As Mishel stands on WISER’s assembly hall stage, she looks at a crowd of more than 100 young women. Some are carrying small children. Others have brought their sisters.
All are focused on her.
Mishel looks to her former classmate, Luvy. She nods and Mishel holds an object up high for the crowd to see. It’s a purple menstrual pad. She projects, loudly, “Who wants to say how we start this session?”
Mishel is one of ten WISER graduates that have partnered with Huru International to offer sexual and reproductive health training to young women in Muhuru Bay.
So far this year, the team of ten has already trained 250 out-of-school girls in sexual and reproductive health practices, hygiene, and life skills.
In Muhuru Bay, girls often miss school due to a lack of menstrual hygiene products. Nearly 75% of girls drop out of school before finishing and the leading cause of dropping out is early pregnancy. Furthermore, the region has one of the highest rates of HIV prevalence in all of Kenya.
These factors make sexual and reproductive health education a potentially life-changing opportunity.
The training led by these WISER alumni gives young women the skills they need to build agency and potentially pass knowledge on to others. And that means that a network of women with an interest in sexual and reproductive health is growing across Muhuru Bay – with ten WISER alumni sitting proudly at the center of that growth.
“We need to educate young women on these topics,” says Christine, one of the WISER alumni leading this outreach. “I’m happy to be training about hygiene and health issues – it’s important, interesting, and amazing.”
In addition to the training, all 250 participants have received Huru Kits which, among other items, contain reusable menstrual pads and information about how to carry the lessons learned in training out into the community.
This outreach is the latest exciting piece of WISER’s work in sexual and reproductive health. In 2017, WISER has provided sexual and reproductive health education to all 150 WISER girls as well as over 500 others in Muhuru Bay.
And while this driven team of young women has already reached 250 of their out-of-school peers through their efforts, the WISER alumni are already looking to expand their impact.
“If we hear of a place that needs more training, we’ll go,” says Christine. “I know that I am well-equipped to teach other women.”