The Girls’ Safe Spaces and Savings program is a grassroots adolescent mentorship program born from the need to tackle the rising needs faced by today’s youth including early pregnancy, high school drop outs, drug and substance abuse, prostitution and general hopelessness.
WEMIHS, Population Council and HOW partnered for the purpose of addressing issues plaguing the youth by creating awareness through increased access to information and services to girls and ensuring the positive engagement of girls so as to reduce their vulnerability.
The program uses the mentorship approach of skill transfer whereby 35 youth girls drawn from vulnerable backgrounds are trained by WEMIHS on life, health and savings skills; upon training completion, the girls undertake the mentorship role mentoring younger girls from similar backgrounds in a bid to not only share their knowledge but also to reduce their vulnerability. In working with mentors aged 20-30 years, this approach bridges the generational gap between the girls while creating safe space for girls to dialogue and learn from each other.
Targeting a total of 1600 vulnerable at risk girls in Thika, this program is unique in that it reaches transitioning youth while simultaneously supporting at risk adolescent girls.
Targeting a total of 1600 vulnerable at risk girls in Thika, this program is unique in that it reaches transitioning youth while simultaneously supporting at risk adolescent girls. As of February, 2014, the program has reached about 1000 vulnerable girls across Thika in Weiteithie, Makongeni, Igegania, Gatuanyaga, Kiandutu/ Athena and Coffee Plantation areas.
The interactive mentorship program has seen encouraging improvement in the vulnerable girl’s behavior, self-esteem, decision-making, hygiene, savings skills and even school performance as reported by mentors, teachers and parents. Additionally, it can be replicated conveniently at low cost.