My name is Joan Chekwemboi. I am a 17 year old living in Kaptum sub county, Kween district with my parents and siblings. I am currently a Senior four vacist and my dream is to become a nurse.
For the past six months, together with other girls and boys from Kaptum sub county, we have been part of a mentorship programme that empowers girls and boys to develop their own campaigns and initiatives to challenge the harmful cultural practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and Child /Forced marriage (CFM) in their communities.
Under the “Catalysing a New Generation of Activists to Challenge Female Genital Mutilation(FGM), Child and Forced Marriage” project, we were selected to participate in the mentor- mentee learning trainings organized by NAWOU funded by Womankind Worldwide. One of the strategies to create awareness and advocacy that is community based is drama. We have been able to organize and conduct series of educational plays, poems and song presentations to our peers about early marriage, FGM and other harmful traditional practices that affect girls and women.
Early marriage, FGM and other harmful traditional practices were among the most prevalent practices in our community, however now, because of the continuous education and awareness raising events our groups hold, the mind-set of the community is significantly reducing. Recently, we presented two dramas on 28th and 29th January in Kaptum and Binyiny to district officials, local leaders and our parents to encourage them to support us as we take active steps to enact new norms that challenge FGM and CEFM.
Since I started participating in the mentorship program, I understand the most common harmful traditional practices in my community better and I am committed to raising more awareness among youth and other community members especially my fellow girls.
NAWOU through our mentors has been providing us with regular trainings, educational and promotional material support that enables us to prepare different educational messages that we disseminate to adolescents and other community members.