Six months ago, in April, a little girl who was only 7 years old was traded like a commodity and married to a man of 50.
23% of Kenyan girls are married before their 18th birthday.
4% are married before their 15th birthday.
These numbers are from a 2017 UNICEF humanitarian report. You might be wondering why the Kenyan government doesn't do something about this or set a law for a minimum age for marriage. In 1990 Kenya did pass the Convention on the Rights of the Child law which sets the marriage age at 18 years old. So why is this still happening?!
Many reasons. I can tell you that poverty, access to education, family planning, and gender inequality all play significant roles in horrible practice.
When I volunteered in Uganda in 2018 I saw firsthand how complicated the situation can be. Everything is connected and impacts something else.
Everything moves in cycles.
A young mom gets pregnant.
She and her husband/ unmarried partner cannot support the family.
The husband leaves the family either to seek improved work opportunities elsewhere or in some sad cases escape responsibility.
The child (or children) grow up in poverty with the bare minimum needed to get to school (and often not encouraged to study or even attend school for lack of resources).
If the child perseveres and makes it to school, eventually parents push the children, mostly girls, to find "elders" in the society to ease the financial burden.
Financial assistance is accepted by girls from older males in the community to stay in school.
Sex education doesn't exist.
The girls get pregnant.
The girls drop out of school.
They never reach higher education. They never learn how to develop a revenue stream for themselves. They never learn independence. They never learn a different way of life.
The cycle repeats.
When you add in customs like female genital mutilation (FGM is still at a sickening 21% of women 15-49), ideas that women are to be seen not heard, and the disparity of importance placed on female and male education, it is not surprising that these are incredible struggles to overcome.
That's why hard-working organizations like Do It With Boldness Foundation are so important.
DWB Foundation is a duly registered non-profit Mentorship Foundation under the Societies Act (Cap 108) of the laws of Kenya since August 2018. The foundation promotes development through advocacy, mentorship and economic empowerment, leadership and entrepreneurship training.
Right now DWB Foundation seeks to hold a mentorship camp in Mid-November and needs to raise funds to make this become a reality.
They plan on hosting 260+ young girls who are survivors of sexual abuse, forced marriages and FGM.
The program is geared towards helping these young girls develop self-esteem, offer them professional counseling services, family planning and hygiene education, as well as practical skills to develop a revenue source through beading classes.
The Kajiado Mentorship Camp will be hosted at AIC Rescue Church, in Central Kajiado from the 16th -20th November.
The event is fully funded through donations and partnerships and that is why we are calling on YOU to support the cause.
I just explained how complicated these issues are. So what is this camp going to do? How will it break the cycle?
We are going to impact TWO HUNDRED AND SIXTY GIRLS and let them know that they are good human beings. That they did not deserve sexual abuse, to be married as children, or to be mutilated. To educate them on alternative options for their life paths. To educate them on family planning and sex. To teach tangible skills for developing a business and revenue stream. And to inspire them to be grassroots change in their communities to spark change outside of themselves in their families and in their friends.
For more information about specific fund allocation and the program itinerary please consult the Mentorship Camp page on the DWB foundation website.
Lastly, there will be a PUSH UP CHALLENGE!!! In order to enhance the fundraising for the mentorship camp, our team of volunteers will take part in a push up challenge during the camp, which will be live-streamed from the field and with the community. For each USD raised, the DWB team will do 1 push up to raise awareness for the empowerment and equality of young women.
I am hoping that there are going to be A LOT of push ups to be done!!!
If you want to read more about current child marriage statistics in Kenya click here: https://www.girlsnotbrides.org/child-marriage/kenya/#stats-references
If you want to read more about female genital mutilation: https://data.unicef.org/topic/child-protection/female-genital-mutilation/
If you want to learn more about Do It With Boldness: https://www.dwibo.org/
If you want to check past pictorials..Kindly find the link below;