GGF/GinCo FIRST REPORT ON MENTORSHIP TRAINING:
GinCo MENTORS & GIRL GROUPS IN WAMBA, SAMBURU AND KIBERA, NAIROBI.
Report by Golda Sawala Ayodo & Mary Rakiro
The GinCo Annual General meeting held in Nairobi on 20th January 2017 saw Golden Girls Foundation tasked with introducing mentorship to GinCo groups both in Samburu and Kibera. This was informed by the opinion that Girls in all the GinCo teams needed mentorship. We then set out to introduce our curriculum to the teams both in Samburu and Kibera. To successfully see the implementation of the Mentorship Curriculum, we paid site visits to the two teams and had an initial discussion with the mentors on the general objectives of the curriculum and together with the mentors discussed any anticipated challenges that the team may have while implementing the curriculum.
This report is a brief summary of our first site visit and initial contact with the mentors and girls who would be engaged in adopting the curriculum.
Brief on the GGF/GinCo Mentorship Curriculum (First Trimester)
The GGF/GinCo Mentorship Curriculum is divided into three parts. Each part has four sessions to fit in with our national school recess sessions. The curriculum aims at:
· Helping the girls identify and focus on their identified life goals .
· Engage the girls’ mothers to be able to understand their daughters and support them to attain their targets in life
· To provide a platform that brings the mothers and girls together to be able to identify and iron out possible causes of miscommunication between them
· To create a mom-daughter bond that in most cases is lacking due to pressing life issues.
· To encourage the mothers and daughters support each other as they walk through their paths of life.
Each trimester of the curriculum has fun and game activities that all aim at bonding the mothers and their daughters.
This trimester has four contact sessions.
First session: MOTHERS ONLY.
· To identify possible causes of conflict between mothers and their daughters
· To find out if the mothers can successfully support their daughters through secondary school and if not, what other possible options are available.
· To discuss with the mothers the importance of the mothers taking up their responsibilities at home and the extent to which their decisions affect the lives of their daughters.
· To create a support group of the mothers and to avail a safe platform for the mothers to support each other by sharing their challenges and experiences.
· To motivate the mothers to keep up their positive efforts.
We obtain the above objectives by spending the first 10 minutes having each mother introduce herself by saying her name, where she lives and her daughter’s school and she may also add something personal (e.g. I sell yams for living, I enjoy reading etc.).
The next 10 minutes is spent introducing an opening ritual. ( e.g. the mothers will be asked to share their mood and visualize it through a sun/ sun and cloud/ rainy day ( this activity can be improvised by the mentor to adopt teams settings) These rituals help create a feeling of security in a new setting or environment.
The next five minutes will have the mentor ask the mothers about what they would wish to discuss on that day and the mentor can also add onto what she feels needs to be included. The mentor can then engage the mothers in warm up exercises through songs or a name game. This will make them feel more comfortable and open.
The next 40-50 minutes to be spent on open discussion about ability to pay their daughter’s secondary school fees and alternative options available for their daughters should they not be able to pay their school fees. This discussion is best conducted with the mothers and mentor sitting in a circle. It is important for the mothers to realize their great influence to the girls, they should be in a position to compare their lives and find a better solution for their daughters. Once the mothers have exhausted their options, the mentor can mention polytechnics and skills training by local women within the locality.
The mothers can then take a few minutes to find something as a motivation for her. They can also take this time to think of what they are fighting/ struggling for, their wishes and their dreams for their daughters.
A closing ritual can then be introduced. This helps the group to feel close, equal and important to the group. (E.g. giving an impulse: standing in a circle holding hands with closed eyes. The mentor squeezes the hand of the next mother and if everyone works together, the impulse reaches the mentor again.)
Second Session: GIRLS ONLY
This second session has the mentor meeting the girls only.
· Strengthen the girls’ self –esteem through
o Self Reflection
o Talking about Sexuality
o Girls Rights
o How to choose their friends wisely and know their own value
· Learn to communicate effectively
o Talk in front of others
o express themselves ( wishes, needs, desires)
During this session, the girl introduces herself to the group by saying her name, age, school, something personal (e.g, likes sports, enjoy music,). The girls then discuss their moods for the day and may use a weather chart to express their moods (e.g Cloudy when sad, sunny when happy). These rituals help feeling secure in a new setting. The first time they may not say much but they will say more as they get used to it. The mentor then takes them through the schedule of the session.
The mentor allows them to say what they want to discuss, wishes for that day and eventually the mentor can add to the schedule of the day. The mentor will encourage the girls to have small warm up games or sing a song they like, or get a name game that involves their names.
The main activity for this session is to have the girls draw a river/ path of life. The girls are to think about their past, what experiences, which persons have influenced them on their way and represent their lives in form of a river/path that could have ups and down, waterfalls, darker and brighter colors, narrow or wide etc. The mentor should also draw her river of life and share it out with the girls. Girls should be allowed to share with each other their drawings.
This will help the girls reflect on what they have already managed in their lives and be in a position to draw where they would wish their rivers/paths to go.
A round group discussion about school, friends and how to identify good and supportive friends, issues on boyfriends, pregnancy, HIV/AIDS should be ventured tactfully by the mentor. The discussion would also engage the girls in talking about their values and rights. The girls should feel free to talk about tomorrow, their wishes and alternatives for secondary schools and arguments for each alternative.
They should take the results of these discussions home as a reminder to motivate them. The mentor can also introduce a post box.
Third Session: GIRLS AND THEIR MOTHERS TOGETHER
This third session is a combination of the girls and their mothers.
· To close the gap between the mother and daughter
· Motivate the girl and mother to keep up their effort
· Share experiences with those who are in similar situations
· Strengthen self-esteem through;
o Talking in front of others
o Feel strengthened by knowing their talents
· Be social by cooperating with each other
· Be responsible by setting realistic goals; finding and discussing arguments
The session starts with an opening ritual with the girls and mothers introducing themselves (a name game can be played). The mentor will give a brief summary of the previous meetings carefully keeping away from the topic of sexuality. The mentor will then explain the game “Job Advertisement”
This game will have the mothers write a list of qualities they would wish an ideal daughters to have and the girls will also write a list of qualities they would want an ideal mother to have; they will then read out the qualities as a “Job Advertisement”. This will allow the girls and mothers to appreciate each other. The mother and daughter will then role play the moment in their daily lives when they usually spend time together. And still in their mother/daughter teams allow them to share / discuss their ideas for after 8th grade. They do not necessarily have to agree. They will then resume to the group and share their discussions, arguments and ideas with the rest of the team.
The mentor will then lead them in a closing ritual (e.g. Impulse circle).
Fourth Session: GIRLS AND THEIR MOTHERS TOGETHER
This session will have the girls and their mothers together.
· To close the gap between the mothers and their daughters.
· To motivate them to keep up their effort.
· Support each other by sharing and meeting those who have the same experience.
· Strengthen their self esteem through:
o Identifying with a role model
o Model their own future
· To be social by being open to new ideas.
The meeting will start with the opening ritual. Ask the team for any questions or needs. Lead the team in making heart-shaped papers saying “I like me”. Fill in the paper with all the positive qualities that you feel you have.
The mentor may use this session to invite a role model to spend and have time together with the team. The role model should introduce herself and say her life story highlighting her struggles and how she overcame her challenges. Allow for questions. This session should not be hurried, give them time to feel warm and connected.
The mentor can then introduce a game with teams of mother/daughter e.g. rushing for a finish line with one foot tied to each other. The Mentor can then give a case scenario, if the mother wants to leave with her daughter and they only have a small suitcase, what would they fit into the suitcase? This will give them time to think about their family values and what is most important to them; they will also see what other teams decided to pack.
The mentor will lead the team in a closing ritual; this time they will do a praise circle (everyone says something good about another person in the circle).
WAMBA, SAMBURU ON 10TH MARCH, 2017
Mary and I left Kisumu on Thursday 9th March, 2017 to reach Wamba Samburu on the evening of 10th March, 2017. The choice of dates was informed by the Samburu team; Mentor Jacinta is a teacher and could only get time to meet the girls on Saturday. The day was also convenient for the girls as they attend different schools and on Saturday, they can all come together.
On 11th March, 2017, at 9:00am we had a training session with Mentor Jacinta (at Rebecca’s place) to go through the Curriculum and later on at 12:00 noon met the girls at Rebecca’s hall to go through an initial session with them.
Session with Mentor Jacinta
Mentor Jacinta was very glad to have us visit and come up with an objective curriculum as she highlighted some of the challenges that she has with the girls and their mothers. She felt the curriculum would effectively address the gaps that have created great challenges that the girls have with their mothers.
Session with GinCo Girls in Wamba
The session started at 12:00 noon. In attendance were;
· Mentor Jacinta GinCo Wamba
· Mentor Golda Sawala Ayodo GinCo, Kisumu
· Mentor Mary Rakiro GinCo, Kisumu
· Rose Nashangai Wamba DEB
· Lydia Sibuloi Wamba DEB
· Consolata Letongoswa Wamba CCM
· Saldina Lematampash Wamba DEB
· Tinah Alemeriwas Wamba DEB
· Soila Lekalyitele Wamba CCM
· One girl could not attend as her guardian did not allow her to come
· 3 girls attended a school function and did not attend the Mentorship session.
The session started with the girls very shy during introduction but they lightened up once we introduced the name games. They picked up well and even taught us some games. We then gave them pieces of paper and together we drew our “rivers of life” which we then shared with each other. The mentors first shared their rivers of life, this turned out to be a very emotional moment as the girls reflected their lives and the challenges that they have gone through to date. Each story had a unique setting and challenges but the girls have shown a lot of inner motivation to go through school. Some broke into tears and we had to have some moments of silence before we picked up again. We then took this moment to have the girls talk about their dreams. It was amazing to note that 2 girls wanted to be doctors, 2 girls Journalists, I girl dreamed of being a nurse and the other dreamed of being a lawyer. They have all been inspired by people they have seen in their lives.
We had round open discussions with the girls on a number of topics including menses management which is a major challenge. We introduced the girls to Ruby Cup and gave the 6 girls and Mentor Jacinta 1 Ruby Cup to try. It is however important to note that:
· 2 of the girls said they needed mattresses to sleep on as they do not have any.
· 2 of the girls said they needed “Torch Encyclopedia” to help them with school revision in readiness for the exam.
· I girl is not able to attend these mentorship sessions as her guardian does not allow her to come.
Mentor Jacinta said she would make a follow-up and have a talk with her guardian.
· Jacinta recommended 2 of the girls to be admitted to boarding school (within wamba) to enable them successfully complete their 8th grade as they have home logistical challenges.
We both agreed that it would be great to have phone call follow-ups right after each session to enable us get updates on the sessions. This would also enable us to adjust other sessions to adapt to situations if need be.
The Wamba team was very grateful for GinCo support through:
· The 10 solar lamps that we delivered to them. They were glad that they would be able to do night studies and also complete their homework which has initially been a huge challenge.
· Lunch program as there is a drought in Samburu and most of them would have no food at all.
· Books provided to them by the program as they are not able to afford the revision books they need to prepare for their 8th grade examinations.
· Mentorship as they usually do not have a forum to speak out their hearts and they feel very motivated to go on with their studies.
· They had very many questions on the Ruby Cup but were very anxious to try it. They say menses management is a very big challenge to them as their mothers/guardians are not able to buy them sanitary towels every month.
· They said they had learnt a lot from the mentorship session and were looking forward to other sessions.
· There is a warm feeling for comradeship, friendship, sisterhood and motivation with this team.
We spent the afternoon doing home visitations to some girls’ homes.
Some of the challenges Jacinta highlighted as having affected her team are;
· Mothers don’t talk to their daughters directly on certain matters that Jacinta feels should be spelt out clearly ( e.g. topic of sex is still a taboo)
· Some of the mothers though enlightened still take their daughters for FGM
· FGM is a deeply rooted culture that affects their community.
· During drought, boys drop out of school in search of pasture and water for their cattle.
· After 8th grade, some of the girls get married, get into prostitution, some remain at home to help their parents, while few others manage to go to secondary school.
· There are no vocational training institutions.
· Some girls and mothers are of the opinion that since Jacinta was circumcised, why would she stop them from going for FGM.
OBSERVATIONS & SUGGESTIONS
· Jacinta is a very effective mentor who uses a lot of her personal experiences when talking to the girls during mentorship and this is very motivational to the girls, with an objective curriculum she can get the best out of the girls especially since she identifies and understands the community setting.
· We suggested that it was important to meet the mother of the girls first before she met with the girls for mentorship sessions to start by getting the opinion of the mothers.
· Since the FGM culture is still deeply rooted, it was still important to have the girls attend school even though they are circumcised.
· It is important for Jacinta to have “a safe space” created for the girls to ensure that they have confidentiality and can speak freely without fear of being judged.
· The girls in Samburu need to visit other areas to enable them see life beyond their village.
· Though there are no vocational training institutions at Wamba, there are women who have skills that can be transferred to the younger girls’ e.g making beads, hair dressing, soap making. They however need a market to sell their beautiful creative artwork.
· Jacinta felt that soap making would be good businesses to have the women engage in at Wamba as the soap is a necessity for washing and bathing. It is however important to note that the team would need to have the initial capital to have them start off. Arrangements from Nairobi to deliver to Wamba the ingredients needed for the soap making would have to be organized as they do not have them at Wamba. It would be a great opening for empowering the team if the women engaging in soap making would also be trained on Table Banking.
· It would be important to facilitate the Samburu team with some fund to support the mentorship sessions as they will require to have stationery (papers, crayons, pencils, pens, and scissors). Jacinta will also need to make update reports at a Cyber and follow-up phone calls.
· At Wamba there is only one Cyber Cafe that is frequented by power black outs and no network, this challenges Jacinta to be able to send her reports on time as she visits the Cyber only after she comes from teaching at the school. We noted that with a personal Computer, she would be able to easily do and send the reports from the comfort of her home.
· Being a voluntary exercise with no pay, Jacinta says it is very difficult to have other mentors volunteer to do mentorship.
KIBERA, NAIROBI ON 13TH MARCH, 2017
An initial call to Zena on 9th March 2017, established that we would be at Kibera to train mentor Mary on the GinCo Mentorship Curriculum. During the phone call we requested to have 2 or 3 other mentors also attend the initial training session, however this could not be as we were made to understand that getting volunteers to do free mentorship is a challenge, Teacher Onjiko was teaching in class and therefore could not join in the training session, Mchanganyiko had an Annual General Meeting, this engaged Zena and ……… who were engaged in the meeting. We therefore had a session with Mentor Mary who shared with us their “Family Matter Participant Manual” which they use for mentorship. It has great insights and as we went through it we agreed that it was a good guide that could enrich a mentor’s responses to questions that may arise during a mentorship session. We could not have a session with the girls as they were attending classes.
Session with Mentor Mary
The Session started at 11:30 am. We gave Mary an overview of the GinCo Mentorship curriculum and its objectives. We then went ahead and had a demonstrative session with her. We demonstrated how a complete session would be with the mothers, the girls and both the girls and their mothers in attendance. We started the session with the opening ritual, the name game and went ahead to draw our “rivers of life” activity which we then shared with each other. We talked about a varied range of topics that the girls would likely wish to discuss, encourage the girls to talk about their wishes and dreams and start talks of what alternatives and options they have after 8th grade should they not have funds to take them through secondary school.
We talked about importance of having a “post box” during her sessions, setting objectives during discussions and setting realistic goals after 8th grade. We talked about importance of opening and closing rituals. On identification of role models to attend the session, we both agreed that it would be more realistic to get a role model who relates with the team as opposed to one whose achievements may seem too far and unrealistic for the girls and moms to reach. We also discussed how all the four sessions would be conducted and the subsequent flow of events during the sessions. We both agreed that it would be great to have phone call follow- ups right after each session to enable us get updates on the sessions and make any adjustments to the future sessions if need be.
· We went on a Monday, and the girls were all attending class so we could not have a session with the girls in attendance
Mary highlighted that they would need mentorship fund for stationery and snacks during their mentorship sessions.
Mary further highlighted that some of the challenges the girls face is their mother’s inability to fund their secondary school education and this leads some of the girls to stray into questionable activities and frustrations in life.
Observations and Suggestions
All the GinCo girls in Kibera are in one school. This is a good set-up as all the girls can be reached and the mentorship sessions can be effected.
Mary comes across as a great mentor who has a passion for mentorship. She talks of having had experience with peer mentorship before and seemed very enthusiastic about the GinCo mentorship sessions with the moms, and the girls.
The girl whose secondary school fee was supported is very grateful and has already gone to secondary school.
All the Kibera GinCo girls are in one school and as a result they are able to get them together easily through the school , for mentorship sessions.
It is great to note from Mary that the mothers to the girls may be cooperative and they would not have difficulties calling them to attend the sessions.