Pastoralist Child Foundation in collaboration with The Samburu Project’s “Sisters Project” facilitated a workshop on July 11, 2017 at Ntilal Village.
The participants were women from Ntilal Village, Lolgerded Village, and other nearby villages in Samburu County.

Sixty-five (65) women participated and were eager to learn about topics that affect themselves and their families. The full day workshop curriculum comprised:

    • FGM and its origin, myths, and harmful effects
    • Child marriage and teen pregnancy
    • Leadership, conflict prevention & resolution, and the importance of education
    • The right to equality for Pastoralist women
    • The right to decision making in the family and community, and increasing women’s leadership in sexual and reproductive rights movements at the community level
    • The right to life and to be free from harm
    • The right to personal freedom and recognition
    • The right to know and learn about sexual & reproductive health and formal education
    • The right to learn about management, myths, and misconceptions of HIV/AIDS
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Thanks to the generosity of Pastoralist Child Foundation supporters, The Namayiana Women’s Self-Help Group has opened a Jewelry and Artifacts Store.

The shop – which is close to the entrance to the National Park in Archer’s Post, Samuru County – will sell to the many tourists who visit the area.
The self-help group will now earn income for their families and send more girls to school, helping avoid FGM and early child marriage, giving their children a better life.

Pastoralist Child Foundation supporters are transforming the lives of women who decided that female genital mutilation (FGM) and child marriage should no longer be part of their tradition and believe real empowerment comes through education.

The store was built thanks to a grant from Spirit in Action

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Nairobi-based correspondent Charlie Ensor interviewed Samuel Leadismo from Pastoralist Child Foundation for Humanosphere.

‘Leadismo is Samburu, a semi-nomadic pastoralist farming people related to the Maasai. Leadismo’s organization believes the Kenyan government’s law-enforcement approach to stopping FGM (the country banned it in 2011) is not effective, and alienates communities who then practice FGM ‘under cover.’ His group instead emphasizes girls’ and women’s empowerment, human rights, and education as a means to end this horrible practice.’

“Without education there is no way that we can eradicate FGM because there is no way that those girls will speak for themselves,” Leadismo told Humanosphere.
“We want to give girls education; we want to empower them; we want to give them knowledge to speak for themselves.”

‘Initially the community was hostile to Leadismo, believing that he was trying to change the Samburu culture beyond recognition. He talks about how the elders in his community – who are the decision-makers in the community – used to threaten him. But by educating people and promoting alternative rites of passage that honor some of the same traditions, Leadismo says they are making progress against FGM.’

Source: Humanosphere

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Founder and President of Pastoralist Child Foundation (PCF), Sayydah Garrett was interviewed by Sandra Bookman on the ABC Television program, ‘Here and Now’, about the work of the organisation in Samburu County in the northern rift valley of Kenya. The Samburu pastoralists are semi-nomadic tribes who follow the water and the grass. ‘Cousins’ of the Massai, they have a beautiful culture but sadly some negative traditions too – some, such as Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), imported from other cultures hundreds of years ago.

The extensive interview particularly focusses on PCF’s work to eradicate FGM and child marriage. PCF Workshops explain the origins, taboos, myths, and harmful effects of such practices – and the importance of education. Sayydah talks about meeting Samburu warrior, Samuel Siriria Leadismo, and setting up the organization together.

(You’ll need to wait a few seconds to skip the television adverts).

Extracts from the interview

“So Female Genital Mutilation involves the removal, cutting, without anasthesia of the female clitoris… the same razor blade is used on multiple girls…

“It actually started in Egypt. There was a Pharoah about 3,000 years ago who wanted to suppress the female sexual desire and thought that by doing so it would prevent women from being unfaithful to their husbands…

“It’s extremely harmful psychologically, emotionally, especially physically… that include higher infant mortality… there’s nothing but harm… When girls are mutilated here they drop out of primary school, they’re forced to marry at 12, 13, 14 years old…

“Because the practice is so deeply engrained in communities, nobody has questioned this for hundreds and hundreds of years… We have to reach the elders… It’s a very patriarchal society & the elders rule. So when the elders understand why education is so important, they have second thoughts about mutilating their girls…

The overall message is: “to stop practicing this and let girls go to school. Imagine all the positive effects of educating your girls – educated girls are obviously healthier, they come back and help the communities move forward.”

FGM is practised in 29 countries throughout Africa and in the Middle East, though illegal in many including Kenya.

Worldwide, 200 million girls and women have undergone FGM – and millions more are at risk, including in the USA. Sayydah recently attended first summit in Washington DC to end FGM, where Senator Harry Reid was in attendance.

The mission of PCF is two fold – to eradicate FGM and child marriage, and to provide scholarships – financial help for high performing girl students to attend boarding schools.
PCF currently has 10 girls at boarding school, and has directly saved 540 from FGM – and many more through the message spreading by word of mouth.

To sponsor a girl at secondary boarding school costs 1500 dollars a year for tuition, exams, medical uniforms, bedding, and sanitary napkins.

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The annual Pastoralist Child Foundation soccer and volleyball tournament, held at Archer’s Post Soccer Stadium, ended on November 28th.

200 boys and 200 girls from different villages across Samburu County participated in workshops and resided in school dormitories.

The workshops focused on female genital mutilation (FGM), child marriage, teen pregnancy, reproductive health, HIV/AIDS, drug abuse, and the importance of formal education.
Four days of fully sponsored educational workshops concluded with the sports event, an inclusive and celebratory soccer and volleyball tournament.
Referees for the soccer matches are official referees from Football Kenya Federation, officially recognized by FIFA.

Fans of the soccer and volleyball teams attended from all over Samburu County to support and cheer for their favorite teams.

The sports tournaments are sponsored by COBMEX, an international knitwear company.

“Cobmex is so proud to be associated with PCF,” said Phil Newman, COBMEX Chief Executive Officer.
“Their mission and the commitment of their leadership is beyond compare. Just seeing the smiles on the children’s faces gives us all the encouragement that there is still a lot of love left in this world.”

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