Posted by Alan Fox (Eganville)
Eganville Rotary is looking for partners to help fund a series of workshops addressing critical issues faced by students at Siloam Kware Primary School in Nairobi’s Mukuru slum.
For girls, information will be provided on menstruation and its role in human reproduction, as well as how to manage the monthly period.  For boys, information will be provided on the attributes of positive manhood.  For both girls and boys, instruction will be provided on Life Skills, such as career choices, dating with dignity, alcohol and drugs and the management of money.            
Work has already started on this project with support from the Women’s Inter Church Council of Canada (WICC) and the Rotary Clubs of West Ottawa, Arnprior and Eganville.
The following is a summary of our achievements over the last year:
  • SANITATION UPGRADE: Work was undertaken during April 2019 to build a new toilet block at the school.  This contains five toilets for the girls and four toilets and a urinal for the boys.  The toilets can be flushed to the main sewer line.  This work was financed by Siloam School, in partnership with the Rotary clubs of Arnprior, West Ottawa and Eganville.
  • FEMININE HYGIENE: Some 80 adolescent girls have been educated about the arrival of their monthly period and the role of menstruation in human reproduction.  Two workshops were held to educate girls about the psycho-social aspects of puberty.  They also learned how to manage their monthly period.  They have also received a Menstrual Kit containing a holder and three reusable sanitary pads, a pair of panties, a bar of soap, and a washcloth, all in a drawstring bag. Eighty Menstrual Kits have been given to Siloam School girls who attended the MHM workshops.We would like all 425 female students to receive the training and a Menstrual Kit.
  • TRAINING: Two training workshops were held for adults.  This included, the female teachers at the school as well as the Imara Community Health Workers (CHWs) and the school’s Board of Trustees.  These workshops were intended to ensure that the teachers and CHWs understand the vision behind the training and are available to help students and ensure the continuity of the program after the workshops are finished.
There is another aspect of training that needs to be recognized and that is the training of the Imara Community Healthcare Workers (CHWs). They are a registered Community Based Organization operating in Mukuru.  With their experience of conducting workshops on MHM, Boys to Men and Life Skills, the CHWs are well equipped to do similar kinds of studies for other schools or other social organizations.  In order to assist them preparing applications or communicating project results, Rotary Eganville has provided funds to purchase a computer and scanner/printer.
  • ACCESS TO SANITARY WEAR:   The Gates Foundation Report, Menstrual Health in Kenya: A Country Landscape Analysis (2017) identified the lack of sanitary wear as an impediment for girls from poor families to complete their education.  The Report notes that many young girls trade sex for pads, which puts them at risk of getting pregnant or contracting HIV or STD's.          
Mona Fox and a team of volunteers made a significant contribution to the project by making over 300 reusable sanitary holders and pads for Siloam students.A sewing machine has been purchased for the school so that students can make their own pads with the help of a volunteer parent.
Planning Empowerment Workshops - It is proposed that students attend a full day training as follows:  In the morning boys and girls would meet separately.  The boys will learn about Positive Manhood and the girls will attend a workshop on the Management of Menstruation.  In the afternoon the two groups will come together and learn about Life Skills. 
Refine Survey Methods - The long, detailed questionnaire is filled out anonymously by all students before receiving any instruction.  The questionnaire is then completed a second time, two to three months after the first workshop.  We will be looking at the questionnaire to see if its length can be shortened without the loss of important information. This process gathers information on learning and attitude change as well as the role of living condition in educational achievement. 
Assess the Impact of the Training - We administered the survey to 80 girls but were only able to run the second survey to one class of 40 students.
Preliminary results from the survey questionnaire suggest there is widespread ignorance about menstruation and that this ignorance undermines the confidence of girls.
Access to sanitary wear is still an issue and it will be a challenge to the CHWs and the Management of Siloam School to come up with a plan to develop a sustainable and affordable supply of sanitary wear.  
Menstrual Cups - Menstrual cups will be offered as an option for the senior students at the school.  These are made from high grade medical plastic and will last for ten years.
Absenteeism and Drop-outs - The school collects enrolment data and the CHWs will analyze these data to assess trends in absenteeism and drop-outs.  The questionnaire also asks questions about whether the student stays home during her period
Positive Manhood and Life Skills - A questionnaire needs to be developed to determine attitudes about the various attributes of Positive Manhood and perceptions about important Life Skills
Prevention of Sexual Violence - If there are sufficient resources, we will address sexual violence in the slum.  One possible approach is to work with Ujamaa Africa, which has a very effective approach in addressing the issue.  They use role playing in potential scenarios as a way how to avoid or prevent sexual aggression.
The budget is currently under development as we are waiting for information from Nairobi.  However, it is expected to be about $10,000.
The following are members of the research team:
  • Alan Fox, Rotary Eganville, Project Director
  • Scholastica Mwaki, Team Leader, Imara CHWs
  • Jane Katuga, President, Rotary Karengata, Facilitator
  • Kate Lusake, Registered Nurse, Facilitator
  • Ronald Rotich, Rotary Karengata , Facilitator/Life Coach
  • Members of the Imara CHWs Team
The website,  outlines Eganville Rotary Charitable Trust support of the Imara Healthcare Centre support from 2011 to 2019.  Information is also provided on our current support for the Siloam Education Centre.
Our achievements have been possible because of the financial support of our partners since 2011.  They include the Rotary Clubs of Arnprior, Chesterville, Eganville, Montreal, Montreal Lakeshore, North Renfrew, Pembroke, Petawawa, Renfrew, Shawville, Gananoque and eClub Premier.
We have also received financial contributions from the Rotary Clubs of Massena, Malone and Chateaugay (USA), the Rotary Club of Sowerby Bridge in the UK and the Rotary Club of Syokimau, near Nairobi.  Valuable support has also been provided by District 7040 Matching Grants, La Fondation Coup de Coeur, the Women’s Inter Church Council of Canada and the Fellowship of the Least Coin (The World Council of Churches, Geneva).
We also receive donations from many loyal and generous individuals.  We are proud of our partnerships and recognize them at every opportunity.  Also, we issue Charitable Receipts to donors who are Canadian citizens.