Aoife's Kenya diary week 2

12 September 2016

Twice a year a group of volunteers from Ireland go out to Kenya to support the community and our team working in Londiani. Every experience is unique and the stories from our volunteers really bring to life the work we do and the impact your donations have. Here is Aoife's diary from her second week in Londiani.

My second week with Friends of Londiani involved Lifeskills training in Kapsenda which is a rural area and as such there is less information available to the locals in comparison to the towns and cities. blog images/main/IMG_2398Over 30 participants of varying ages arrived and from the beginning it was clear that they were all very eager to learn. The community were kind and welcoming from the word go which made the course all the more enjoyable. Lifeskills covers a range of topics such as Communications and Values, Relationships, STI’s, HIV & AIDS, Nutrition, Family Planning etc. and all the modules interlink in some way which helps reinforce what is being taught. Certain myths and taboos were discussed and stigmas were spoken about openly with many referring to circumstances in their own community. There are various teaching methods, one example being value voting in which certain statements are made and the participants can choose true, false or not sure. Everyone was encouraged to respect the opinions of others and a discussion would break out (a friendly debate) after each statement allowing individuals to open their minds to other ways of thinking.

We conducted the training alongside Richard and Simon who are part of the Friends of Londiani team in Kenya and have both been doing Lifeskills for over 10 years. They are incredible facilitators and we were very lucky to have worked with them, they showed endless amounts of patience and were excellent translators (Asante sana Richard & Simon!). They were very open about sensitive topics and as such made everyone feel at ease and more comfortable asking questions. One particular subject that stood out for me this week was FGM (Female Genital Mutilation) which I personally would find difficult and distressing speaking about publicly. They conveyed the negative aspects of FGM discussing both the immediate complications and psychological consequences; following on from this ARP (Alternative Rite of Passage) was introduced which aims to raise awareness of the harmful effects of FGM, promote a positive image of uncircumcised girls and enhance communities capacity to plan and implement community education programmes. It was great to see the positive response this received and how the class did not shy away from sharing their viewpoints.


The course was finished on Friday with Maternal Health and Drugs & Alcohol Addiction and the graduation took place afterwards. It was incredible to see everyone receiving the certificates after the week, the community was in great spirits and there was a very uplifting atmosphere. I can honestly say that this has been an unforgettable week and most certainly has put things into perspective for me. It has made me realise that poverty is relative, the people we perceive who have little seem to be the ones who are most willing and wanting to help others. I have seen an entirely new level of generosity and appreciation and I feel so lucky to have worked with such an inspiring bunch of people!


blog images/main/IMG_2467