The Coast Counties Watch (CCW) salutes local NGOS who continue to work tirelessly to empower the most vulnerable and support communities despite the operational and financial challenges posed by the Covid 19 pandemic.
Despite the grave threats to the critical work they do, the challenges they face amidst strained resources, the courage that some of them continue to demonstrate in the face of terrifying uncertainty is commendable and deserves all appreciation.
They continue to do what they do best-challenging old assumptions, igniting conversations, exposing new possibilities and shedding unique light on difficult issues, through community participation.
Organisations like Angaza Initiative (AI) and Hope International, have remained unwavering advocates and service providers for girls and children, filling service gaps to ensure gender equality is still upheld, through both online and offline efforts.
To the rescue of the girl child…
The Covid 19 pandemic is amplifying existing gender inequalities and is deeply affecting the environment in which girls grow and develop.
As social isolation measures remain in place, and the effects on the girl child becoming alarmingly clear, there have been calls by various stakeholders for interventions to support girls especially the marginalized and disadvantaged.
The Angaza Initiative (AI) campaign led by Executive Director Sheila Toya, that sought to empower vulnerable girls from poor community backgrounds in Junda, Kisauni, could therefore not have come at a better time.
In collaboration with Talanta ni Kazi, Youth group in Junda, Toya and her team engaged young girls and women, a worthy cause that also saw the distribution of dignity bags to participants which had in them sanitary wear, sanitizers, bar soap and face masks.
This comes at a time when school closures, increased economic hurdles, family pressures and decreased or even lack of access to services and safe spaces have significantly increased girls’ vulnerability.
Education has been interrupted, protective structures disrupted and their families and communities placed under stress by health and economic burdens, leading to devastating impact on the long term well being of the girl child.
Adolescent girls are among those most affected and at high risk and if not addressed, could reverse the gains made and have far reaching implications in the future.
Already, we have witnessed an increase in teenage pregnancies, gender based violence, early marriages and many girls are further expected to drop out of school.
Reports also indicate a steady rise in teenage pregnancies since the outbreak, with increased cases of sexual abuse and incest, transactional sex and especially an increase in consensual sexual activity and enhanced barriers to accessing sexual and reproductive health services.
Kenya recording a 40 percent increase in monthly average cases of teen pregnancies since the outbreak of the virus, with parts of Coast like Mombasa, Kilifi and Kwale being some of the Counties contributing to that worrying trend gives a clear picture of the challenges girls are subjected to and the dangers they face today.
Empowering, equipping and educating adolescent girl…
The campaign sought to address some of these challenges by educating and empowering adolescent girls in Junda through knowledge, skills and support networks to promote their health, rights and well being.
It was an exercise that focused on challenges facing adolescent girls that hinder them from reaching their potential and participating fully in society and redressing harmful practices to prevent teenage pregnancies and early and forced marriages.
Girls participated and benefited in comprehensive behaviour change sessions, menstruation and hygiene management, valuable lessons on the dangers of social vices, the benefits of life skills and a boost on self esteem.
Through girl focused empowerment programs, Angaza Initiative and Hope International also provided girls with information that helped to build knowledge of one’s self and environment and sexual and reproductive health.
The organisation delved into self esteem lessons and sessions to enhance their critical thinking, interpersonal and communication skills and other practical skills that will benefit them in the short and the long term.
Says executive director Toya:
“This was an activity done in conjunction with I hope International organization as a give back to the community at this time. We were privileged to have the opportunity to speak to adolescent girls and young women in Junda about early pregnancy and how to curb the same courtesy of Talanta ni Kazi youth group,
We continue to advocate for the rights of child as we educate, empower and equip them with knowledge on self esteem, peer to peer support, self control among others in a quest to protect the girl child with knowledge on how to avoid socially unacceptable activities because an educated girl is an empowered girl and knowledge is power,”
And still partnering with Talanta ni Kazi, Angaza continues to empower the community in Junda in pursuing their livelihoods, supporting talents while sensitizing them about radicalization, violent extremism and other social vices that plagues the community with the aim of transforming society.
About Angaza Initiative Organisation.
Angaza Initiative is an organization based at the Coast, working with youths, women and the discriminated in society with the objectives of educating, empowering and equipping them to better their lives.
Driven by a team committed to seeing the youth,women and the discriminated in society lives change to be productive members of the society, their mission is undertaken through different forums like educational outreaches, mentorship programs, edutainment, career among others.
Angaza also believes that the lives of the youth,women and the discriminated in society can be improved by ensuring the social and economic environments are supportive to their development.
The organisation provides counseling services to youth as a means of correcting and shaping their minds. It also links youth out of school with appropriate and successful business mentors both male and female as part of the mentoring and capacity support process, as well as technical training.
Angaza impacts youths from different backgrounds without preference of race, tribe, status or religious affiliation and location and also raises and gives donations to orphanages and other institutions.
The organisation continued its online campaign against child abuse.
By rallying the masses through Angaza social media platforms on how to keep children safe, the organisation continues to promote safety, awareness and dialogue to prevent abuse from happening.
“Every child no matter their gender, race or economic background have a right to enjoy their fundamental rights without any compromise whatsoever. As a society may we embrace the fight for children’s rights as we advocate for the same for all children in our homes, families, communities and nations at large,
become a child rights defender and speak out against child abuse as you train yourself to observe that which is invincible and hear the silent cry of every child that needs you to be their voice for them to develop to be all that they are meant to be in life,’ says the organization’s online campaign message.
We say Kudos! to Angaza Initiative and like minded organisations…