Advocacy: Phase 3 of the Girl/Boy Empowerment Program has launched!

“These sessions have opened my eyes to the significance of listening to my children and being available to them. I realize there is more to parenting than telling children what to do. I grew up in a home where we never had conversations with our parents. I will ensure my children can talk to me” a parent participating in the Parents Program of the Girl/Boy Empowerment Program. Another parent said, “I was grateful to receive a certificate of completion from the Parent Component program. Now I can relate well with my kids. In the future, I will be willing to educate even other parents” a parent from Wakaela PS who is a boda boda driver.

Along with raising awareness on Teen Pregnancy and Gender-based violence through the Parents’ Program, Kenya Connect has launched an advocacy component with colorful and direct posters that have been distributed to schools and clinics and will be posted in Matatus, public transport. The intended outcome is for the community at large to take note about topics including the importance of talking with their children including topics about sex and gender-based violence, where to get help, and that perpetrators will be held accountable. These posters, designed with input from community leaders, stakeholders, teachers, and parents, are designed to create dialogue on these sensitive topics. Later in the year, a podcast in Kenya Connect’s, “Voices from our Village” series will be devoted to the Girl/Boy Empowerment initiative.

Faith Doucette, who co-created and oversees the program shared, “Two and half years into the Girl/ Boy Empowerment Program, we have witnessed tremendous outcomes and a significant impact on the community. What started as a program to reduce teen pregnancies and break the cycle of gender-based violence has grown into a program that now has a parent component where we are bridging the gaps in parent/child communication, ways of fostering parent/child relationships, ways of expressing affection and age-appropriate sexual health information. It is remarkable when students from the two previous cohorts approach us to ask if they can be involved in peer-to-peer mentorship. We’ve had instances where those students have sat in some ongoing sessions because they want to stay engaged with the program.”

As a result of the success of the program, we are refining and codifying the curriculum as part of a plan to train parents and teachers to run the program at additional schools, and possibly, additional regions. We believe that our program has been successful because it’s not a “one or two” day workshop, rather it’s a year-long program that nurtures students’ growth while providing them a safe space for learning and growing.