Reaching Out Across Kibera: Community Forums for Daughters United February 6, 2014 by Nick Johnson
There is an undeniable sense of community in Kibera. The networks of family and friends to which people turn to for support are extensive. And though this sense of community is pervasive, girls in Kibera often find themselves without a safe, understanding environment where they can talk about their problems. Challenges like lack of women’s rights, sexual violence, HIV, lack of educational opportunities, early marriage, and others are routinely ignored, misunderstood, or discouraged from conversation.
CFK’s Daughters United program (Binti Pamoja in Swahili) works to remedy that by providing girls with spaces (both physical and emotional) in which to bring these issues to light. One of the elements that makes Daughters United so effective in reaching young girls is its ability to nurture the leadership qualities of adolescent girls. When girls join the program, not only are they taught about confidence, reproductive health, life skills, creative arts and financial literacy, but they are mentored and trained on how to organize and facilitate their own girls’ groups.
Additionally, Daughters United holds community forums for its participants throughout the year. At these forums, girls invite their friends from all over Kibera who aren’t in the program in order to inform them about everything that Daughters United does. It’s a perfect place for the girls to practice their facilitation skills and educate guests on topics that are important to them. Similar to other Daughters United events, the girls engage in several types of art activities, including dancing, theatre, and displays of artwork or photography.
Though the community forums are regular events, attendance is always high. The last forum included over 175 guests! By inviting their friends to these forums, girls in the program are able to show off their talents and demonstrate to people why having a community and a space to call their own is so important. Take a look at some pictures from the most recent forum below!