According to the recent Violence Against Children in Kenya survey, 3 out of 10 females aged 18-24 experience sexual violence prior to age 18. This issue was propelled into the local spotlight due to several reported incidences of gender-based violence in the Lwala area. In order to combat violence against girls, Lwala Community Alliance partnered with Population Council and Together for Girls last year to launch the ‘Salama Pamoja’ (“Safe Together”) program to help at-risk girls in Lwala negotiate the threat of gender-based violence and empower them to become agents of their own safety and success.
The program is currently completing its first cycle, having successfully trained 9 female mentors and organized weekly clubs for 45 in-school at-risk girls and 50 out-of-school girls. Mentoring sessions for in-school girls run once a week for 2 hours, right after school. Lessons focus on self-esteem, life skills, personal safety skills and tactics and provide a space for girls to openly share experiences. Mentoring teams consist of one female teacher, one female education intern, and one member of the New Vision Women’s Sewing Cooperative. These mentors also facilitate weekly clubs for out-of-school girls (50 girls), who meet in an identified “safe space” in the community. Learning modules for the out-of-school cohort focus on gender-based violence, sexual and reproductive health, self-esteem, safe spaces, life skills, income generation, early marriage, drug abuse, and pathways for school return. The modules for both in-school and out-of-school girls were adapted from AED’s Four Pillars, USAID’s Tuko Pamoja, Population Council’s tool kit, and Planned Parenthood Global’s Youth Peer Provider model.
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