CHILD PROTECTION AND HEALTH ACTIVITY PROCESadmin
SAPI field Coordinator in Kenya introduced themselves and had one mobilizer who was linked to the school teacher in charge of special education who agreed to identify 20 vulnerable girls who are undergoing a menstrual cycle but face challenges of using quality and hygienic sanitary pads because they come from poor households where food is also a problem. Most of the girls we interacted with are in a special class of the school. The teacher in charge told us the challenges – that the vulnerable girls are over 300 and come from poor households and it would be unfair to conduct the activity at school for others will feel discriminated against and therefore requested us to allow them to categorize the very needy girls and link us to their homesteads for other basic support for some time. There are those who don’t attend school on a regular basis because of lack of food and shelter. This is because some reside in rental houses and the landlords do not spare them if they don’t meet the deadlines of rent payment. SAPI’s objective of improving the livelihoods of vulnerable and displaced families triggered us to think outside the box and thought of a feeding program at a central point where the identified needy cases shall be collecting food for at least one meal in the evening as they come out of school. We also learnt that due to the overwhelming number of SAPI target groups we should select the very poor households and come up with a permanent solution for livelihood sustainability. This includes paying home visits on a monthly basis to see the progress of the families who thought it is a good idea to support them with seed capital to start income generating activities.
In Ruiru we visited another household after visiting the schools to compare the impact of home visits and school visits and we realized that home visits are more strategic for other issues are of much priority to be addressed rather than just sanitary pads. Uniforms, proper housing and affordability of daily food.
2. SCHOOL VISITED: We visited Gachororo Primary school where we met 35 girls and issued them with 70 sanitary pads. The Gachororo Primary School have overwhelming challenges for about 80% of the school pupils are vulnerable. Their health and uniform indicated that they live in poor households. The population exceeds the number of infrastructure hence the pupils get congested and the learning environment becomes non-conducive.
There were those families who were evicted from the nearby coffee farms that have now established real estate and getting employment to meet the basic needs is cumbersome. They now reside in slums where the living condition is poor.
The school has multiple challenges. For example in 2018 some of the boys were identified with guns. This is as a result of a mix up of ethnic groups that includes refugees from Sudan and small scale business traders. The teacher felt that the challenges are overwhelming and have little to do but to try their best to execute their mandate where possible in giving quality education and sustainability.
Another concern is whether SAPI will be continue to support those who were identified. We offered behavior change communication in prevention of premature sex that has been common to various girls.
Disability is another concern the Gitothua special class teacher in charge addressed. Most of the girls are vulnerable and at household level some face challenges of sexual abuse by the community as realized by one of the case studies of a young mother of 13 years who dropped school from Githunguri Primary
Special class as a result of repeatedly having a sexual affair with a 45 year old motorbike man who impregnated her. The community health providers pushed the perpetrator to the court of law where he is awaiting judgment. A mother is now taking care of her disabled girl and her baby and is having a burden of paying rent and meeting the family basic needs.
We learnt that household visits are crucial to identify the needy families and search for possible solutions in linking them to support agencies for meeting the basic needs.
At school it is important we consider the health talk when the boys and girls are free where we will come up with an action plan for that also was a priority need. This will help them understand their development stages and reduce risk of having sex at early age hence avoid irresponsible parenthood with vulnerable children who end up being street families.
The next issue we are yet to address is the girls of young families in the streets of Ruiru where we have planned to meet them. We realized that most orphans and vulnerable children are as a result of displacement due to national elections have contributed to ethnic violence. They live in slums and as they continue to increase the crisis deteriorates and this needs to be prevented.