I can now speak openly with my daughters about their bodies

22 September 2017

Working at the frontlines of change in Kenya comes with daily challenges and personal risks, but for Simon Kosey and Naomi Chebet, Alternative Rites of Passage Facilitators from Brighter Communities Worldwide, this has become their passion and their life's focus.

As part of our blog series showcasing our End FGM Grantees, we spoke to them about their work.

Brighter Communities Worldwide is a charity which creates an enabling environment for communities to realise change. With their End FGM grant, they have been carrying out FGM advocacy, run community capacity building workshops on FGM and hosted Alternative Rites of Passage ceremonies.   

 

"The programme makes the communities and the girls more aware of the life choices that are available."

Interview with Simon Kosgey, Sorget

What did you think or know about FGM before you became a volunteer ARP facilitator with Brighter Communities Worldwide?

FGM is a cultural practice that leads to high school dropouts and early marriages. Some married women in my area were forced into FGM when joining a new community. It is still an issue among some families and lack of education is definitely a factor.

 

When and why did you decide to become a volunteer ARP facilitator with Brighter Communities Worldwide?

I heard about ARP and the FGM Abandonment Programme through a Life Skills course I attended in 2013. I wanted to become involved to help make changes in my community and became an ARP facilitator in 2014. I have been involved in running seven ARP courses since I started.

 

What do you think of the impact of the FGM Abandonment Programme?

I think the most important part of the programme is giving awareness of risks to the girl child. The risks involved in FGM, the risk of diseases. The programme makes the communities and the girls more aware of the life choices that are available.

 

What has being involved in this programme meant to you?

I have benefitted a lot from being involved in ARP courses. I have gained a lot of knowledge about many different topics. Teaching others has taught me as much as if I was learning myself.

 

What if anything, will you do differently in the future as a result of being involved in the programme?

From knowledge gained I have been inspired to train as a health professional in the future.

The ARP programme is now my passion. I am a facilitator for life! Mentoring others is a source of joy to me.


"I got involved because I wanted to change the future for marginalised girls"

Interview with Naomi Chebet, Kipsegi

 

What did you think or know about FGM before you became a volunteer ARP facilitator with Brighter Communities Worldwide?

I knew that there were tribal reasons for circumcision. There was a belief among community members where I live that to be a full woman you had to be circumcised. It would enable you to cook well and when you got married being circumcised would ensure that you treated your husband well. It was also believed that being circumcised would reduce the sexual urges of a woman.

 

When and why did you decide to become a volunteer ARP facilitator with Brighter Communities Worldwide?

I attended a Peer Education course run by Brighter Communities Worldwide in 2011 and heard there about the FGM Abandonment Programme and decided I wanted to become involved. I trained as an ARP facilitator in 2011. I got involved because I wanted to change the future for marginalised girls. I wanted to empower them to strive for higher education and a better future. I was a Parent’s Teachers Association teacher so I knew I could reach many girls.

 

What do you think of the impact of the FGM Abandonment Programme?

I remember my first ARP course, there were 55 girls involved. It was amazing to see the girls after the course. There friends came to their graduation and they were talking about FGM. I know some of the girls from that course are now in college and polytechnics. To see the difference in girls that have gone through training, they feel the need to add to their education and they know about economic empowerment. School dropouts have reduced.

 

What has being involved in this programme meant to you?

I have gained experience in empowerment and public speaking. I have also gained experience in working with communities. This has led me to go back to college where I am studying Co-operative Management.

 

What if anything, will you do differently in the future as a result of being involved in the programme?

I have gained so much knowledge about FGM and other modules in the ARP course that I can now speak openly with my daughters about their body and menstruation. This has changed since I was young and my mother was not able to speak openly to me, times are changing.

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