Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Meet Coordinator Joy Akim

A daughter of Africa, young and very passionate about children. I love and value education. There is no end to learning and true freedom comes from knowing. I'm a graduate of Social Work from University. My favorite sport is Karate and I cannot get tired of eating fresh food, I love farming. I admire great leaders and strives to be one each day. I am deeply interest in development and finance. I love my job presently working as the coordinator of a Leadership empowerment program for girls in schools called Girl Power Clubs Africa in Nairobi Kenya. We are a young program destined for greatness. I love being with family and friends and prayer is my strength. Am Joy Zaiah Akim, Coordinator, Girl Power Clubs Africa

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Emerging Issues Busia County March 2015

At last we are in Busia County, North Teso Sub County, Angorai Division, Katakwa Location. This is home to the Teso. They have very fertile land and are a very hard working people. They are farmers and their main cash crop presently is Tobacco. Majority of the Teso people are found in Uganda and they have a king who is referred to as Emormor. As mentioned earlier they are still very in touch with their African ways. This has led to very serious violation of the children and women rights in this community.
My visit to this community was very humbling as I found very friendly people but was also shocked by the information I was getting. I was here to launch the girl power program with assistance from the director of H- WAY (Heal the Women and Youth) a community based organization that we partnered with on the ground. They use sports as a tool for change and development. 
Several issues emerged from this visit. First, there are very many cases of rape, incest and sexual harassment. Girls as young as the age 7 are being defiled by their relatives who should be protecting them. Most of these cases are not reported and for the few that are reported only one is completed and the offender persecuted. The parents and government administrators are highly compromised.
Secondly there are several girls, who have gone back to school and are performing despite the predicaments that faced them. We have girls who have given birth. We applaud these young mothers who have a strong will to make a change in their lives. They really need a lot of guidance, support, and encouragement.  We also have victims of rape and incest  who are in school bravely dealing with stigma, are working hard in school despite all this.
Thirdly is that most girls in secondary schools are sexually active. This has resulted in very many severe cases of sexually transmitted infections. These girls are ignorant and are not practicing safe sex. There are also cases of HIV positive children who need proper care and medication. The number of HIV positive students is not big.
Fourth is high poverty levels have resulted in young girls falling for bodaboda riders (Motorbike riders) who cheat and have sex with them then leave them. This has greatly contributed to these girls dropping out of school due to early pregnancy. On the other hand young boys are also dropping out of school to be bodaboda riders and make quick easy money.
Fifth is a high rate of girls dropping out of school due to lack of school fee, early pregnancies, early marriages, and poverty. In some cases the parents prefer to educate the boys and not the girls. 
The other issue is a high rate of absenteeism for girls in school especially when they are on their menstrual period. This is because they do not have sanitary towels.
There are also several child headed households and this affect their education. There are several causes for this, one the parents are diseased, secondly the parents have moved to town to look for jobs, on the other hand its grandparents who are left in the home and they are too old to fend for the children.    
The girls of this community are very talented and they play sports. This is home to both handball and football national teams. The community also actively participates in sports as noted by the CBO H-WAY.
There is need for us to come up with a boys program in this area that will support the girls directly. We cannot address some of these problems successfully if we do not involve our brothers.
Lastly is that in order for us to make a change in this community we need to address the community as a whole. We need to talk to the mothers, fathers, girls and the leadership. We need to see change in women by women for women. Just as we say you can silence one girl but a nation of girls can’t be silenced. We have a platform to voice out and we surely will till change happens.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Emerging Issues Nairobi County: Feb-March 2015

Certain issues have come up during this quarter, which we are reporting on here:

The topics in the Goal book do not have enough information on certain areas, so its important to get additional support information. For example, the HIV-AIDS topics do not have information on the stages of HIV, symptoms and what the diet of an infected person should be. These are questions that are often asked.

Older girls in the community are reluctant to be seen attending sessions at our Girl Power Clubs Offices in Kibera. This is as a result of complains from the community members that another organization would take girls and get them impregnated.

Some topics like First Aid and Menstruation need more technical support mainly because the girls ask very many questions and some have real health problems that need support.

We have been under pressure from some men who are trying to intimidate us at the Girl Power Office in Kibera, claiming that we are teaching girls how to reject their advances. One man even came and urinated openly on our entrance to show us what "useless women we were".

However, with the opening of Girl Power Offices in Kibera, many members of the community have been very pleased and are sending their younger daughters to come and spend time and "learn something about life". We hope to work with the community to know more about issues that they want tackled jointly, to help their girls.

We also received a visit from Winston Salem State University students who were really shocked and upset about the conditions of living in the slum, and lack of adequate health care.

Shilla, Mueni and Carlcy
Girl Power Clubs - Nairobi County

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Girl Power Clubs Siaya County Emerging Issues Report: Feb-March 2015

Girl Power Clubs in Sigomre has been making slow but sure progress this term.  Due to a nationwide teachers strike that paralysed learning in all public schools in the country, many schools opened well into the new term, in early February. Having begun so late in the school term, the school administrations gave priority to catching up with the school syllabuses and curricula over other needs. Many extra-curricular activities were dropped except for those designated as a must by the Ministry of education. The exceptions were competitive inter-school sports tournaments, debates, science congress and drama. In the hurried and packed school timetables many head teachers were reluctant to assign time for student club activities this term even where these appeared on the timetables. A few of the teachers (thankfully vey few) appear to feel that Girl Power is an additional responsibility they can do without unless they receive compensation.

Mentoring of schoolgirls is almost totally ignored in many communities in Kenya, and although the ministry has included counselling in the curriculum in all schools in most cases it is given lip service and only applied on a case by case basis. In the hurried atmosphere that attended resumption of teaching in schools many teachers would rather give the time to remedial classes or sports. Sports usually wins out especially as the responsibility for this is delegated to a coach or sports teacher. Also parents pay for sports activities and expect value for themir money not to mention the fact that most students love sporting activities.

This term there have been a lot of interruptions that interfered with the seamless flow in Girl Power Club activities. Eleven schools in Sigomre Ward have Girl Power clubs, but three of them have yet to hold a Goal activity, especially the secondary schools. Examples are Tingare Secondary,  Moi Uloma, and Got Osimbo Girls. The first two are sport champions in the county while the second one being the only "girls only" boarding school in the constituency is under great pressure to better its academic performance and has embarked on an exam-oriented regime which has even affected sports. Our tactic in most cases has been to turn up anyway and teach a life skill during the sports session or to deliver more than one topic per session.

Despite this, more and more members of the community are eager that their daughters join the Clubs, especially since the girls are involved in sports activities. They say they have seen a positive impact that the sports and life skills activities have had on their daughters and would wish that the work continues. In fact at one public meeting called by the Chief parents wanted to know when Girl Power would start at their local primary and secondary school. There has also been an increase in the number of girls joining Girl Power and we have had to cap this at a maximum of 50 girls to allow for meaningful engagement, especially as use of English is a challenge especially in public primary schools here which begin learning the language only in Std 4. But our insistence on its use is beginning to bear fruit as more members are using it with improved confidence.

The boys of course are quite jealous and a few of the male teachers also  wonder why girls should receive special attention. Such teachers and headteachers have gone as far as using the Girl Power balls for the boys teams saying they are school property. This is the case in St Ignatius Sigomre Primary and in Ninga Primary. However Rome was not built in a day and the positive influence that Girl Power is exerting is changing the girls into questioning injustices and pushing for their rights. This has happened in Ninga Primary where the girls have insisted they too must be given time to play as a team on the soccer pitch and to use the Girl Power balls.

We are pushing on with the work and hope to have more sessions before schools get down to exams or close the term. We are staying positive as usual, because we are POWERFUL!

Maria Okong'o
Project Assistant
Girl Power Clubs Africa
Ugunja Constituency, Siaya County

Monday, March 23, 2015

Mary Bahati

I am Mary Bahati from Olympic High School, Girl Power Club. I enjoy socializing, playing football and doing First Aid. The reason I enjoy doing First Aid is because I learnt from life skills given at home how to apply herbal medicine to an injured person, I also know how to apply modern first aid. I’m currently in Form 2 and I came to this school through a sponsorship program in Mombasa whereby I was sponsored through football. Being a footballer we face a lot of challenges like menstruation during games, earlier I felt uncomfortable playing during my menses but through this program I learned that it is healthy to exercise during our period, I also I didn’t know one was allowed to swim during menstruation. I now enjoy doing all this and feel just normal. I have also learnt a lot about my rights and where to go when they are defiled. Lastly the biggest change in my life is learning how to be confident and have a high self esteem because I can now stand in a big crowd and talk without fear, have also learnt that yes I’m a lady but I can still make it in this male dominated world and become one of the powerful ladies who bring change to other girls and I can fulfill my dream of being a professional footballer someday.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Meet 2015 Volunteer Esther Mueni Mulonzi

“I am 18 years of age and I can describe myself as a young, intelligent and determined lady who is a go getter by nature, apart from this I enjoy swimming, socializing, drawing, playing baseball and would like to pursue a career in Aviation later in life. The reason I came to work with Girl Power Clubs is because while in school the club really mentored me and I felt obligated to give back to the girl child what I had learned and also because I enjoy teaching other girls about how to be a real lady. However, the thing that really pushed me to do this is the fact that the society has not yet fully embraced and accepted the girl child and I wanted to be part of the team, seeing to it that the society fully embraces  the girl child and be part of the people who give beneficial information to girls to let them know that being a girl does not simply mean being stepped on in this male dominated world, it simply means one is special but in a different way and anything they want  to achieve is achievable. Being a girl should not stand on the way of success and by passing this across we would be able to empower more girls and achieve our goal of changing the world to finally embrace equality. I also wanted to be part of the team that supports Girl Power Clubs Africa program to grow and become better, bigger and the best in terms of girl child support."

Thursday, March 19, 2015



I’m Merceline Ocholla from Nairobi Day High School. I like playing volleyball, socializing in facebook and studying. I joined Girl Power Clubs Africa in Form 1 and I really enjoy having sessions with the Girl Power members, they have really made an impact in my life. There are some things I had taken for granted like managing my time. I could waste a lot of time chatting with my friends but through the topic time management I’m able to plan for my everyday activities like setting time for leisure and studying, hence I have really improved in my grades after listening keenly to the lessons. I have also learnt how to stay safe while having fun, when I go to parties I always carry my drinks around to avoid spiking which can lead to rape and irresponsible sexual behavior. Through Girl Power Clubs, I have also been able to grow my self-esteem, which has led to my promotion to being the Sanitation Prefect in our school. This program has really changed my life, I’m really thankful.