Ramat Oontoyie

(Maasai / Samburu translation for nurture the girl child) is an initiative that seeks to increase the number of the girl child who attend and successfully complete their education from various learning institutions as well as mentor them to ensure they attain the highest level of education. This program explores this through:

  • Sex education
  • Reproductive education

A preliminary assessment on the number of girls who completed secondary education conducted by POCCO revealed high rates of school dropouts especially at primary school level. This was greatly attributed to cultural influence such as early marriages and female genital mutilation; however, it is compounded by lack of water and resultant sanitation problems in the larger Maasai region. Most of the issues mentioned above, are partly being addressed by NGOs and the government.

However, during this assessment, we identified a neglected and often unspoken area that significantly contributed to the poor attendance and increased dropouts; menstruation. A large number of Maasai girls skip school at the time of their menstruation because they cannot afford /access sanitary towels or tampons. Some of them resort to the use of unhygienic hazardous absorbents like old pieces of cloth or used blankets to toilet paper.

We have partnered with the local schools and relevant stakeholders to identify all deserving girls and give them a 1 year free supply of sanitary towels. The package is supplied directly to the girls includes 96 sanitary towels, 4 under garments and educational materials in relation to hygiene.

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Tomononisho – Enkarai (Mother and Child)

According to WHO Maternal and child health services can be defined as “promoting, preventing, therapeutic or rehabilitation facility or care for the mother and child” Goal Reduce mortality and morbidity among mothers, infants and pre-school children.

Despite recent efforts by the Kenyan government to rollout free maternity and healthcare to pregnant women, most residents do not benefit due to the distance from their village to the nearest hospital. The cost of accessing transportation to reach health facilities is prohibitive, resulting in the popularity of Traditional Birth Attendants (TBAs).

These conditions are further exacerbated as Maasai women in the area have little or no access to health information, affecting their perception of giving birth in hospital, which they see as not essential.  As a result most women are not aware of basic facts like expected delivery dates leading to more home births and increase in mortality rate. A large number of women also suffer from nutrition-deficiency related illnesses e.g. anaemia and diabetes which often led to either mother or child deaths during or soon after birth. POCCO seeks to bridge this gap by partnering with community health workers and educate the local women on:

  • Nutrition
  • Reproductive Health
  • Exclusive Breastfeeding
  • Vaccination

Majority of these women are supported by their husbands, with the other remaining few being either the sole breadwinners or receiving support from extended family members. Most of the women stated that they would benefit from additional support.

Consequently, POCCO envisions a resource centre in Kenyewa, where women will get to learn and be involved in income generating activities like tailoring and beadwork. With the success of this center, we hope to replicate this model to other locations.