Parents outsource “the talk” and other critical health education to schools, and schools assume youth learn what they need to know from home. As a result, girls get incorrect, incomplete, and delayed information about menstruation, their bodies, and how to stay healthy. This leaves them disempowered and vulnerable. For instance, the leading cause of teenage death in Kenya is unwanted pregnancy.
Moreover, experts in the field say girls need three things to succeed in adolescence: safe people, a safe place, and safe money.
Our EmpowerNet Clubs provide girls with critical support they need during turbulent years: timely health education; safe mentors in a safe space; and, financial savings.
To date we have served over 1800 students ages 10-18 in some of the least-resourced schools in Kibera. Our 2013 target is to reach 350 girls in 14 schools.
These Clubs are our field lab to test scalable methods to deliver health education.
The EmpowerNet Club program helped girls grow on a personal level:
90% are more confident about their futures
99% are more active in their communities
97% learned about resources in their communities
96% are more confident in their skills and abilities
90% have more self respect
93% feel they can make better decisions
The EmpowerNet Clubs had a profound effect on girls’ understanding of technology:
98% felt proud of themselves for being able to use a computer
98% enjoyed tweeting
97% felt learning computers helped them find information
“What I have learned in this Club is more about myself. I know my principles. I have decided to finish school and stay in the EmpowerNet Club… I should not have low self-esteem. When one has low self-esteem, you despise yourself, you don’t see ahead and you don’t see what you are doing.”
Initially we had a problem where parents would come to the school and complain about the girls misbehaving at home… But since the girls have joined the EmpowerNet group they have been empowered. They know how to make decisions. They know that whenever they have a problem, they have the right person [who leads the EmpowerNet Club] to consult… so a lot of complaints [from parents] we don’t see anymore, like ‘She didn’t sleep at home.’ Now the children are comfortable, they can withstand any temptation.”
[My daughter] says, ‘I want to be that lady who is teaching us’
You know [my daughter] is a Class 8 repeater. Of late I have noticed her growing interest in her studies. It is like she has seen some hope ahead of her, because even when I give her some household jobs she makes sure it is done and then goes back to study.