The Kenya Economic Development Human Advancement Project (KEDHAP) is the development, peacebuilding, and relief arm of the Kenya Mennonite Church in the Diocese of Kisumu East. Thanks to YOUR support, KEDHAP has steadily grown and now serves thousands of participants through a wide range of programs in impoverished rural areas.
KEDHAP’s primary work is in Female Empowerment, Education, Community Development, Health Education, Peace-making & Reconciliation, Food Security & Income Generation, and Leadership Development. KEDHAP endeavours to tackle harmful gender norms that continue to threaten the health and rights of adolescent girls.
CHALLENGING CULTURAL NORMS AND GENDER BARRIERS
Girls and women in Kenya hold unlimited potential, but the barriers that constrain women are multifaceted. They have less access to and control over the benefits from land tenure, education, and employment opportunities. Their increased contributions are needed to help Kenya reach their development goals. Some communities still disregard women and do not allow them to participate equally with men in development issues or own land.
In poorer areas, vulnerable girls are often victims of early pregnancies, early marriages, school dropouts and poor academic performance, sometimes lured into early sexual relationships in exchange for money, sanitary towels, and underwear. KEDHAP has observed that most parents do not take the time to share reproductive health talks with their daughters. The vulnerable girls tend to seek advice from their peers which sometimes results in early pregnancies, HIV infection, early marriages, and even school dropout because of poor misinformed advice.
The challenging economic situation has forced many to engage in illicit sex in exchange for food and cash, especially with individuals such as sugarcane cutters, loaders and drivers who deal with money daily. Teenagers have fallen victim to such individuals leading to unprotected sex, early pregnancies, and infection with STDs.
KEDHAP’S FEMALE EMPOWERMENT INITIATIVES
KEDHAP Foundation aims to:
- Create safe spaces for women and girls to live free from gender-based violence.
- Increase women’s access to credit facilities and market opportunities.
- Increase the participation of women in decision and policymaking at all levels.
- Ensure women’s participation in peacebuilding, conflict prevention, and mitigation.
- Narrow gender gaps in education, training, and employment.
None of this would have been possible without the support of our donors. Every tiny seed has translated into ripples of impact in these women’s lives.
Video: Joan is among the 5478 girls in primary and secondary schools in Kisumu & Nandi County who were supplied hygiene products last year.
Ruth is a 15-year-old class eight girl from Songhor primary school supported by KEDHAP’s female empowerment program. Ruth’s mother, Cindy, is single with three children and takes care of her epileptic sister. Cindy does not have a job, and to provide for her family, she works as a casual labourer, weeding peoples’ farms.
Cindy says,” Your support of my daughter has saved me because I was unaware when she began having her monthly period! Imagine my surprise when she asked me for sanitary towels when schools were closed, and she did not have access to sanitary pads. When I asked her why she did not inform me about the start of her menses, she told me she didn’t feel the need to because KEDHAP staff had taught her how to use pads and provided them with sanitary towels in school.
I was relieved to hear this because when she had reached puberty, I was apprehensive about how I would start educating her about sexuality. Whenever I am away from home, she is able to care for Charity, my 22-year-old epileptic sister, when she is having her periods since my sister is physically and mentally challenged and cannot even put on a pad without assistance. She does all this with the knowledge she gained from KEDHAP.”
ACHIEVEMENTS OVER TIME
Here are some of the accomplishments in 2022 that KEDHAP is proud of!
- Evelyn Ochieng, a former KEDHAP foundation sponsored student who is a 4th-year student at Africa Nazarene University, was recently awarded a global excellence award by the Brilliant Minded Women Foundation for being the best student of the year.
- Francisca, the Health and Female empowerment coordinator at KEDHAP Foundation, received a global excellence award from the Brilliant Minded Women Foundation to recognize her work for her community.
- Precious of St Augustine Kandege is always in the top 6 in her school, which is a mixed school. She sat for her KCSE national exams at the end of 2022 and achieved a grade B- which qualifies her for university!
- Flora is from the Kalenjin tribe and was the best student at Songhor Secondary School in her last exam. Hers is a mixed school with 49 students in her class, and she sat for her KCSE exams at the end of 2022.
- Sharon is one of the adolescents living with HIV that we support at Tamu CCC. She is at Thurdibuoro Sec School, which is a mixed school. She ranked 55 out of 299.
- The percentage of girls dropping out of school has drastically reduced from a high of 40% to less than 6% among girls enrolling in school and those who are exiting after taking their exams in the last three years.
- Because of your support, over 80% of adolescent paediatrics in 6 Comprehensive Care Clinics have suppressed their viral load!
- We’re proud to report that in last year’s KCPE results, the top candidate was a girl (371/500 marks)! Out of eleven toppers scoring 300 and above, six were girls.
- Joan and Mary have also achieved the minimum university entry grade of C+!
Thanks to the support of foundations like the Brilliant Minded Women Foundation (BMWF), KEDHAP has had an overwhelmingly positive impact on these girls and women. Girls are now realizing their potential and performing better than ever. Thanks to KEDHAP’s efforts, these girls are now becoming role models to others in the community. If you would like to change the lives of girls like Ruth, support KEDHAP TODAY. KEDHAP still relies on YOUR contribution to ensure that girls and women will be empowered to live healthy, productive lives and to push for further progress within their communities.