Happy New Year greetings from Msichana Empowerment Kuria team, we hope and pray we are all ready for the New Year and as we continue to bring and be part of the change we want to see in the communities.
The Accelerator Project
Since the accelerator project inception in the Kenyan and Tanzanian borders, there have been tremendous strides made by young people towards ending child marriage in the two countries. The towns of focus are Migori County in Kenya and Tarime in Tanzania. The common factor in the two towns is that the Kuria community resides in both Tanzania & Kenya.
The accelerator project is supported by Girls Not Brides, funded by the players of Peoples’ Postcode Lottery and implemented by Msichana Empowerment Kuria (MEK) in Kenya and Children’s Dignity Forum (CDF) in Tanzania.
The project uses the accelerator approach to help inform more effective and community driven interventions to address the ending of child marriage and other harmful practices, prioritizing youth engagement as a key part of community engagement. It builds on existing work of national movement in countries, providing a tailored programme of support that is designed to support the members’ developing capabilities, unlock the potential of a wide range of partners and stakeholders and encourage increased effort and collaboration to end child marriage. Through this approach, we are keen to demonstrate that accelerated action on ending child marriage at scale is possible.
During the implementation period in Migori County we have had amazing efforts from the young people in ending child marriage. From self-organized forums by the young people, creating a strong youth network with great social media presence to being part of virtual meetings with other young people from the rest of the world; networking, learning and sharing stories of change with other young people.
Stories of Change
From the various activities conducted, young people had a sit down and shared stories of change & hope they went ahead to share what this project has done for them on a personal level and as young people from Migori County.
As these stories were being shared, we could see the spackles from the young people as they shared, below is a round up on all the responses from the young people:
Boke notes that before joining the group of young people, she could never speak up in any forum, she also thought that young people could never work together towards one common goal. This however changed since she joined the consortium of young people and she has noted so much growth at an individual and group level. She concludes that regular meetings have made it easier for the group to effectively work towards one goal and ensure it materializes. This goal being ensuring child marriage ends.
Moses notes that Child marriage and FGM are among the core problems faced by a large population of Kuria women which is a violation of human rights. He acknowledges that the young people in Kuria are lucky to have formed this coalition to work towards ending child marriage and other harmful cultural practices in our community. He also notes that education & knowledge sharing is and continues to do tremendous work towards changing the status quo in our communities. He concludes by saying that he is pleased by the milestones the youths from Kuria have made but he is thrilled for the future to see what the young people will still do and achieve.
Faith notes that as she grew up child marriage and FGM talks were never mainstream discussions, she however notes that as the young people made these discussions normal, more women and men are more ready and willing to challenge and have discussions around harmful cultural norms.
Young people continue to the tremendous strides in their individual lives and communities at large, this is an exciting time and space to be in. In all the challenges and changes experienced and made by young people one thing is for sure, involving young people continues to be the best approach as they understand in impeccable lengths their problems and have ideas on how to solve them. They utterly curious, confident and capable of making the changes & adjustments needed.
"Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world." - Desmond Tutu
From the Msichana Family, we send our sincere condolences to the family and friends of the Late Archbishop Desmond Mpilo Tutu who through his life taught us the need to stand up for those who are unheard and the spirit to keep challenging traditions because they are man-made and can be changed. We need to continue that journey in our families, communities and nations.