Sharing knowledge and experiences in Kenya

Monday 24 August 2015

In July 2015 Orchid Project returned to Kenya to welcome partner organisations and other people we know working to end FGC to a Knowledge Sharing Workshop (KSW). This workshop followed on from the Training Centre hosted by Tostan in Senegal in March 2015. You can find out more about the participants’ experiences of the TTC here.

Our Kenyan partners SAFE Maa and ECAW attended the KSW, as well as other organisations from Kenya and Tanzania. The 2 day workshop, which took place in Narok, Kenya, was based upon Orchid Project’s theory of change around how the abandonment of FGC happens. Through creative activities, short presentations and role play an interactive forum was created generating deep discussion and learning around key topics, in order to understand and develop approaches and strategies to address FGC. The five key topics included well-being and visioning; human rights; social norms; abandonment of FGC; and challenges faced. Each organisation was able to share their views individually and in teams, share their experiences and learn from others. Evaluation sessions concluded the workshop and allowed each organisation the chance to discuss which skills were transferable to their organisation, whilst creating actions for future development.

Two staff members from Orchid Project’s partner organisations, who took active roles in helping facilitate the session by supporting the group, shared their personal experiences from the KSW with us.

Cess Mugo, Programme Officer at ECAW

Cess Mugo

 “My role at ECAW is to support community led development, empowering the community to be at the forefront of discussing and devising solutions to ongoing challenges.  ECAW aims to raise awareness about FGC, by generating conversation around the topic, with the hope that dialogue on FGC will reach remote neighbouring villages. ECAWs ethos is centred on improving women’s rights. Many women who express gratitude toward the organisation for helping them claim their rights and be accepted by society as equal.

I’ve been with ECAW for almost 4 years now and it’s been amazing, inspiring and I have learned a lot, especially coming from a different community. This environment allows me to give more and contribute to solutions to challenges that communities are experiencing

Wow, Tostan Training Centre was really amazing! The training gave me an idea on how to integrate human rights into my activities as a very simple, not complicated, subject. It also gave me ideas on how I can introduce and facilitate on social norms. Before Tostan, social norms was a big subject and I wouldn’t have known how to facilitate on it. After Tostan and Orchid Project’s Knowledge Sharing Workshop, my knowledge on social norms and especially how to facilitate on them has increased and becomes clearer at every level. The simple ways in which we can bring in the human rights approach and social norms were my highlights, especially how I can bring them back to the community I am working in and how ECAW can reinforce them.

Orchid’s Project’s Knowledge Sharing Workshop showed me that we are facing similar challenges to other organisations. Learning about how other organisations are dealing with these challenges was very encouraging to me. How SAFE Maa handle the Clan of Elders and cutters was what ECAW was looking forward to start doing but we didn’t have an idea of how to start integrating this into our activities. The biggest impact of the workshop for me was learning how I can work with the Clan of Elders and circumcisers to be more effective. Also, my knowledge increased again on social norms to another level.”

Amos Leuka, Project Manager at SAFE Maa

Amos Leuka and Sarah Tenoi, SAFE Maa

SAFE focuses on four key areas when working to reduce FGC prevalence rates in and around Loita Hills: devising and presenting performances, training workshops with circumcisers to promote an alternative rite of passage, health clubs in schools to educate young learners about FGC and Moran clubs to advise the new generations to marry uncut girls. We are pioneers, bringing a new generation of uncut girls that are respected and valued members of the local community.

The Tostan Training Centre enabled a network to develop with other people with similar interests and objectives which is growing with me and my organisation. The social norms approach has also really impacted me and my organisation because we are working toward ending the practice and we have seen that it is just a social norm and we need to let the community understand and change for the better.

Orchid Project’s Knowledge Sharing Workshop was like a refresher course on what I learned in Tostan. I met my friends with whom I shared during Tostan and met other organisations, broadening our network to add to end the practice.”