The I Am My Bodyguard team conducted a week-long workshop in Kenya targeting over 1000 children from low income areas. This target was achieved, as we were able to train slightly over 1000 children. Some of our training days coincided with the 16 days of Activism against Gender-based Violence, an annual international campaign that kicks off on 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and runs until 10 December, Human Rights Day.
The trainings targeted children between the ages of 11-15. However, in some cases, the team of instructors had to customize the training to suit up to 3-year-olds. While boys and girls as old as 23 years attended the workshops. Here is a brief description of our itinerary and the places we trained.
20th Wednesday & 21st Thursday, November 2019 — Brightburn Primary School
The school is located in Kaberia, Dagoretti south constituency, Nairobi County. With a population of 200 pupils, the school runs from pre-school to upper primary. Around Kaberia, domestic violence is rife, with rape being minimal, according to the observation of the school Principal Ms. Florence Oyoo. She opined that the sessions were interesting especially to the pupils. “We even had children coming in on the third day, in spite of the trainings in the school having ended on the second day.”
22nd Friday, November 2019 — Kivuli Community Centre
The centre is a host to about 50 boys aged between 7 to 17 years who are receiving comprehensive care under a 3 year rehabilitation plan using the 3R care plan model: Rescue, Rehabilitate and Reintegrate. While in Kivuli the boys attend formal education under the Kenyan curriculum, talent development programs and life skills training.
The centre is also supporting about 30 youths in secondary and technical education in its outreach program. Mtaani radio, a community based radio station, and one of the outfits of Kivuli Community Centre interviewed one of the instructors, who is also the Switzerland Project Manager, Mr. Chris Yumba . Mtaani Radio broadcasts within a 5km radius in Dagoretti.
25th Monday & 26th Tuesday, November 2019 — St Aloys F.P Academy
The private mixed (both boys and girls) school started in 2009, has so far accumulated 1500 pupils and runs from pre-school to class Eight, with an average of 25 pupils per class. The school is located in one of the largest slums in Nairobi — Mukuru kwa Njenga, which covers three constituencies: Embakasi, Makadara and Starehe Constituencies. St. Aloys F.P Academy is situated in Embakasi Constituency.
Extreme poverty coupled with rising crime, has rendered Mukuru kwa Njenga volatile and hostile according to the Deputy Principal Mr. Dennis Omedo. Other challenges faced in the area include, drug abuse and prostitution, as well as violence especially against women in the slums is rampant.
A 2006 study commissioned by the World Bank concluded that up to 68 per cent of settlement residents relied on shared toilet/latrine facilities, and that up to 6 per cent of all slum and settlement residents in Nairobi did not have any toilet facilities at all and had to defecate in the open. This makes women and children at greater risk of being violated. Mr. Omedo recalls that just last year, a local gang of teenagers’ gang raped a woman.
He lauded the training as being sufficient and timely especially since most young men are lured to join gangs during the school holidays. “I am very grateful as I have found the sessions to be motivating and productive.” His only plea was for the training to include 17-year-olds and above.
27th Wednesday, November 2019 — Ndugu Mdogo Rescue Centre of the Koinonia Community, Kibra Constituency
Ndugu Mdogo is one of two rescue centres operated by Koinonia Community. Located at the heart of Kibra slum. The home rescues destitute street children with the aim of rehabilitating them before re-integrating them back into the society. Ndugu Mdogo is a Kiswahili word meaning young brother or young kin. The centre currently holds close to 90 boys undergoing rehabilitation from drug and substance abuse.
Some of the children trained by I Am My Bodyguard came from the surrounding areas, especially the girls.
28th Thursday, November 2019 — Slums Information Development & Resource Centres (SIDAREC)
The culmination of the trainings was at the Slums Information Development & Resource Centres (SIDAREC), a community based organization which runs youth development projects in the slums of Nairobi. SIDAREC is also located in Mukuru Kwa Njenga. They offer support to the youth through education, ICT, entrepreneurship, and youth reproductive programs.
Some of the challenges are also cross-cutting — domestic violence, child maltreatment and neglect, transactional sex, early pregnancies and drug abuse. During the training we had a young mother attend with her 1-year-old daughter.
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