Ngong Road Children’s Association (NRCA), a partner of the AAYMCA, is an organization that provides education and support for children and youth living in poverty whose families are affected by HIV/AIDS.
The aim of the Train-the-Trainer session was to equip vibrant and knowledgeable youth from NRCA with the know-how to tackle SRHR issues among youth at NRCA, as well as to facilitate these sessions in a youth club. The training session was a collaborative activity with facilitators comprised of a mix of volunteers and staff from Kenya YMCA and AAYMCA. The team consisted of Mary Njoki (Thika YMCA), Clement Phiri (Shauri Moyo YMCA), Makau Jonah (Shauri Moyo YMCA) and Caroline Hagen (AAYMCA). The trainers are all S2C ambassadors, except for Caroline who works with SRHR at AAYMCA on a regular basis. The program of the training was developed with principles and ideas from the YMCA Hi-Y clubs, the Subject 2 Citizen philosophy and general SRHR training.
From 400 beneficiaries of NRCA’s program, 15 youth were chosen to go through the training; 11 females and 4 males. The participants are all post-secondary students, and ranged between 18-22 years. They are all outstanding students, coming from vulnerable communities around Nairobi.
The five-day training was a combination of several team-building activities, games, and technical trainings of SRHR and how to start a youth club. The participants were taught, amongst other key learning, on “what makes a good facilitator”, “how to create a safe space” and leadership skills. The participants agreed that issues that affect young people and stop them from becoming active citizens in the society include: unemployment, drug abuse, early marriages, early pregnancies, abortion, STIs/HIV/AIDS, unhealthy relationships, poverty and lack of opportunities. Through discussing the various issues, the participants were further provided with the opportunity to discuss possible solutions to these issues within their communities, and how they would grasp the topic in a future youth club.
The SRHR training focused around issues of STIs, Sexual and Gender Based Violence, sponsors, and family planning. A long-time partner of the YMCA is Family Health Options Kenya (FHOK), who came to facilitate the session on Family Planning, with a demonstration of materials. In addition to the technical training on SRHR issues, a session of a “Human Library” was set up during the last day of training. The aim of “Human Library” is not only to spread knowledge and educate participants on SRHR issues, but to spread awareness of sensitive issues: to put a “face” on issues that often are subject to myths, prejudice and stereotyping. The idea is that “books” are people, and “reading” is a conversation between people. It is a safe space and an arena for people to ask questions to the “book” on what it is like to live or have experience with a certain issue. Resources on SGBV were provided to the participants.
The five-day training ended with the participants making a specific plan for the youth club. Feedback received after training by participants was great and gives us hope that the youth are empowered to be agents of change for their fellow youth in their communities.