SOLWOGIDI - Solidarity with Women and Girls in Distress
In 2019, 158 women and girls contacted SOLWOGIDI in Eldoret. The reasons for contact were: victims of human trafficking (3), victims of gender-specific violence (14), poverty prostitution (27), abuse (98), rape (2), forced marriage (1), child marriage (12) and other reasons (1). One third of those seeking help were under 18 years of age. All received psychosocial counseling, mentoring and support.
In 2019 the SOLWOGIDI staff in Eldoret looked after 53 self-help groups and a total of 1,025 women and girls. This high level of care and follow-up can only be achieved through the commitment of volunteers. In 2019, 60 peer educators volunteered for SOLWOGIDI. These are mostly young women who have experienced abuse themselves and who could be given help thanks to SOLWOGIDI. They supervise the self-help group members, carry out life skills training with them, report problems and worries to the social workers of SOLWOGIDI, who then provided more detailed, individual support.
In addition to psychosocial support, emergency medical aid is also an important task of the organization. Before women and girls can be provided with education and schooling, or competence training can be offered, they first need to be healthy.
The children that SOLWOGIDI welcomes into the ECD program (Early-Childhood-Development) are often very ill and need a doctor, medication and further medical care.
35 young women and girls were diagnosed as infected with HIV/AIDS as the cause of their poor health. The peer educators placed 78 women in health centers because they were suspected of having sexually transmitted diseases, and their suspicions were confirmed. Two women who were rape victims also had to be treated in hospital. Severe malnutrition affected 39 children, who could be treated quickly thanks to the ECD program. Two cases of tuberculosis and five cases of malaria required lengthy treatment.
The ongoing BMZ project „Poverty reduction and empowerment of women and pupils through agricultural trainings in West“ continued to be a model of success in 2019. All six schools are still actively involved in the project and are testing various farming methods on their premises. 256 women are involved in the agricultural training courses and are organized into 19 self-help groups.
144 young women were selected to participate in training courses at the Vocational Center, in the fields of hairdressing / cosmetics, tailoring or arts and crafts. Outside of the center, SOLWOGIDI provides training for bakers. In 2019, 20 young women were trained in this field.
66 young women celebrated their successful graduation and presented their "graduation works" at the graduation ceremony of the Vocational Center in Eldoret. This event is always shared and celebrated with the local population, village elders, community leaders, government representatives and people of the administration. It is a unique opportunity for the graduates to show their designs (dresses, suits, etc.) and creative hairstyles in front of a large audience. Most of the 66 female graduates have already found jobs. A fact that makes the employees of the center particularly happy, because it also speaks for the quality of their work.
In addition to the training at the vocational center, social workers and trainers also offers simple workshops for self-help groups, so that women can achieve a first basic income with small income-generating measures. This enables them to gradually build up a regular life. In 2019, 117 women were able to produce and sell soap, 14 could open their own tailor shop and 21 their barber store. Three bakeries were able to continue successfully.
279 young women and girls received training in income-generating measures and simple business skills trainings. 205 women opened their own small businesses and were thus able to persue their own ideas.
In 2018, a revolving credit facility was introduced A project that is supported by the diocese of Hildesheim. 15 women received an interest-free loan to realize their business ideas. The first ten women are already enjoying such success that they have started to repay. It is to be hoped that the repayments in 2020 will help more women who want to open a business.
In pursuit of financial independence and sustainability, the "SOLASA-Culture and Beauty Center“ was opened. In a large room, SOLWOGIDI exhibits the products of the trainees of the Vocational Center and sells them at a fair price. The profit is used to purchase new materials and to cover the running costs of the center.
A new program called "Making More Health", which focuses on medical care and education for women and girls in informal settlements, was launched in 2019 with financial support from Boehringer Ingelheim and Ashoka. In 2020, a small health center for deprived women and children will also be built with their help.
SOLWOGIDI Kisumu also includes the regions of Butere and Busia. The team of the organization consists of Elizabeth Akinyi, a long-time staff member and director, Rebecca Lukale, a social worker, Miriam Okudo and Beatrice Nekesa, an accountant. Due to numerous expanding programs and projects in Kisumu, volunteers are also actively involved. In 2019, this included 15 peer educators, two volunteers and two interns.
In 2019 SOLWOGIDI Kisumu could reach a total of 1,662 young women and girls. 410 first contacts were made in 2019, of which 305 required intensive psychosocial counseling and care. Three were victims of human trafficking, 45 victims of gender-based violence, 103 lived in poverty prostitution and sought to get out. 21 women came because they were abused, and five because they were victims of forced marriages. Three of them were raped women and 22 victims of child marriages also urgently needed support.
35 young women and girls were immediately taken to hospital because their health condition was very poor. 15 clients were tested HIV-positive. Four clients had venereal diseases that needed urgent treatment. Ten young girls suffered from malnutrition and twelve children suffered from jiggers (sand fleas). 20 malaria cases and one case of tuberculosis were also treated in hospital.
Four births were accompanied by the social workers, as the future mothers were still teenagers. The pregnant girls are always particularly frightened and left all by themselves, so they need intensified care.
Three returnees from Germany were reintegrated into their communities and brought together with their families. SOLWOGIDI takes care of the women so that they can persue and later implement their business ideas with which they returned to Kenya. For this purpose SOLWOGIDI Kisumu works closely with the SOLWODI returnee project in Mainz.
The BMZ agricultural project " Poverty reduction and empowerment of women and pupils through agricultural trainings in West“ was also very successfully continued. 270 women and 300 schoolchildren were given training in the agricultural and farming sector. The six cooperating schools are still active in the project. All participants benefited greatly from the training courses and were able to gain a broad knowledge of different cultivation techniques, alternative fruit and vegetable varieties as well as sales and marketing techniques.
SOLWOGIDI Kisumu was also looking forward to a big soccer and netball tournament in 2019 to be carried out. In this way, 2,500 people were reached and informed about sexual exploitation and human trafficking. For the young women and girls, who are looked after by SOLWOGIDI, it was a great day, as they could present their talent and their ambition to a big audience. The sports program of SOLWOGIDI Kisumu comprises a total of 300 young women and girls.
Income generating measures (IGM) are a further focus of SOLWOGIDI's work.
In 2019 , 210 young women and girls were involved in these trainings. Ten women who successfully completed their vocational training in 2018 were able to take up employment in 2019.
Twelve young women did apprenticeships to become hairdressers, 20 trainings to bakers.
20 went through training sessions to become tailors. 15 are jointly producing sandals and handbags. 60 women produce and sell soap to secure a basic income. These measures and the achieved income are often first steps for the development of „saving groups“ which menas that the women and girls are getting together as self-help groups (SHG) and start to save money from their IGM. As soon as the savings grow the women split the savings among themselves as small loans.
Since the target group of SOLWOGIDI is too poor to to obtain bank loans, this is often the only way to get a credit. So the women can afford small investments for their business (e.g. sewing machines).
A SHG has knotted a carpet for the German Minister of Economic Cooperation and Development, Dr. Gerd Müller, as some kind of a reward. Sr. Lea Akkermann personally presented it as a gift in Bonn (photo left).
Four young women who received support in 2018 as beneficiaries of a revolving loan, joined together in a group project and opened a sewing workshop at the Ganjala market place. Their earning was very high and they were able to start repaying, so that in 2019 three more young women received a loan. They began trainings as tailors.
It is encouraging to note that of six schools that participated in the BMZ project (2013-2016): Reducing Human trafficking and sexual exploitation of women and girls through prevention and reintegration in Western Kenya“- 72 students are still active in the Tujikinge clubs. These clubs are committed to increasing awareness among students.
All projects and measures SOLWOGIDI was able to implement in 2019 have a life-changing effect on the target group. An application for the development of a vocational training center was submitted to the Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development. We hope that the project will start in 2020 and give many women and girls a better future.
In 2019, SOLWOGIDI Malindi continued to work on its two main programs:
Safeguarding the maintenance of the ECD school and the project "Empowerment of young women and girls in Kenya, Malindi" sponsored by the Agnes Philippine Walter Foundation. Both programs are very successful and have a sustainable impact on the target groups.
In 2019, about 400 young women and girls sought help with SOLWOGIDI Malindi because of their great desperation. A total of 238 of them were victims of child marriages or forced marriages. All of our partners in Africa have seen an increase in the number of forced and child marriages. The number in Malindi being particularly high. In addition, counseling was provided for: twelve young women who were victims of human trafficking, 10 victims of gender based violence, 53 victims of rape and 53 victims of abuse. 200 young women and girls received individual psychosocial support over a long period of time, as they have suffered severe trauma due to abuse.
This makes it even more important for the organization to give pedagogic support. Within the framework of the project supported by the Agnes Philippine Walter Foundation, SOLWOGIDI offeres football activities as a preventive measure. Football activities give the opportunity to provide information on the topics of sexual assaults and HIV/AIDS. The project is aimed at girls and young women between the ages of 10 and 35, and seeks to prevent girls from dropping out of school and teenage pregnancies.
More than 232 girls were reached through the soccer program. They played in 17 teams. Seven trainers were actively involved, five of them as volunteers, two of them received a small expense allowance.
Football has changed the girls in a positive way. Especially the gain of the finals of official championships leads to a boosting of the young people’s self-confidence. In 2019, the Malindi team was second at the finals of the "Coast Regional Finals" and second at the National Football Tournament "Chapa Dimba Na Safaricom for male and female teenagers at the age of 16 to 20 years". The latter was developed by the company Safaricom Kenya in cooperation with the Kenya Football Federation (FKF). In the FKF County League one of the SOLWOGIDI teams (Msato FC) won the "North Coast Branch 2019 Women's League".
Coach Janet Mwamure, who took part in an international coaching course in Koblenz in 2017, provides excellent coaching for the talents. She brought forth the two best players of the tournaments of the "Coast Region" who were selected for the Kenyan national team of the under 20-year-old women.
Of the female soccer players, a total of 220 girls were able to attend school during the reporting period. Of these, 44 went to secondary school, 176 to elementary school and one completed a vocational training. The project provided financial support for 28 girls and one boy so that they could continue their schooling or finish their vocational training. 19 girls were able to make the transition from primary to secondary school in 2019.
Eleven girls succeeded in obtaining a scholarship of their schools for their special achievements. The program encouraged all school girls to work hard. It also helped to reduce the number of teenage pregnancies and marriages in the community. Two girls successfully completed a catering course and both soon found their job opportunities. One of the girls is employed as a cook at a private school and receives a good salary of 20,000 KES per month (about 200 euros). The other girl works in the hotel sector. This has motivated most of the girls to work hard and concentrate on their professional training.
The ECD school project has also be continued. It offers the opportunity to attend a preschool for many disadvantaged childdren. This is the basic prerequisite for further education and vocational training. In 2019, 48 boys and 60 girls between the ages of three and ten were enrolled at the ECD school. Here, the children from socially underprivileged families can learn, play and eat together. In most cases the families from which the children come cannot feed their children adequately.
Monthly meetings were introduced at the school to assist parents in all aspects of education and questions that have an impact on their children's learning and development.
Topics were among others: Basic needs, hygiene and safety. Eleven girls and eleven boys had to be taken to hospital for treatment. The shocking report of the hospital showed that the children suffered from a chronic skin disease caused by a worm infection. Lack of hygiene at home was the reason given.
As a result, teachers and parents were sensitized to improve children's health in order to reduce the risk of school closures by the state. Other partners were also encouraged to cooperate so that the work in the field of tolerance, hygiene, vaccination and food safety would bear fruit.