Posts tagged as: girls

Moi Girls Fire Victim, 600 Others Named National Heroes

President Kenyatta has ordered the setting up of a national heroes’ council.

The Head of State said the council would take care of the welfare of people who have made immense contribution to Kenya and the lives.

Speaking during Mashujaa Day celebrations at Uhuru Park in Nairobi on Friday, Mr Kenyatta recognised over 600 Kenyans as heroes and heroines.

DORM FIRE

They included Mary Mokaya, a student of Moi Girls High School Nairobi, who died in a dorm fire as she rescued her colleagues.
Also recognised is Joseph Karisa, who gave up his land for the construction of a water pan.

More Kenyans, Mr Kenyatta said, will be honoured in December.

Mary bravely fought to rescue tens of her colleagues from a deadly fire that broke out at the school and tragically paid for it with her own life.

She took it upon herself to awaken her colleagues as the raging flames spread through the dormitory known as Purple at 2am on last month, killing 10 girls.

BURNS

Mary, who sustained 66 per cent burns during the tragedy, succumbed to her injuries.

Accounts by her colleagues revealed that when Mary woke up and saw one of the beds on fire, she took her own blanket and moved to the decker that was at the middle of the cubicle and tried putting out the fire while screaming orders to her sleeping classmates to wake up and escape.

When Mary, popularly known by her friends as ‘Meg’, realised her efforts were no match to the furious flames that were quickly spreading to the other beds, she quickly changed tack, choosing to concentrate on forcing the other girls out of the dormitory.

Kenya

4 Killed, 7 Arrested in Post-Polls Protest – Police

Four people died, 10 police officers were injured and seven others were arrested in demonstrations called by opposition… Read more »

Safaricom Avails Funds for Kenyan Education, Health

By Maria Macharia

Nairobi — VARIOUS Kenyan schools and health centres in the Rift Valley region are the beneficiaries of different facilities valued at over Ksh28 million (US$271 000) courtesy of the Safaricom Foundation. Thousands of people including over 1 600 pupils from different schools are beneficiaries. Two medical facilities and seven schools benefitted. Among recipients are the Samburu Girls Foundation, which rescues girls from oppressive traditional practices like early marriages and Female Genital Mutilation. Joseph Ogutu, Chairman, Safaricom Foundation, said health and education remained key areas of focus as a foundation. By focusing on these two sectors, Safaricom Foundation will ensure it positively impacted the lives of Kenyans especially those in marginalized regions through increasing access to equitable and innovative educational opportunities and improving the health status of locals. “This, we will do in the spirit of Twaweza as we believe that great things happen when we come together,” Ogutu said. The foundation has invested over Ksh500 million towards improved infrastructural and sanitation facilities reaching over 1,2 million learners and vocational training institutions across the country. An equivalent amount has been injected towards the improvement of health for Kenyans.

Kenya

Police Killed Over 33 During Demo – Report

Kenya police killed at least 33 people in Nairobi during demos sparked off by August 8 presidential poll results,… Read more »

Three Girls Return Home After Escaping Isis Captivity in Libya

Three girls who had left Kenya to join ISIS in Libya have been brought home.

The three girls, Firthoza Ali Ahmed, Aisha Mafudh Ashur and Tawfiqa Dahir Adan, were rescued in the streets of Cairo, Egypt trying to find their way to the Kenyan Embassy in Egypt, after escaping their captors in Benghazi, Libya.

Firthoza says she was job hunting online when she was contacted by someone known as Umm Mariam on Twitter.

Umm Mariam seemed to know her well from the questions she asked. She also knew that Firthoza was looking for a job.

JOB DESPERATION

Thereafter, Umm Mariam offered to help get her a job in other parts of the world, especially Europe, urging that they paid their employees well. Consumed with the desperation of getting a job, she accepted Umm Mariam’s help.

Firthoza, did not have travel documents, but Mariam, assured her, that she knew people who could fix her problems, so she should not worry.

That is how the trio was lured to embark on a dreadful journey to Libya, to Join ISIS.

The safe return of the girls to the country is the successful efforts of the multiagency security approach employed by the Kenyan government in conjunction with other foreign governments to prevent the youth from leaving the country and to track those who have left and bring them back home.

Sources say that, many youth fighting for terror groups in Somalia, Libya and Syria, have reached out to the government to seek for amnesty.

SPYING ON TERROR GROUPS

They have expressed their willingness to cooperate with the government in the fight against terrorism. Most of the Kenyans fighters are being executed for spying on the terror groups.

The girls joining the group suffer the most because they are exposed to inhumane treatment, where they are sexually abused and beaten up if they resist.

Many girls die within weeks of getting into the militia controlled territory as a result of the adverse conditions they are subjected to. For instance, while there, the girls are treated as communal wives, to serve all the fighters at the battle front.

Psychologists opine that parents have a huge stake to play in the fight against radicalization into the terrorism.

Kenya

Govt Bans Demos in Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu CBDs

The government has banned demonstrations within the Central Business Districts in Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu following… Read more »

Women Still Dying From Unsafe Abortions Despite the Law

press releaseBy Agnes Odhiambo

James lives in a Nairobi slum and takes care of his niece. Her mother died almost 10 years ago following complications from a botched abortion. She had become pregnant in a horrific gang rape.

“She told us that she saw three men rape her and then she lost consciousness,” James told me. “She was just quiet most of the time after the rape. She didn’t want the baby. She tried to abort three times.”

Expand

Her fourth attempt proved fatal. “When she was about eight months pregnant, I was called by a neighbour saying my sister had fainted. She was taken to Kenyatta National Hospital, but she didn’t make it. She had taken some medication to kill herself and the baby.”

Unsafe abortion is a major public health crisis in Kenya. It is a leading cause of preventable death and illness among women and girls of reproductive age, and post-abortion care, including care for severe health consequences, consumes significant resources.

Legal

Abortion is largely illegal in Kenya, even for women like James’ sister. The 2010 Constitution created limited exceptions to the previous constitution, which permitted abortion only to protect a woman’s life. Abortion is now legal in limited circumstances where, in the opinion of a trained health professional, there is a need for emergency treatment, or the life or health of the woman is in danger.

These advances have, however, not translated into wider access to safe abortion. There have been no efforts by the government to educate the public about when and where legal abortion is available. Critically, the government has also failed to issue regulations to the medical profession on when they can intervene to offer legal abortions. In December 2013, the director of medical services arbitrarily withdrew the 2012 “Guidelines for Reducing Morbidity and Mortality from Unsafe Abortion,” and banned training in safe abortion for all health care providers.

A process has been under way for some time to develop new guidelines, but many experts and activists question why the Health Ministry is taking long to finalise and disseminate them.

FIDA

A court case by the Federation of Women Lawyers in Kenya to compel the Health Ministry to issue the guidelines and training of health workers, as well as to clarify the basis for legal abortion under the constitution, is pending in court.

In the absence of clear guidance, some health providers are reluctant to offer abortions for fear of prosecution. Kenya’s Penal Code includes criminal penalties for women who have undergone an abortion, with punishment of up to seven years in prison, and anyone who helps them get one, can be imprisoned for up to 14 years. There have been numerous arrests in cases of women who seek abortion and health providers who assist them.

The stigma attached to abortion in Kenya is another big reason why women and girls may not seek information about when it is legal to have an abortion, instead opting for so-called back-street abortions.

I have spoken with many women and girls, including survivors of sexual violence, who told me they would not talk to health providers about legal abortions because they fear people will think that they are immoral.

Support Girls

The Kenyan government should publicly support women and girls’ right to unhindered access to voluntary safe abortion where allowed by law, and ensure that post-abortion care is available for all abortion-related complications. It should also provide access to quality family planning information and services.

Legal reforms are needed to align the penal code provisions on abortion to the Constitution and Kenya’s international human rights obligations by making abortion legal in all cases of rape and to remove provisions that criminalise abortion, especially those that punish women who have had an induced abortion. The Health Ministry should urgently expedite the completion of the “Guidelines for Reducing Morbidity and Mortality from Unsafe Abortion,” and train health workers on their use.

Emotional Issue

Abortion is a complex and highly emotional issue and one that often arouses deeply held feelings about life and women’s ability to control their bodies. Women have a right to health, however, and this includes access to safe abortion services.

Denying women access to abortion, particularly if there is a threat to the woman’s life or health, or if the pregnancy is the result of rape, violates their human rights. As Kenya marks International Safe Abortion Day today, it should stand up for women’s rights to health, not limit them.

Chapa Dimba Heads to Western Region

Nairobi — The Chapa Dimba Na Safaricom football tournament will head to Western Region this weekend with over 260 teams expected to participate in over 50 different venues.

The boys teams will play their games on Saturday and Sunday with the girls sides facing off October 7 and 8.

“Western region has been a hub of football talent in the country for years and we are glad that this tournament represents a key stepping stone to discovering and propelling even more talent from there,” Football Kenya Federation (FKF) President Nick Mwendwa said.

This weekend’s games follows the successful group stage matches in Rift Valley and Eastern Regions.

Nakuru All Stars, St. Andrews, and Ol Kalou All Stars are some of the teams that have qualified for the regional knockout stage while NYSA, Loyal Stars and Tumaini Shaker Girls lead the girls teams in the Rift.

From Eastern Saku United and Saku Queens from Marsabit qualified for the regional knockout stage as did Kamwimbi Green Stars and Zion Queens from Meru and Tumaini FC and Ngakaa Talent Academy from Makueni.

Teams that qualify from the group and knockout stages will move on to the regional finals with the grand finale set for March 2018.

The competition aims at scouting for youth talent, developing grassroots football, and ultimately propelling gifted players to the national team.

“We remain committed to endeavors that shape and determine the future of our next generation. We wish all the participating teams the best of luck as they take part in this exciting journey,” Sylvia Mulinge, Director -Consumer Business said.

At the grand finale, the winning teams will walk away with Sh1 million each and an opportunity to go for an international training and mentorship camp in London in April 2018.

Safaricom has invested Sh100 million towards the program which includes Shl10m worth of prizes as well as funds for renovation of select community pitches through a legacy programme.

AUTHOR: Capital Sport

Kenya

Duale to Seek MPs Approval of Sh11.5 Billion for Poll

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Malawi: Why Retain the Law That Kills Women

Abortion. The proverbial hot potato. The elephant in the room. The ancient-old practice. The issue some choose to hate. The word others tremble to mention. The secret killer of women and girls.

It does not matter how we describe abortions but the reality is that they are taking place on daily basis. As someone who works in the rural area in Dowa in central Malawi, where many girls and women suffer from the consequences of unsafe abortions, I believe it is important to openly and honestly discuss the issue so that we can be proactive in addressing this public health menace.

I am inspired that the silence on abortion is broken. A fortnight ago, I read with keen interest the passionate call made by Inkosi Ya Makosi Gomani on the need to review abortion law. His call came after the Maseko Ngoni king learnt about the deaths of two girls in Ntcheu due to unsafe abortions.

As a matter of fact, he is not the only traditional leader to make that call. Senior Chief Chikumbu of Mulanje, Senior Chief Lukwa of Kasungu and Inkosi Mabulabo of Mzimba have already made similar calls in the past at various forums. The chorus of these traditional leaders is the same – liberalise abortion law in order to save women’s lives.

Statistics on abortion in Malawi are startling. While in 2009 up to 70,000 women in this country terminated their unintended pregnancies, the figures shot up to 141,000 in 2015. The bad news is that the majority of induced abortion procedures in Malawi are performed under clandestine and unsafe conditions with complications accounting for between 6 and 18 percent of maternal deaths.

These figures speak for themselves. Abortion is not going away. No amount of denial or condemnation on moral or religious grounds will ever end this public health problem.

The fact that just in 2015, over 141,000 Malawian women terminated unintended pregnancies means that the abortion law the colonials wrote has become toothless. It is failing to stop women from inducing abortions. In essence, what the restrictive law has succeeded in doing is to deter women from accessing safe abortions in hospitals by forcing them to seek unsafe abortions from quacks. As a consequence, many women end up with injuries as they seek the services from herbalists or untrained health personnel.

Why should the law change?

The law needs to change so that women and girls who are desperate to terminate their unintended pregnancies can do so in hospitals where the risk of complications is non-existent.

While Malawi is dilly-dallying in loosening abortion restrictions, this flies in the face of considerable evidence that legalising abortion saves lives and reduces high maternal mortality rates. A good example is South Africa, where – just six years after the country liberalized its abortion laws – the number of women dying from unsafe abortion dropped by almost 50 percent, and the number of women suffering serious complications fell dramatically.

A recent study by the World Health Organization found that overall abortion rates in the world are similar, regardless of whether abortion is illegal in a country or not. In other words, restrictive abortion laws are not associated with a low abortion rate. In fact, in countries where abortion is widely available there has typically been a decline in abortion rates over time, especially when contraception use rises.

There is one lesson for everyone to learn. Restrictive abortion laws are not very effective at achieving their purported goal of stopping women from obtaining abortions. The key difference is safety. So, if any country wants to reduce abortions, punitive laws are not the way to go because what is important is to focus on reducing the number of unintended pregnancies. Fewer unplanned pregnancies mean fewer unsafe abortions and hence fewer maternal deaths.

As Malawi joins the world in celebrating the International Global Day of Action for Access to Safe and Legal Abortion tomorrow on September 28, let us seriously reflect as to why our beloved nation is still retaining colonial abortion laws that kill and injure women, violate their human rights and dignity.

This article, coordinated by Centre for Solutions Journalism, is written by Darlington Harawa, the executive director of Dowa-based organization, Passion for Women and Girls.

Kagame Attends Inauguration of Angola’s New President

President Paul Kagame yesterday attended the inauguration of Angola’s new president João Lourenço. Kagame later met with Lourenço to congratulate him on his election victory and inauguration.

President Lourenço, who was the People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) candidate, was elected on August 25. He replaces José Eduardo dos Santos, who led the Southern African nation for 38 years.

The inauguration ceremony was attended by several Heads of State and Government from across Africa.

Rwanda

1000 Girls Trained at Live Your Goals Festival

At least 1000 girls from five districts have been trained in the second edition of the Live Your Goals Festival in… Read more »

Sifa Gospel Awards for Sunday

By Frederic Byumvuhore

All roads will lead to Kigali Marriott Hotel on Sunday for the fifth edition of Sifa Awards, in which 15 gospel personalities will be recognised.

Those to be recognised include pastors, local NGOs, educators, media personalities and choirs. The event starts at 3p.m, and is free.

The annual event is organised by Isange Corporation, a Christian organization, to promote evangelism through recognizing and rewarding remarkable achievements done by individuals and institutions.

Peter Ntugurirwa, the managing director of Isange Corporation that organised the event, said the awards are meant to appreciate gospel personalities and partners who had endeavored to spread the gospel.

Israel Mbonyi, Deo Munyakazi, Barret Amasimbi n’ amakombe and Chorale Rugamba Cyprien will perform at the event.

Dr Diane Gashumba, the Minister for Health and Eduard Bamporiki, the chairman of National Itorero Commission are among the guests expected to grace the event.

Rwanda

1000 Girls Trained at Live Your Goals Festival

At least 1000 girls from five districts have been trained in the second edition of the Live Your Goals Festival in… Read more »

Fresh Genital Cutting Concerns Raised

By Gadiosa Lamtey Glamtey@tz.nationmedia.com

Dar es Salaam — Tanzania is among the nations that outlawed the Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) for girls below the age of 18.

It was a good idea and has saved thou-sands of young girls from suffering health and psychological effects of the practice.

Some tribes, however, still cannot let go of the tradition, which has claimed the lives of a lot of girls.

Nonetheless, fresh concerns are abound over what happens to the girls who are above the stated age. The law is silent.

The Penal Code (Cap 169A), section 158 of the law of the Child 2009 provides for the protection of children under the age of 18, but it states nothing about those who have crossed the aforementioned age.

The silence of the law for those above 18 is a serious cause for concern for gender and human rights activists.

They want the government to amend the law in order to protect all girls and women from FGM.

Activists disclosed recently that some women, who are above 18 years, are forced to go for FGM because of pressure from husbands, in-laws, and the society so as to qualify for inheritance.

It is for this purpose that the Legal and Human Right Centre (LHRC) has designed a project that would help in the fight against the FGM practices.

The institution has conducted a base-line study in selected areas in order to find out the extent to which girls/women above the age of 18 are forced to undergo female genital mutilation.

Mr Geoffrey Chambua, a principal researcher from LHRC, says the baseline survey was conducted in three regions namely; Mara, Singida and Manyara with a view to establishing the number of women above 18 who underwent FGM and the reasons for doing so.

Mr Chambua said Kenya and Uganda have already enacted a law that will be punishing people who, force women above 18 to undergo FGM and recently the East Africa Legislative Assembly has drafted a bill, which proposes member states to enact a law that protects women.

He, however, said although the 2016 demographic and health survey indicates that FGM has dropped by 5 per cent in Tanzania, it is still high for women above 18 years old.

LHRC has recently organised a one day workshop, which brought together government officials and activists for the purpose of giving them preliminary results from the baseline.

The preliminary survey has established that there is a big number of women over 18 years, who underwent genital mutilation against their consent following pressure from their families.

“There is a problem with the existing law. It suggest that the girls above 18 cannot be forced to undergo FGM, which is not true,” said Chambua.

Mr Chambua said the respondents told researchers that some of the women undergo mutilation when giving birth.

He said after they discovered later that they have undergone FGM and since there is no law that protects them, they find themselves losing their rights.

He added that this is happening despite the fact that the government’s ratification of a number of agreement such as the Maputo Protocol, which wanted all member countries to formulate laws that protect all acts of violence against women.

For her part executive director for an NGO working with communities for positive change, Ms Sarah Mwanga said forcing a woman to undergo FGM is in contravention with human rights.

Ms Mwaga said activists and various organisations have done a very good job in defending the rights of girls by preventing them from undergoing FGM.

Senior community development officer from the ministry of Health Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children Mr Emmanuel Burton said in order to avoid the FGM, there is a need a mind-set change among the members of the society.

He said should the people fail to change outdated views and consider the negative impact of FGM, the problem will continue to exist.

“Even if the government decides to en-act laws to prohibit FGM for girls above 18 years old, the society needs to change. If the society upholds its beliefs, these incidents will continue,” he said.

LHRC Programme Officer, Women and Children Naemy Silayo said there is a step up education for the people in the communities where FGM is rampant.

She said the people may abandon their traditions if proper education is provided to them, adding that they need to be aware that they violate human rights when upholding traditions that hurt women.

“We need to talk to women themselves who are the victims. Change starts from themselves, they should drop misconceptions that they can’t be married their genitals being mutilated,” she said.

A recent report from the National Bureau of Statistic (NBS) through the Tanzania Demographic and Health Survey, FGM report on 2015/16, shows that Manyara region is being reported to have high number of FGM cases (58 per cent), followed by Dodoma (47 per cent), Arusha (41 per cent), Singida (31 per cent) and Mara (32 per cent).

According to WHO FGM, the practice carries serious health consequences both for the girl or woman who undergoes the procedure and for her offspring. The procedure can lead to direct medical complications.

Long-term health effects include psychological and psychosexual trauma, in-fertility, susceptibility to bacterial vaginosis, genital herpes and obstetric complications, including perinatal death.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that three million females undergo the procedure each year in Africa.

It is also estimated that more than 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation in the countries where the practice is concentrated.

Furthermore, there are an estimated 3 million girls at risk of undergoing female genital mutilation every year. The majority of girls are cut before they turn 15 years old.

Ministry Revises School Calendar as Election Nears

Photo: Jared Nyataya/The Nation

Students at Moi Girls High School (file photo).

By Faith Nyamai

The Ministry of Education has issued a new calendar for the third term as it postponed the Home Science practical examination paper because of the presidential election.

Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i in a statement Friday said:

“Given the number of schools gazetted as polling stations and tallying centres for the election, it has become necessary to make minor adjustments to the third term dates.

“This is to free up the institutions for use during this important national exercise,” he said.

ELECTION

Dr Matiang’i said the Home Science practical paper that was scheduled for October 26 will take place on October 30.

“The Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) Home Science 441/3 examination paper scheduled to take place on Thursday, October 26, has now been moved to Monday, October 30,” he said.

The Ministry made the changes after the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) deferred the repeat presidential election from October 17 to October 26.

KCPE EXAM

This has equally affected the closing dates of primary and secondary schools.

All primary schools will now close on October 25; Form One to Form Three students will go on holiday on October 24 as the Form Four candidates prepare to sit the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education exam.

The Kenya Certificate of Primary Education examination will start on October 31 and end on November 2 while the KCSE theory papers will begin on November 6 and end on November 29.

Kenya

Duale to Seek MPs Approval of Sh11.5 Billion for Poll

Majority Leader in the National Assembly Aden Duale says he will be requesting MPs to approve the release of Sh11.5… Read more »

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