HEADS IN THE SAND: BEATING THE ODDS FOR THE GIRL CHILD
Recently I carried out an end of project evaluation on ‘stop violence against girls (SVAGS) project’. The project has been using a combination of advocacy, community-based initiatives and research to understand and address the root causes and consequences of violence against girls and its impact on their enjoyment of their rights to education. Surprisingly even in the 21st century the challenges that faces the girl-child are enormous: violence from school with teachers, family members and peers; they are abused physically and sexually, early marriages; late and low school enrolment; female genital mutilation and school dropout. The girls are seen as domestic workers: fetching water where the river is 2 km, cooking, fetching fire wood, washing and other duties.
The society has buried its head in the sand on the girl child issues. The community infringes the rights of the girl-child through adherence to retrogressive cultural practices and customs that demean a woman and relegate her duties to the kitchen. Even when seeking for careers, the girl is discouraged from taking courses related to STEM (Sciences, Technology, Engineering and Math) by the teachers, parents, community and the peers.
Several organizations like Actionaid international and others are working hard by initiating projects that address Violence against Girls in School (VAGS) in the country. The campaign is a noble course that has seen some girls in many parts of Kenya finish their high school and join colleges. Through such initiatives we will experience a ripple effect. I support initiatives that strive to make substantial progress in attaining gender parity in education. My vision is to engage with like-minded people in different platforms like in World Pulse to continue fighting for the right of the girl-child