Girls Reclaim their Lives
25 vulnerable teenage girls and young women aged between 15-25 years will go through a 1-year comprehensive leadership and life skills training. During which young women build knowledge and skills around reproductive health, a vocational skill and other vital life skills.
The training includes catering and events management and hairdressing course. They will have requisite knowledge and skills to secure an income without risking their future and that of their children. This project provides the girls with alternative livelihood opportunities, thereby enabling them to withdraw from commercial sex work and/or escape domestic violence. In addition, each participant will receive individual counselling by a qualified counsellor. This way, young women transform, build their self-esteem, and achieve empoweredness.
The lives of the recipients were further complicated by COVID-19 besides their existence in a society characterized by gender inequality where women are rendered valueless. During the COVID-years in 2020/2021, there was a distinct increase in rape cases of underage girls in Kenya in general and in Meru County, specifically. Teenage pregnancy cases rose significantly during this period. Consequently, many girls dropped out of school during these two years. Gender Based Violence (GBV) incidences also increased tremendously, further complicating the family domain. When young girls drop out of school due to early pregnancy, they are more likely than not never able to go back to school. Most schools do not admit girls who have a child. Hence most of these girls end up in abusive marriages or in commercial sex work.
Our focus is to give these girls and young women a second chance to reclaiming their lives. At International Peace Initiative (IPI), we believe that when girls and women have a steady source of income, the family thrives; and even though they did not complete school themselves, they ensure their children go to school.
The best 3 students in the 3 training areas receive a start-up kit to set up their own businesses while the next 3 first runners up are absorbed at IPI- hairdressing and beauty shop. Part of the students opt to advance their skills and so they are attached to existing institutions for 3 months work experience learning. After the attachment, participants enroll for the Kenya National Examination Council (KNEC) or The National Industrial Training Authority (NITA) exams. This way, they have a professional certification for the courses they undertake. Their employability is high this way since NITA promotes high standards of quality and efficiency.
The girls’ esteem and confidence is restored and elevated through the leadership and life skills training. In 1 year, 25 young women are prime to start ventures in catering and events management and hairdressing. This means a consistent income to fend for themselves and their children. Additional income is used to pay fees for the children.
As a result, 125 families benefit from the increased income. Affording basic needs restores dignity in the family unit and helps in building a cohesive and prosperous community. Freeing the recipients from the Commercial Sex Work and other vices is a sure bet towards building such a community.
The transformed recipients will run ventures in hairdressing and events and catering in the community from which they cater for their basic needs and take their children to school. They will also mentor other girls and young women in the community still indulging in Commercial Sex Work restoring their hope of alternative income streams.
We plan to use the donations we hope to raise with iMPACT direct for Ksh 1,244,068 (or €10,326). These donations will be channeled to:
- Buying project materials; kitchen cooking and cutlery materials, events materials like chairs, decorations and table clothes.
- Training and counsellor’s fees
- Project management incl. Monitoring and Evaluation.
- 5% to iMPACT direct for facilitating direct donations to local solutions (covering our costs for the website, financial costs of direct donations, and basic costs to support NGOs in promotion and fundraising.)
We plan to add another €6,653, as in kind contribution towards the project.
Lucy, a recipient confidently affirms that the life skills sessions changed her from a woman with zero self-confidence to one who successfully raised her three children single-handedly; bought land through money raised from the skill she learned and now has built a permanent house for herself. She educated her daughter all the way to the university and the daughter now has a well-paying job. Because of the leadership program we run, Lucy became a paralegal volunteer who now teaches women in her community their rights as embedded in the Kenyan Constitution.