Ground Breaking – Bold Idea for Girls (BIG) Program

Children’s laughter sends a welcome echo from a far as you enter Mukuru slums – an informal settlement at the heart of Nairobi. A team from HOPE worldwide Kenya respond to the welcome  excitedly with yet another program to intervene in health challenges experienced by this community.

The Bold Idea for Girls (BIG) program is supported by Grand Challenges Canada–funded by the Government of Canada and is dedicated to supporting Bold Ideas with Big Impact in global health.

The funding was received on 26th October 2013 and officially announced on November 21, 2013 as a new grant in the Stars in Global Health – Round 5 – Phase 1 (Pilot). Immediately, this announcement set the ball rolling.

This girls only program aims to benefit 500 girls between 15 and 24 years old . Research from Center for Global Development (2011) contributed to the program design. The research indicates that girls aged between 15-24 years are four-times more likely to be infected by HIV than boys; they are twice more likely not to be in school than boys; and they are less likely to access services offered by health programs.

The project will include a combination of approaches which include Evidence-Informed Behavioral Interventions( EBIs) to equip the girls with sound decision making skills; Gender and HIV Program to facilitate knowledge on ones HIV status and break gender norms and practices that make them vulnerable; and vocational and entrepreneurial skills training. These will be provided to the girls to stem the incidences of HIV and other STI's; prevent teenage pregnancy among the girls and young women by improving their life-skills; access to health information and services and increasing their employability through provision of vocational and entrepreneurial skills.

The principal InvestigatorMr. Julius Nguku takes the program staff through a sensitization meeting on 22nd November 2013

The program team members hit the ground running with a sensitization forum to establish linkage with other HOPE worldwide Kenya programs to create synergy and provide wholistic services to the community.  A baseline survey is part of the recruitment and selection process of the girls in the program. The recruitment will be conducted in 4 villages in Mukuru – Mukuru kwa Ruben, Mukuru kwa Njenga, Mukuru Kayaba and Lunga Lunga. Also a mid term and end term evaluation will be incorporated for evaluation purposes.

Research from Center for Global Development, has also shown that there is a strong correlation between the low social status of women and the prevalence rate of many communicable diseases, especially sexually transmitted ones, including HIV/AIDS. The program will bridge this gap by improving their ability to generate income through  vocational skills training in computer application skills, fashion & design and hair dressing & beauty therapy.

Computer application skills, fashion & design and hairdressing & beauty therapy are some of the skills offered in the BIG program.

 

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