In Kenya, three out of five girls you meet are pregnant. I happen to come from one of the counties In Kenya among the leading in teenage pregnancies, Kisumu county with a rate of 15% (according to Kenya Demographic Health Survey 2015). I grew up in one of the slums of Kisumu, Manyatta where I witnessed girls that I grew up with getting pregnant at very early age and this led to them dropping out of school, and this reduces prospects of getting jobs and makes them vulnerable to poverty. Some even lost their lives from attempts of procuring unsafe abortions; this is majorly because these girls lacked access to the right sexual and reproductive health issues and stigma that was is experienced from trying to access these services and at times could not afford the services. Sexual and reproductive health was, and is still is one of the most avoided topics by our parents while growing up .
Having experienced one of my friends agony when she got pregnant in high school, I promised myself that I would make the lives of other girls and women in my community better. I envisioned a society where women and girls are safe from all forms of violence, enjoy their rights and can make informed decisions about their health especially their sexual and reproductive health and rights .This is what inspired the founding of POWER DADA to be able to realize this vision.
We work towards a community where women and girls are safe from all forms of violence and economically empowered women who can fend for themselves. We do this through Creating awareness and having open dialogues with women and girls as well as the community on sexual gender based violence, advocating for social justice, offering psychosocial support for survivors both group and individual and economically empowering the survivors through equipping them with entrepreneurial and hand on skills such as mat making that they can use to start up their own enterprises.
Through Advocacy for Comprehensive Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights for women and girls and demystifying social and cultural norms and values that limit women and youths’ access to Sexual Reproductive Health services and information, and using different platforms for SRHR information sharing and education while integrating menstrual hygiene management and advocacy for dignified menstrual hygiene for ALL women and girls, we are working towards reducing rates of teenage pregnancies ,deaths as a result of unsafe abortions and complicated delivery and holistic realization of women’s reproductive and sexual needs.
Having been in existence for only one year, I believe we have made great strides as an organization: We have created partnerships with the local media stations: Lake Victoria and peace FM which have been important media in sharing information and educating our audience on SRHR Issues, Through these stations, we have reached more than 1000 young women and girls with SRHR information through radio conversations on crucial topics especially during Covid 19 pandemic. We have reached 600 girls with SRHR information through community engagements and conversations, 550 girls have benefitted from our program and have obtained menstrual care package containing menstrual products and MHM information.
In addition, 800 girls have benefitted from our support with menstrual products during this pandemic to enable them manage their periods better during this time.
We have also trained 20 girls on mat making skills during this pandemic as a way of getting some income while at home .During this pandemic we have also supported 10 families in the slum area with foodstuff to help them get them get through this tough times .