Pendekezo Letu have developed a successful rehabilitation programme with girls living and working in Nairobi’s dumpsites and slum settlements. In 2015, we received a new three-year grant from Comic Relief to further extend into working with the communities the girls come from, and continue their vital work with children and young people in conflict with the law, who are so often forgotten by the rest of society.
Who we are helping: Every year, 100 extremely marginalised street-connected girls are selected to undergo an intensive, ten-month rehabilitation process, aiming to get them off the streets and back into education, supported by their families. The girls are carefully selected – while their lives are chaotic and marked by violence and extreme poverty, the project also looks for signs of potential reintegration with family and community, to ensure the ten-month investment can result in long-lasting change. This means intensive work with the girls’ siblings, parents and wider community, as well as work in schools and with the juvenile justice system, to ensure a well-rounded approach to the girls’ protection and support.
Each year, 100 girls access the intensive ten-month rehabilitation process, where they learn essential life skills, catch up on their education and are prepared for mainstream schooling. Teenage mothers and young women at risk of becoming pregnant are enrolled in vocational skills training.
The girls’ siblings and parents are supported to access education, training or business opportunities, to improve the family income. The project helps them to understand the value of education, particularly girls’ education, and promotes a family environment that nurtures and protects the children.
Families living in extremely violent and harmful environments are given housing loans, so that they can move into safer and more protective settlements.
Teachers are trained on child rights and protection in schools leading to formation of new child rights clubs. Local Area Advisory Councils (LAAC) are trained on child rights, child protection, referral systems and best interest of the child to ensure strong systems in the local community to better protect the children.
Community awareness campaigns on child rights and protection reach many members of local communities in the slum settlements.
Children in conflict and in contact with the law are provided free legal representation. PKL supports the police, remand homes and court services to improve their services to children.
PKL’s success rate is very high. Each year, almost all the girls who complete the rehabilitation process successfully reintegrate with their families and enrol into formal primary schools. Children in schools, who participate in the child rights clubs, are more aware of their rights and are confident in challenging the violence and injustices they face. Family incomes increase and more time and money is spent investing in the protection and education of the children.
PKL, ChildHope UK, the University of Brighton and Overseas Development Institute completed a case study (funded by United Nations Girls Education Initiative and Comic Relief) which focused on the role of girls’ education in Pendekezo Letu’s Interventions in Nairobi. The aim of the research was to assess child protection interventions, including rehabilitation and integration of street-connected girls into education to help them to achieve positive futures. The report is currently being disseminated at a national and international level in order to inform policy, practice and academic discourse on working with marginalized and street connected children. Best practice and methodologies will also be shared with ChildHope’s partners and by the University of Brighton and ODI in academic and practitioner discourses worldwide. (link to UNGEI report)
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