Msichana Empowerment Kuria is young women-led community based organization in Migori County, South Western Kenya.
“Msichana” Swahili word for girl, born on the principle that every life is precious; every girl deserves a fair start at life to realize her full potential from birth to adulthood. To provide a safe haven, build capacity and support the development of young women and girls in Kuria. It began as an informal mentorship space for adolescent girls back in 2013 and registered in 2015. Years down the line we continue to do exactly that by ensuring that all girls born in the Kuria community are free from Female Genital Mutilation, other harmful cultural practices and have access to their rights.
Is of healthy and empowered girls and young women, accessing their fundamental human rights, and with the opportunity to realize their full potential. Within our specific goal to End Female Genital Mutilation, Child marriage, Sexual and Gender Based Violence and Access to Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights in our community in one generation.
We aim to achieve accelerated and sustained social change in our community and beyond. To achieve this, we have been implementing three main approaches.
- We facilitate structured community dialogues; Intergenerational, young men, girls.
One village at a time we are having the much needed conversations by demystifying myths and misconceptions on female genital mutilation as a social norm. To date we have engaged more than 1,000 young men, 600 women and men in structured community dialogues.
- We organize annual marches and community events; in 2017 we organized the first annual Msichana began the End FGM community champions’ celebrations that celebrated positive action , brave community members who’ve stood up against the cut in their own special way and amplify stories of change to strengthen the movement. All the champions were nominated by their various villages. The event was hosted on April 7th a symbolic day; Number 7 is superstitious for the community, we mimicked a circumcision ceremony, hosted an intergenerational football march between the girls and village elders to break the intergenerational gap and awarded 40 girls and 20 community members. The event brought together more than 5,000 community members.
- We support an after school program a Children’s Rights Based literacy story telling program for children 8 to 14 years aimed at developing the knowledge, skills and talents of marginalized girls and children to promote literacy, access to rights through establishing a safe space for girls and children.
Our Story-time and reading sessions engage 300 weekly children aged 8 to 14 years through storytelling sessions involving learning from African stories of folk tales, fairy tales, adventure stories e.t.c to improve literacy and preserve our good cultural heritage and promote peaceful coexistence and cultural tolerance.
Through our story telling afterschool sessions, we inspire our children & girls to share their stories using their life experiences, and build public speaking skills and self-confidence they need to thrive. Elimika after school program bridges developmental gaps of children by teaching reading and comprehension through storytelling; with a focus on teaching on Children’s rights, values and demystifying harmful traditional cultural practices like Female Genital Mutilation , Child marriage and abuse.
- We are currently sponsoring five girls in schools who were rescued from circumcision.
- We have kept more than 1,000 girls in school during menstruation by providing them with sanitary towels and menstrual hygiene education.
Skills and Mentorship:
- We support NAWEZA –“I can “a positive reinforcement Girl-led program that is designed to provide the girls an empowering experience with an emphasis on impact of the harmful effects of Female Genital Mutilation. This year-long skills based program broken into 16 weeks sessions intensive training sessions for 60 girls annually in class five, six and seven addresses the numerous topics prevalent in the lives of young Kuria girls.
NAWEZA provides a safe place for girls to be who they are, educational and recreational experiences through positive social interactions. We have seen these amazing young girls improve in their ability to make better decision, inspire them to be strong, have a positive self-image and gain confidence in their everyday lives. The program introduces girls to the importance of confidence, and the potential and power of women.
A special component of the program is that we support skills workshops for parents of the girls to sustain the change beyond their time in the program by teach them key issues in human rights and socio – economic empowerment.