomre Parish team followed by the Ukwala Parish team. Twelve girl teams were involved in the games playing soccer and netball. 
All public schools stayed closed throughout September and the first week of October owing to a countrywide teachers’ strike. In September Girl Power activities took place in only one school. This was Oasis Academy which is privately owned. Interestingly some of the parents decided to move their children to Oasis Academy over the strike period on a temporary basis.  Many of the younger girls at the Academy should interest in joining the sporting activities and so were included. It was fun times all round as the girls covered issues such as personal hygiene and communication skills. Flo and I also visited the entrepreneurship projects being run by Girl Power members at Sigomre Primary, Ugana Primary and Asango Primary. We noted that the girls were taking care of them well despite the teachers strike.
Public schools reopened in the second week of October after the teachers strike collapsed. The challenge that Girl Power faced at first was having space to carry on the program in the overcrowded curriculum that most schools adopted in order to catch up with the syllabus after the strike. The earlier demands by some patrons that they be “motivated” to carry on with the Girl Power initiative was heightened by the fact that their salaries for the month of September were withheld by the Teachers Service Commission. This was especially so in Tingare Secondary School and at Uloma Secondary School, whose patrons said they did not plan any further involvement in the Girl Power program as they need “motivation” to do so.  The Ywaya Primary School is however back on board with a bang, even ensuring the selection of a senior female teacher to be the new patron. Teacher Rose is a breath of fresh air as she understands the challenges faced in threat area of Sigomre Ward, chief among them being high primary schoolgirl dropout rates due to early marriage, pregnancy and cultural norms. This year alone there were four dropouts from the school, one of whom was a Girl Power Club member. Teacher Rose wishes to be included in any future capacity building training.
Sigomre Secondary Girl Power Club stood out once again, with their members being invited to participate in the Mashujaa Day (Heroes Day) activities. They gave a great rendition of their now famous Girlpower Rap song to tumultuous applause by the guests who included the Sub-County Assistant Commissioner and ministerial staff, the Sub-County Administrator, the Chief, assistant chiefs, police officers, miji kumi chairpersons and the public. The Sub-County Assistant Commissioner asked the area Girl Power program assistant Maria Okong’o to tell the gathering what the program was doing in the area and its importance. Members of the public who spoke later were of the opinion that this was a great way to ensure that the girl child benefited from education, sports and leadership skills. They demanded that the program be spread to other schools in the ward as its positive benefits were quite clear in the short period it had existed in the area.
Also during the last week of October the Girl Power endline survey was carried out. The data will be analyzed by the head office in Nairobi.

Way Forward
Both Uloma and Tingare are in an area where both girls and the community would be influenced positively through the Girl Power programme. The demands by patrons for “personal motivation” should be nipped in the bud; the beneficiaries are the girls and the community in which they live. The parents and girls in the area wish the program to continue and so we need to remove leadership control from such teachers. One way of doing this is by building the capacity of the girls to lead so they can run Girl Power themselves with the help of the project assistants and skilled volunteer mentors /advocates who share the Girl Power vision. It is our hope that the Girl Power Workshop for regional coordinators to be held this month will come up with ideas to actualize this.

Maria Okongo