“Having salaried staff brings a sense of pride and stability for the three employees, all of whom volunteered for many years. Having new office equipment is incredible! Our office is nicely furnished with tables and chairs to accommodate visitors, including high level staff from UNICEF, United Nations Population Fund, World Vision, and journalists conducting interviews.”
The Pastoralist Child Foundation (PCF) in Kenya is one of the organizations that SIA supports with operating funds. This means that a SIA grant covers the rent, utilities, and salaries for three Kenyan staff. Sound like the scary “overhead expenses”? For our grant partners, operating support bring stability.
Supporting Girls and Changing Norms
This year the PCF leadership team trained five women group leaders on COVID-19 guidelines, stopping female genital mutilation (FGM) and child marriage, income generating activities, and the importance of education. The leaders then went back to train the women in their specific area, reaching 300 women total.
Changing tradition is hard and a sensitive topic. The PCF leaders are all Samburu pastoralists, so they have standing in the community to talk about issues like ending FGM. PCF Director Samuel Leadismo is a highly respected mentor to youth all across Samburu County and his advocacy has led to positive changes in attitudes about FGM. He and another staff member, Elizabeth, hosted a radio show about FGM and child marriage, which reached more than 15,000 people.
To introduce the topic, Samuel gives the following example, “No one goes to a mountain or river to pray anymore. Samburus go to church. No one wears animal skins any more. People wear clothes. If you can accept these changes and still consider yourself to be Samburu, you can accept the end of FGM.”
PCF is also engaging morans (young warriors) in the conversation. They meet with the 14-21 year old boys and talk to them about Kenyan laws prohibiting FGM and get them interested in upholding the rights of women and girls. Samuel reports, “one method of sustaining moran engagement in this noble task is to continue motivating, mentoring and training a core group of morans who will lead a new generation of young men to advocate for the rights of the Samburu girl child.”
Other Successful Activities
Even with the COVID-19 crisis, PCF has had a great, positive impact in the semi-nomadic pastoralist Samburu community where they work.
PCF distributed food to over 3,000 people in sixteen villages in Samburu East to help people through the COVID-19 crisis. They also collaborated with community health volunteers to ensure people had places to wash hands. Here they are in Long’eli Lorora Village.
PCF trained six women’s groups on how to make reusable sanitary napkins. How wonderful that girls and women won't have to buy disposable napkins!
Just last month PCF received a generous donation of 200 Dignity Kits from UNICEF-Kenya! The kits containe backpacks, solar lamps, sanitary napkins, sandals, kangas (cotton shawls), and essential personal care items.