Monday, 10 July 2017

CALL FOR APPLICATIONS


INTERNSHIP OPPORTUNITY
The Resource Center for Women and Girls (RCWG) is an organization based in Kenya, and works with young rural-urban girls and women from all parts of the country. The RCWG uses their prestigious empowerment and mentoring camps as a tool to promote personal transformation and empowerment among these girls. Our aim is to facilitate the development of the knowledge-base, so that young girls are better prepared to be not only agents of change in their communities, but also to participate in transformative leadership and the development of Kenya and of the African continent as a whole.
As an organization, we are made up of a small team of committed women who believe in leaving legacies for the next generation. We work with consultants from our networks, we train and mentor young rural-urban girls to develop awareness about themselves, and become potential key players in facilitating transformative change.  We therefore work to enhance their understanding of their human rights, social environment and to be more conscious actors in that environment. Our main goal is to invest in young rural girls and women as part of the process of maximising the potential of African societies to reproduce themselves. We want to transform our rural communities so that girls are afforded opportunities to learn, stay healthy and be agents of change. To this end, we are building a critical mass of informed girls (later women) who will be the agents of change and trailblazers in and for Africa.
We are looking for Interns who are willing to grow with the organisation, share in the mission and vision of the organisation and be part of this critical mass. 

Eligibility
  • Candidates must be young Women between the age of 19-29
  • Candidates must be willing to commit to a minimum of 4 months
  • Candidates must be an Alumni of the Prestigious Mentoring and Empowerment Camps of the RCWG
Apply
To apply, the following documents are required
  • Updated CV
  • Motivation Letter detailing why you should be considered for the Internship
  • Cover letter
Applications should be submitted to info@resourcecenter.or.ke

Monday, 12 June 2017

WHO’S TO BLAME?


Abortion is ILLEGAL in our country, yet young girls are still dying as a result of having unsafe abortions.  It is so infuriating and disheartening when very young girls are making wrong decisions even at the point of their death!!! A 13 year old girl from Mathare slum and four months pregnant died while being rushed to the hospital. Her mother wept painfully by her side calling her name each minute that’s passed by. The ambulance squeezed its self through the lanes in order to get to the hospital on time. How was her mother feeling?? Which thoughts crossed her mind?? Who would she blame because of the suffering her daughter was going through??? YES!! It’s obvious she had unprotected sex unknowingly or knowingly, concealed her pregnancy from every one and secretly tried to terminate it.  Four months and six days ago, the girl was found howling and lying down in their flats’ stairs helplessly and in pain. Her mother’s efforts of rushing her to the hospital bore no fruits.
May be its true you ‘reap what you sow’. But I also agree that ‘A young girl without a mentor is like an explorer without a map’. Maybe she was raped!! Had she had someone to talk to when she immediately had sex, would she have died?  Maybe she lacked the simple information of not having unprotected sex since the society supposes that talking about sex with young people is imprudent. Why did she think of terminating the pregnancy on the fourth month? Young women and girls in such circumstances have different fears and reasons for their actions.
As young people, we are living in an era that’s highly influenced by various factors. Technology for instance, is making different information accessible through phones, laptops e.t.c. But sometimes we find some information astounding or beyond our control. Peer pressure serves as another factor. Most teens would rather blend in what’s ‘Trending’ without reflecting on the consequences of their actions. Different environmental factors also contribute to early pregnancies for example Rape, early marriage, poverty, and relationships.
In the case study above, the girl knew the reason as to why she decided to have an abortion. May be she felt sorry for herself, hated the fact that she had failed in life, didn’t have the courage of facing and breaking the news to her parents or maybe she wanted to use that chance as her turning point. The society has an important and critical role of mentoring each young person. Instead of addressing them as the lost generation, guide them by giving them a sense of direction! The government should also join the package and introduce different ways and ideas of education young people about sexual and reproductive health especially in schools. Last but not least, parents being the most important people in the lives of their children should not avoid speaking about sex with their children.

This will help us STOP per-mature deaths of young girls, reduce early pregnancies and most importantly keep girls informed hence living healthy lives.

Article by 
Edith Mbuvi
Mentoring and Empowerment Camps Alumni
Group of 2013

Friday, 2 June 2017

Camp Diary of a Shy Girl to a Confident Young Woman: Part 4

All that she had learnt back then didn’t make a lot of sense. It was all about having fun and enjoying the travel, meeting her sisters once again and well, the change of environment was good for a disturbed soul like hers. That was her definition of camp, a rose garden where she could walk around and feel amazing, be free to speak her mind and no one would reproach her for it, feel protected, feel safe.
Looking back to those days, she sees the sense in what they were taught. She remembered imagining how freedom would feel like. The facilitators always insisted that freedom came with responsibility. She had always wondered what it meant until she got to campus and everything changed. Her mother was not with her to tell her to do things. Asking for permission to go anywhere was now foreign. She could eat whatever she wanted, wear what she wanted without seeking approval and she was a government sponsored student who had been awarded the Higher Education Loan. Part of it was spent to pay the school fees and the rest well, it stayed in her account which she had easy access to and wouldn’t have to ask for anyone’s approval to spend it. Nobody was controlling her anymore. FREEDOM!!
It felt so good. She could now meet the ‘’love of her life” without fear and could stay out for as long as she wanted. She didn’t know how wrong her perception of freedom was. She remembers how she would sneak out of school and travel to see him with her little allowance that she would receive from her struggling parents every month. She had forgotten where she had come from and the effort she had had to put to get to where she was at that moment. She would feel so proud telling people how she had passed her exams and was in an institution of her higher learning and yet she didn’t have a clear picture of how lost she was at that time. Pride had clouded her judgement. Besides, if she made it to the university, she could as well pass her exams without much effort. She stopped going to class. She had a room in the hostels but barely slept there. She made ‘appearances’ to school and was thrilled about it. The transformation was drastic. Whenever her friends or family asked why she was behaving that way, she would say that she was an adult in the eyes of the government and was free to do whatever she pleased. She had never protected anyone as much as she had protected her love. He was the only person in her life who loved her. She locked her friends and family out of her life. She didn’t need them.
She missed out on so much. She never got to socialize with new people in school but she was happy and didn’t care what people thought about her. Before her main exams, she was invited back for a Mentoring camp. She felt so nice filling out the evaluation forms on sex since she thought she knew everything. No one was as bright as her when it came to that topic. They were asked to make a SWOT. The facilitator had explained that a SWOT is an analysis that identifies the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats one had towards achieving a particular goal. The first goal she identified was finishing her university studies with a first class honours. As a challenge, she identified freedom as one of them.
When they went through their SWOT’s, reality started to dawn on her. Wow, people had dreams. She had dreams that she had completely forgotten about.
Her turn came to make a presentation of her SWOT and she felt embarrassed. She wished she could erase freedom as a challenge from the flip chart but it was too late. She had to explain what she meant and she did. The response she got from the facilitator made her mind switch from her entitled state to reality. The facilitator reminded her of her journey from high school and how she had struggled to achieve her grades. The hard work that her mother did to provide for her in order to raise her school fees. She cried. She was ashamed. The facilitator asked her to see her aside. The talk they had changed her.

Article by 
Esther Wambui
Mentoring and Empowerment Camps Alumni
Group of 2015




Friday, 21 April 2017

Camp Diary of a Shy Girl to a Confident Young Woman: Part 3



The facilitator asked them how the exercise was. She smiled and looked at the rest of her sisters. Her hands were under the table fingers crossed praying that the facilitator won’t pick her to answer the question.  Everyone in the room was looking in another direction. Nobody volunteered to answer. Besides, they all thought the exercise was personal and what they had ‘seen’ would remain between them and the mirror. The facilitator picked the girl seated next to her. She felt so relieved that her crossed fingers had done the magic. When asked for her feedback, she kept quiet and smiled. The smile of embarrassment.
The facilitator told them that she was not going to let them off that easy and that they had to repeat the exercise in the evening. She asked them why they were embarrassed to look at their own bodies.
That had a pretty obvious answer, it is simply not good. It is not allowed. It was an unspoken sin to look at the vagina. The perception the society had instilled in them is that when you look at the vagina you will be tempted to touch it and if you did, you will be committing a sin against yourself and God. It was also the most unclean part of their bodies and you really didn’t want to see where blood passed through every month!! Plus only ‘bad’ girls would dare look at the vagina and she wasn’t ready to be one of them. She had seen instances where some girls had gotten pregnant and wondered if they had touched their own vaginas in addition to having sex. The way they were treated made her even shyer to look at hers. Their friends would be warned by their parents not to associate with the ‘bad girls’ because they would also get their ‘bad habits’ and would begin to sleep around and finally get pregnant. They were highly alienated and whenever parents wanted to teach or pass a message to their daughters, they would quote them and say, “continue talking to boys and you will end up like that girl who got pregnant” or “that is what happens when you don’t listen to us.”
She never wanted to be the example the community would use when advising their children so most of the times she would stay indoors and only get out when she was sent to the shop. She never wanted to talk to boys, first because of what people would think about her and second because if her parents were told, that would have been the cause of world war three. She learnt that good girls are often silent, don’t ask questions and did whatever they were told no matter how unfair they thought it was.
The facilitator told them to embrace their bodies and they shouldn’t let a book or anyone else to tell them how their vaginas looked like and yet they had it and could look at it. The final statement was given. The facilitator would not teach the sexual and reproductive health rights session until they re-did the exercise.
What the facilitator told them still rings in her head. Society gives a lot of rules on how women should behave and how they should treat their bodies and yet the body belongs to us! She remembers how when she did that exercise, the fear that she had whether people would somehow read her thoughts and know that she did it… she actually looked at her Vagina!! It wasn’t hard. She waited for something to happen but nothing came. No punishment from God and she discovered that no one would know unless she told them. She usually had the common belief that she would somehow feel guilty and ashamed for looking let alone touching but she felt nothing. Did society lie? Was everything they said about her sexuality a lie? Was it trying to programme girls to do what it thought was right or manipulate them according to its beliefs?

Article by 
Esther Wambui
Mentoring and Empowerment Camps Alumni
Group of 2015

                                  

Friday, 31 March 2017

Camp Diary of a Shy Girl to a Confident Young Woman: Part 2



The following days went as they came. They had sexual and reproductive health sessions. Whenever she remembers them she always smiled.
That day, she got in the conference room and what caught her eye were the mirrors she saw placed on the table. She counted them, twenty five. ‘Maybe they just decided they should give us mirrors as part of the ‘goodie’ bag which they were given on the last day of camp. It usually contained personal amenities such as sanitary towels, toothpaste, and underwear. She sat down and waited for the rest of the group to arrive. The facilitator came in and started talking about self-image. ‘oh, that’s why she gave us the mirrors, to look at ourselves.’ she thought. The concept of self-image was not yet clear in her mind. It was self, that is; her and image, the reflection she saw on the mirror when she stood in front of it. The facilitator explained that self-image was the idea that one has about their abilities, appearance and personality. That had nothing to do with the mirror. She kept it aside and decided that when the time would come, she would eventually find out what it was meant for.
They were taught about self-esteem. They also practiced how to say an affirmative NO which she thought was an easy thing until her turn came to say it. Normally when she talked to boys who were trying to woo her, she would smile and look down on the floor and say a sheepish no. She still remembers how she would ‘draw’ maps with her feet when a boy was talking to her and how she couldn’t gain the courage to look at the boy in the face. Her heart would always thud when she was approached and sometimes her feet would be pricked by thorns as she was trying to find an escape route in the bushes just to avoid crossing paths with the boys. Such efforts would eventually prove futile since they would always come to her and even laugh at her for trying to evade them.
The facilitator made them repeat the NO’s until she was satisfied that the NO was ‘genuine’ and strong enough. Thinking back to this time, she still recalls how that session has helped her in the outside world where most men believe they could have her without too much hesitation from her part. Afterwards, they were given a special assignment. There would be no evening session, they were told. The homework would cover the time meant for that session. They were supposed to take the mirror and go to their rooms and look at their vaginas. This assignment would aid in the following day’s session on sexual and reproductive health.
They all squirmed. How were they supposed to do that? It was embarrassing. She had never known how her vagina looked like. She only knew it was there. It was impossible. A taboo. She swore she wouldn’t look at ‘IT’. The thought of even speaking the word out loud was a sin. Her knowledge in biology would help her answer the questions the following morning. Besides, the facilitator wouldn’t be there to confirm if they did it. Little did she know that they would all get caught the following morning for ignoring the exercise.

Article by Esther Wambui
Mentoring and Empowerment Camps Alumni 
Group of 2015

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

CELEBRATING WOMEN’S INTERNATIONAL DAY



I grew up knowing that every woman had to be circumcised, get married and have MANY children,
Your opinion and how you felt about the practices did not matter at ALL,
My husband would abuse me, my screams covered the entire village but that was no one’s business,
All my mother would tell me is hold on my daughter that’s how life is,
The story of women's struggle for equality and emancipation!!!!

The world has witnessed a significant change and attitudinal move in women,
Women have been provided with the freedom to work, have a family and make real choices,
Some women are presidents and queens of nations, other first ladies,
My daughters have their own money, lands and cars, they own prestigious business,
They have the a great power which they use to make the world stand still a VOICE,
The story of women's struggle for equality and emancipation!!!!

This international women day,
I am celebrating, the progress and achievements strong women have made,
I am celebrating the work of courage and determination women have played and done,
I am celebrating each woman’s contribution in one way or another in helping a sister,
I am celebrating every woman who has helped in bring about a major change in the world and women,
The story of women's struggle for equality and emancipation!!!!

Article by
Nene
Alumni














Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Camp Diary of a Shy Girl to a Confident Young Woman: Part 1



She sat down and reflected on where she had come from, a tiny girl who was shy, timid, and whose life had shown her that it couldn’t be sweet, it had slapped her so many times that at some point she had wished that it would come to an end. She reflected on how many times she had tried to end it herself but she would always wake up in the morning, disappointed it didn’t work.
The chain of thoughts that rushed through her mind were always negative. She would always have a smile on her face but deep inside she felt as if knives were piercing at every inch of her skin. The voice in her head was always telling her that she was always on the wrong and that she deserved everything that came to her. All the people who mistreated her and made her feel small, as if she was a mistake, were justified.
She got a chance to attend a programme, the person who told her about it said it was something to do with women. At the point, she was open to anything that would free her from her agonizing thoughts.
She met new faces that day, with whom she had been told to interact with freely because they were all sisters. She didn’t understand what that meant but she tried as best as she could to fit in. That night they had a personal story sharing session. Nobody forced her but the session they had had all day about the self and courage had made her feel that she was in a safe space where she could express herself and no one would judge her. She volunteered to go first and shared her story, the most amazing part was as she narrated it, some of the girls in the room cried along with her, as if they had taken her burden and put themselves in her situation. They didn’t know it but that day, they had aided in the birth of a new person, a person who had discovered that crying was not a sign of weakness, a person who wasn’t ashamed of her background and in a way had given her strength to achieve what she had set her mind to.
The next day, she went back to her usual self, the one who didn’t like talking and she thought because she had shared her sad story, everyone would just pity her and would let her stay in her comfort zone as she tried to cope with her situation but she was wrong. The facilitator asked a question and she kept quiet. She thought that she would leave her alone but she insisted that she had all the time to wait for her to answer. She was true to her word. The silence in the room built pressure on her because she knew that everyone was waiting for her. When she finally garnered the courage to answer, her voice came out very low, she hadn’t even finished her sentence when the facilitator threatened that she would send her to a nearby tree and ask her to answer the question at the tree. She thought about it. That would force her to stand up and that would attract attention towards her and also she would have to shout thus that would make her feel even more uncomfortable. Her hands were all sweaty, she considered her options and preferred to be more audible. The answer she gave was correct and the facilitator asked her what was stopping her from giving it initially. That is the day when her voice was born.



Article by Esther Wambui
Alumni