I share this with you because I believe, You and I share a common belief – Belief that Women and Girls deserves equal rights and justice.
Throughout 2015, we have been in the fore-front in the battle-field fighting against Sexual and Gender Based Violence in Sub Saharan Africa through equipping and empowering communities and churches to help stop Violence Against Women and girls.
We Believe we have the trick to make Equality for Men and Women a reality… and this is our great passion and motivation!
As we end MDGs and begin a new era of Sustainable Development Goals, current reports on Sexual and Gender based Violence in Sub Saharan Africa is still worrying with negative trends of rape, sex trafficking, domestic violence, child marriage, female genital cutting and other forms of violence against women and girls despite huge grants from the West including; UNAID, USAID, UKAID, among others to fight Sexual and Gender Based Violence. These trends continue to violate and impoverish millions of women and girls.
As at now and as we celebrate Christmas with our families and loved ones, it is estimated that over 300 millions souls of women and girls in Sub-Saharan Africa are enslaved, their bodies being used for someone else’s gain. This number does not include those who have been raped, molested, coerced, compelled and forced into unwanted acts of sex. This is happening despite huge grants and resources mentioned above.
The main question we keep asking is; Why can’t we make meaning steps in ending Sexual Violence despite huge grants and resources available? What are the root causes of Violence Against Women and girls and how can we eliminate them? We need to search deeply and ask more questions in order to identify and challenge; – Cultural, Religious and Political gender stereotypes and philosophies that continue to feed Billions of human souls and minds around the world with seeds and ideas of inequality and violence against women and girls.
In this report, we have exciting news for 2015 and meaningful plan for 2016.We can only accomplish these with your help, coming together to show support for this work.
a) Youth Empowerment Program
i) Youth & Gender Equality Classes;
This year, through our Youths & Gender Equality Classes, we trained young adults in 18 public secondary Schools in Kenya (approx. 24,000 students both males and females), between the age 12-22 on correct Biblical understanding of equality. Through six weeks Bible Study Classes, we equipped young adults with Knowledge and skills on equality, i.e to understand basic truth to Love, Respect and Value each other as God’s image bearer regardless of being female or male. In these classes, we explored and exposed cultural, religious, political and economic challenges against women and girls and how we can overcome them. Through these classes, we also identified wrong cultural and religious beliefs common in local churches and communities regarding males and females dignity, worth and equality, and how some these teachings are fueling attitudes of violence and abuse against women.
Here is part of impact survey we carried out in two schools in our program, ‘Youth & Gender Equality’ from Nyamira Girls High School and Kapiyo Mixed Secondary School through asking questions on the impact in their lives, before gender classes and after. This survey was done on June 11th 2015, and the following were their responses;
Julia, form iv female student, 17 years old from Nyamira Girls:
“I used to go church at Nomiya Luo Sabbath Church, and in that church women are not recognized and permitted to be church leaders and even to read the bible because they are perceived to be dirty due to monthly blood cycle and that women are unwise like Eve; with Genesis story of creation that Eve betrayed Adam in the Garden of Eden by eating and giving Adam forbidden fruit that brought sin into the world”
“Because of ‘Youth & Gender classes’ in the school, I learnt basic truth of the bible on gender, and how misinterpretation is misleading many women to hate and not believe of themselves. I decided to look for another church and currently I’m attending a Pentecostal Church called, Jesus Worship Center. This Church too has little bias on women leadership, but is better in many ways…”
Lydia, form iii female student, 17 years old from Nyamira Girls:
“growing up as a child until recently when I attended EFOGE biblical gender lessons, I did not know and imagine equality between my father and mother. My mother did not go to school while my father did, my mother cannot find any job while my father is employed and working, being the family breadwinner, my mother cannot question authority of my father even when he is openly on the wrong side. Which equality can you expect or think about in this situation? My mother gave birth to all girls (six) and my father married a second wife because he wanted a male child. When my step mother gave birth to a baby boy, there was huge celebration and I knew the BIG difference – I’m not equal in any way to my step brother. As girls, we are always treated with less dignity compared to our male brothers and friends and even educating us is a hard choice…”
“Lessons taught by EFOGE about my value and dignity as equal human being is good news. I did not choose to be a girl but God did. This teaching and affirmation of equal worth of girls and boys from the bible is good news for my life. In EFOGE gender classes, I always feel worthy and recognized a full human being. I don’t know why women are so much discriminated against but thanks to EFOGE for telling us about God’s love…”
We also did survey with two students from Kapiyo Mixed Secondary School, Michael and Grace on June 30th, 2015 about impact of EFOGE gender lessons and here are the responses;
Michael, form iii male student, 16 year old from Kapiyo Mixed:
“Growing up as a boy and many word spoken in reference to me for being a male child elevates my self-worth and confidence. This is always not done/said to my sisters and girlfriends I know. Through literatures, songs, proverbs and sayings, boys are treated as breadwinners, strong defenders, lions, and pillars of homes, wise and capable of taking charge of great tasks. Growing within this context and hearing/learning what is going on, you automatically behave the same”
“Attending Biblical lessons in school here has helped me to understand why there is gap between boys and girls, women which to me is socially constructed by my society and not God. I’ve learnt that God created both male and female equal and given the same dominion to work together, side by side in all things. I’ve learned to respect my sisters and fellow female students in school and live together as equal human beings. When I get married in future, I will respect and love my wife as equal partner”.
Grace, form three female student, 16 years old from Kapiyo Mixed:
“Ever since, I knew that God created men above women with super wisdom and power. In my late years, I’ve never been a fan of the church because I was convinced that God created males to be superior while females are lesser and inferior human beings. My best enemy has been the bible and God and I hated this God who create me female…In my village, men have more privileges than women…. At the age of 12, I realized what it means to be a woman and I hated being a woman. This is the story ‘I go to the same school with my brother who is in form two. After school in the evening, I do a lot of house hold work compared to my brother, i.e collecting water from the pond in the evening after school, collecting fire wood, preparing super, washing dishes, etc. while my brother would only do milking, care for animals and go to his own room for school assignments. However much I try to compete with him academically, I cannot match him. In my community, boys are culturally not allowed in the kitchen or to cook or do other house hold duties because they will be vied as cowards or womanly”
In 2016, we hope to increase 5 more schools with additional 6,000 students in this program. We need $ $ 5,800 per school for the whole year’s training. Will you consider partnering with us on this to bring more circle breaker on Gender Equality?
ii) At Risk Girls – Back to School Scholarship Plan;
In the same Youth Empowerment Program, we identified and rescued few “at risk girls” in the community by supporting their education through “back to school scholarship plan” creating safe space for which these girls can speak out about their experiences of sexual violence, reconcile with self and society and reconstruct their lives with Love, Hope and Forgiveness. Majority of these girls and women have been sexually abused, and denied educate, at times for arrange early marriages with pride price and dowry payment.
In 2016, we hope to recruit more other 10 such girls and women in this program. You can choose to support or sponsor one girl at $550 for the whole year. You can choose to support one such girl!
b) Leadership Training
i) In partnership with Tearfund UK, we managed to engage and train 150 church leaders including Bishops and community elders from Masai, Kuria, Kissii, Meru, Kikuyu and Luo on from FGM/C and how the church and community elders can come together and help end it. Female Genital Cutting is a cultural practice rampant among many communities in Kenya and Africa. It involves total or partial removal of female genitalia for no medical purpose which crude and unhygienic weapons. FGM causes, deep pain and sometimes bleeding to death, early marriages and dire consequence during birth/delivery.
ii) In partnership with CBE International from USA, we organized and coordinated a day’s ‘Public Lecture Meeting’ in Bondo Kenya that brought together over 200 community and religious leaders, theologians and lecturers on the topic ‘Dowry and Bride Price as a Cultural and Religious Practice in Africa – Its Merits and Demerits’ Through this meeting, leaders were engaged and debated on cultural and religious practice that continue to devalue women and girls and how the church can help transform them.
iii) In partnership with Stronger Than Espresso (STE) and Ambassadors Alliance International, (AAI) from USA, we trained and issued certificates to over 80 church and community leaders from Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and South Sudan and 40 Students from St. Paul’s University on Domestic Violence. The training was done in Nairobi, Kenya. Currently, we are piloting two classes (4 weeks training) in Bondo, Kenya with local churches, St. Andrews Church Nyawita and St. Peters Church Nyamira.
In 2016-17, we pray and hope to do more trainings with community and religious leaders on gender equality. We pray to conduct research Study of on the ‘Trends and Effects of Gender Based Violence among Christian families in Eastern Africa’. We also hope to train church leaders and implement World Vision Channels of Hope Gender Curriculum in East Africa. We hope to scale up Domestic Violence classes in Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda, and organize a day’s public lecture on ‘Truth Be told!’.
c) Sustainable Building Project
We are currently building “EFOGE Gender Center” as a sustainable building project that would generate income to support and fund EFOGE projects and activities in the years to come. This project is a building with six units/spaces in which four spaces will be rented out to earn income for EFOGE future activities. One space will be used as office space from which all EFOGE activities in Kenya and East Africa will be coordinated and the remaining one space will be occupied by the family of Rev. Domnic Misolo who is the founder and president of EFOGE. In summary, when completed this proposed building project will earn us/EFOGE approximately $9,000 annually from four spaces that will be rented out plus the office space from which all EFOGE activities will be coordinated and family unit for the Rev. Domnic Misolo.
The total amount of money needed to complete this building is $ 51,000. In January 2015, EFOGE secured $34,000 from two US foundations, African Road and Imago Dei Fund each gave $17,000 towards this project. During my recent visit to US (October, 2015) I also raised $ 3,000 from individual donors towards this project and now we still need $14,000 for its completion.
Because of you, our passion on how this work remains sensitive and clear. You can support our work by becoming monthly donor or just by giving one time support and receive tax deductible receipt.
Give your End year Gift, Donate Now!
Ekklesia Foundation for Gender Education (EFOGE) is a registered Non Profit Organization in Kenya working within East Africa to empower Women and Girls through: Gender Empowerment Program; Research & Advocacy; and Youth Empowerment Program.
We have Board of Management with audited annual reports for transparency and accountability.
The Rev. Domnic Misolo
Co-Founder & Executive Director
For details on partnership, you can reach me at – director(at)efogeinternational.org