IN the month of June INERELA+KENYA conducted FGDS (focus group discussions) in Various counties.
The aim was to evaluate and monitor how the CSE&I education has been reciprocated to by the people of the 3 counties.
THE REPORT FOR THE FGDS ON CSE&I HELD IN 3 COUNTIES IN JUNE 2016.
The International Network of Religious Leaders living with or Personally Affected by HIV (INERELA+) Kenya carried an M&E meetings in the following counties;
Nyeri county,Murang`a county & Nairobi County. The agenda of the meetings was as follows;
- Updates on individual engagements in CSE&I
- Dissemination of the work plan as a corporate entity
- Updates on advocacy issues (child protection policy)
- Challenges faced and how to address them
- Significant change stories
- Stakeholder engagement
- NYERI COUNTY
Updates on individual engagements in CSE&I
40 children aged between 8-15 years were taken through two 2 hour session. The support from the pastors was very encouraging. The children already have the information but do not know how to present it. The issues covered in the training included;
- Gender identity (who is a male and female)
- Body and growth
- Love and emotions (what is the difference between the love of God and intimate love?)
- STIs and HIV
There were several questions asked;
- Is Aids a curse from God?
A group of 25 children aged between 5-9 years were taught on the following topics;
- Body parts
- Knowing your gender
- Diseases like HIV
- Dangers of certain games like “playing the father and mother game”
Every Saturday, the brigade group made (30 – 40 children) of children aged between 10 – 15 years have been trained on several topics namely;
- Knowing yourself
- Diseases like HIV and STIs and their dangers
- Love and development
- Self esteem
During the training, several questions were asked which include;
- What is homosexuality?
- What are STIs?
The mainstreaming of the information on sexuality has been conducted during Sunday school classes.
THE WAY FORWARD
Activities, advocacy issues and progress made
Several activities and key advocacy issues have been lined up to be conducted as part of the training and CSE&I dissemination within the parishes and they include;
- Reaching out to parents so that they can co-partner in the issue of upbringing of their children
- Holding a denary festival for the following parishes; Kairia, St. Peter’s Witima, Irindi and Kiruga in Nyeri County
- Meeting young men who have been taken through the rites of passage within 2014 and 2015 for follow up and empowerment
- Meeting with young girls who have been in boarding schools. The meeting was slated for 9th April and took place with a good turn out
- Meeting with HIV positive children and their guardians or parents during the month of May to help them form a self help care group
- Holding mothers’ union and CAMA fellowship seminars so as to inform and empower the parents and children
- Organizing a one day meeting with the men to discuss issues of male involvement in issues of child upbringing.
- Holding a meeting with the Board of Directors for Kairia Secondary School to discuss dissemination of CSE&I in the school. The board has been unsupportive of the agenda of sharing CSE&I within the school. The chid educators however mentioned that they have successfully disseminated CSE&I in the following schools; Irindi primary school, Irinidi secondary school and Kairia primary school.
The child educators reported that the acceptance of the CSE&I within the religious leaders has helped them to disseminate the information well. The need for a child protection policy has been discussed both with the parents and the leadership of the church.
They also reported that initially when they started off at Witima, it was not easy but with time the buy in has been good and the religious leaders have been very supportive. The challenge has now been met and they plan on reaching the youths aged 19-25 years.
They however reported that the buy in for male involvement is still low but they have hope that men will slowly support the program. The St. Peter’s Witima Parish was also lauded for its initiative to provide porridge for the children, a move that has helped not only increase the number of children but also has led to better management of the program since children are able to stay for longer periods after training the porridge.
It was also reported that the head teacher at Irindi has been very supportive of the idea and has opened the doors for more engagement between the church and the school. This was lauded as a very positive move and it was agreed that this opportunity should be used to the maximum. However, it was reported that there has been a reported resistance from the board of directors of Kairia girls and thus a meeting has been scheduled with the board so that they can be informed on what CSE&I entails.
It was also reported that some preachers are still disseminating the wrong information about HIV thus propagating, fuelling and spreading stigma and discrimination for the PLHIVs. It was agreed that there is need for advocacy against such kind of messaging.
Finally, Rev. Joshua Kiiru reported that the church has been working with Mt. Kenya west on the issue of a child protection policy. He further noted that the church is very serious on the issue of child protection and thus he noted that there is need for a localized policy. He added that the policy will be developed to focus on issues of negligence, lack of education, involvement of children in prostitution and the challenges faced by children with disabilities due to neglect.
Mentorship meetings for the child educators
The team agreed that there are several challenges and areas that need further training so that the team can disseminate the CSE&I more appropriately;
- How to deal with children who are born with HIV while discussing issues of HIV with children
- How to support children on issues of disclosure and creating champions among them
- How to deal with the misconceptions on what HIV is and the language used within the community t describe HIV “makonde” It was thus agreed that the whole issue needs to be dealt with from the pulpit where the clergy will address the language used.
- How to deal with young people who already have children when discussing issues of delaying sexual debut age. It was revealed that some youths are already married yet because of their age they still participate in youth activities.
- The methodology to use while discussing issues of sexuality among younger children. It was pointed out that some of the language used to discuss sexuality issues with young children is too deep for them and may lose them.
- Provision of learning aids like football and other tools and toys. It was agreed that when children are engaged in other learning processes like games in between lessons, they tend to learn better than when they have to sit in class for hours on end.
- The issue of guilt while discussing certain topics is also a necessity that needs to be dealt with. It was noted that some child educators feel the discomfort of dealing with certain topics because of personal experiences and thus it was noted that there may be need for the church to be fully aware what topics will be discussed.
- There are also concerns about the security of the children and it was agreed that the starting and ending times for all the meetings should be appropriate so that children can get home in time.
- The issue of youths thinking they know everything has also been highlighted and there is need for that to be addressed so that they can be properly advised
- The religious leaders have also been challenged to create budgets for the right committees for children related issues so as to ensure they have the right resources for their work.
- The issue of dealing with grief for both parents and children has also been highlighted as a key issue for discussion.
- Dealing with infidelity issues and protection for women especially in cases where the husbands are having an affair.
Dissemination of work plan
The dissemination of the work plan is on-going and the implementation is on track
Advocacy issues and cases that need attention and support
- Issuance of birth certificates for children to enable them process vital documents. Some children are not able to register for exams hence they are forced to repeat classes to enable the parent process the documents. Can the schools put a mandatory rule that when a child is being admitted in standard one, the birth certificate should be mandatory. We have also encouraged parents to take their parenting roes seriously. The chiefs and sub chiefs can also help work with the parents. The administrators are encouraging us to speak during barazas so that we educate the members of public. Some parents also lack Ids which is a challenge. CHVs can work with radio stations to sensitize people on issuance of IDs and BCs. Radio Maria, Inooro FM and Kangema FM are some of the radio stations working on senzitizing members of public on thes matters
- On lack of school fees, we are partnering with different organizations to see whether the children can get bursaries. Afya+ gave 7 bursaries, 2 got full bursaries. Some getting small amounts like Kshs4,000 to 15,000. There is monitoring on how the finances are being utilized. We are now doing home visits to investigate challenges faced by children in homes.
- We are also investigating abuse of orphans by guardians and we do home visits to sensitize them
- A child born after the father passed on was stigmatized, the mother was chased away from home by the grandparents and the boy is now in secondary. The grandparents said that the boy is not their blood so they won’t take care of him. The mother to the son accepted to take care of her son and is now in school after we intervened
Challenges faced during dissemination of CSE&I
- How to deal with conflicts in homes so that we save families that are facing them
- Denial of status by young people, how to handle those challenges faced by young people when they test positive
- Some men are also challenging us, whenever they are told that we are helping children to get bursaries, they also want us to help them to get other things
- Finances are also a challenges so we are not able to cover much area
- Some parents are not taking their children for immunization so we have to volunteer to assist them
- We also lack IEC materials for training
- Some young people don’t respect us, they accuse us of failing at home and tell us to first deal with our children before we can teach their children
- Others ignore us because our age is smaller or they are more educated than us
- NAIROBI COUNTY
- After the training I got an understanding on how to deal with the small children. After the training we dealt with topic of relationships. The session has a five minute break where children are taught and then they are allowed to ask question. For instance, one child saw a girl in boys toilet in school and was wondering what he should do about it. We have had four sessions so far. The topics covered include relationships and children rights. The children number 110 aged between 6-9 years. Questioned asked include; what do I do when I see children kissing and yet I can talk to mummy because she will beat me? What should I do when I an older man touches me inappropriately? Have you been kissed, yes, by mummy, daddy, uncle, grandma and boyfriend. *There is need to hold meeting with parents where the parents can be given the questions that the children are asking. Emphasis to be put in the parents being the first source of information for the children. Lots of questions being asked like the careers that children should take, duties of parents *There is need to ensure that the church gets the gender sensitive personnel to handle the questions being asked because some of the questions require specific help. The children have become more open and thus there is an impact being witnessed.
- One child misplaced his bible and the parent brutally beat the child. We followed the case and were able to help the child. Some children are involved in small thefts where they steal money to go and gamble, we have been following the issues individually to help the children. Pastor Alusiosa we have a meeting on parenting. Now we have a program for teenage children, the church is now committed to train teachers. We however a challenge with widows, single mothers or parents and children whose parents left and we have been discussing issues of parenting. *Church to consider organize for a training on parenting with KEKENERAL+, the training is called “Parenting in the Journey of Love”
- I teach children aged 9-12 years and they are going through a crisis as they enter to adolescence. I introduced sex and sexuality, adolescence and the body changes. The lessons involved a lot of affirmation for the children. Challenges, the boys and girls want to be separated when the sessions get deeper. Most of the children are going a lot and the parents are not aware so they suffer in silence. One child aged 12 years reported that his father t the bar, the church provides sanitary towels to the girls in the church. The children number 50-60. We are working with Calvary School to see whether we can work with the parents. I deal with the mixed age with children aged between 3 – 13 years. There is a challenge of teaching because we are not able to freely talk. There are plans to have the children in the first service separated according to age. The number ranges from 45-60.
- The biggest challenge we were facing with the teens was lack of favour but now they are open and they talk to us about their issues. The issues range from home based challenges, body changes. The topics covered include sex and sexuality, relationships, homosexuality and lesbianism, relationship with fathers and mothers, studies among others. They are very receptive of the issues. One boy asked a question was about a boy who was having feelings for another boy and we separated the boys and the girls and had them get different teachers who taught them. The teachers taught them well and the teens are now freely talking about the issues. So many of the teens are facing the challenge of getting free from sex and they desire to change. We are doing follow up with the young people and they are slowly trusting us and opening up to talk to us. We have a good referral system with the teens. One young lady got pregnant and she is due in a month and we are working on how to bring her back. Another worship leader came to me and discussed with me how a neighbour has been asking her out because the neighbour hasn’t been able to get a baby. The neighbour gave the girl 20K and threatened her if she tells anyone. I asked her to report to me in case the neighbour speaks to you. I also told her I will talk to the father in case the man challenges her again and he has since refrained. These young people are facing lots of challenges and so need to be reaffirmed. Another girl came and told me she feels that she isn’t enough for her parents and family, we had a series of talks and now she has joined school and she is now doing well. We should reaffirm them and be a role model to them. I have developed proper referral mechanisms and now I can comfortably share with them. The class ranges from 25-70. Can we also have some of the issues addressed from the pulpit as this will make the parents get them more and proactively work and act on them.
- There is need to sensitize the parents on the need for parenting. There are major challenges in terms of child abuse, parents using cooking pans placing them on children’s heads as punishment, children running away from home, parents using the rolling pin as a cane, children siding with one parent when there are family divisions because of school fees. *Sunday school teachers to coordinate the issue of bursaries. Consider starting a revolving fund to help needy cases. Discussing on how to get clothing for parents as well as sacrificing to have the children get free lunches for the children.
Creation of budget for Sunday school
The church is waiting for the budgets for approval. There will be a meeting this Sunday where issues will be harmonized. All parents and children will meet in the church as the parents discuss. Every department meets and gives the budget.
Child protection policy
The church is working with the community to develop a policy. Children being taken care of. First aid kit bought. Church working with St. John ambulance and Red Cross. Involvement of preachers in high schools
Male involvement in church activities
Handled at the level of family matters
Other emerging issues
Other issues include lack of proper parenthood.
Overall Project Completion