regarding the well-being of girls – so I’m writing from the end to the beginning.
West Pokot county, Kenya
This volunteer work takes place in West Pokot. A non-touristy and beautiful area, home to the Pokot tribe.
It is a non-commercial but also a not yet organized type of volunteering. That is, you will be the first (suitable for volunteers of both sexes).
That means there is no pampering volunteer house waiting for you, but there is an amazing adventure to be had. There is an acquaintance with the tribe in remote areas where there are no schools or clinics, where tourists do not reach, where they will not try to sell you anything.
What kind of volunteer work?
🌿 Education and training in areas such as:
🌿 Working with girls inside and outside schools.
🌿 Giving trainings in agriculture and environmental development
🌿 Giving trainings on health issues – hygiene, family health, nutrition.
🌿 Mentoring girls on menstruation and avoiding unwanted pregnancy.
🌿 Website design and promotion – help with the design and upgrade of the organization’s website and the fundraising system on the website, and online promotion. Invaluable help right now.
Volunteering is done in villages close to Kapenguria town, in schools around the area (mostly boarding schools for girls and boys who come from remote villages), and also reaching very remote villages where the Pokot still live in the traditional way.
The organization- I_REP is a community based organization. Organization of people from inside the tribe who dedicate their lives to creating change for the future. Especially when it comes to the well-being of girls and young women.
Domtila Chesang a young Pokot woman is dedicating her life to change the course of life of young girls, and their families too. I will write more about her story soon.
Domtila and her team are working to stop the FGM * tribal custom. Preventing Child Marriages. Provide protection for high risk girls, but also support community development in places where it is impossible to talk about changing customs before supporting in broader issues.
Therefore volunteering is also suitable for men and not just women.
What is FGM ?
*FGM = FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION
A cultural custom that includes the cutting of the external female sex organs. Practiced alongside men circumcision, in the eyes of many it’s still considered totally expectable. Practically, of course, there is no comparison. Beyond the impairment of sexual pleasure, women who have undergone FGM (almost 100% in the remote areas) face grave dangers when giving birth.
Personally, FGM horrifies me. As an outsider to the culture I would not even consider voicing my opinion in the villages, as I do not know the culture and have no right to intervene. This is my opinion. That is why I was so happy to hear that there is an organization coming from inside the community that is working for change.
The subject is very well known in Africa but very shocking to us westerns naturally. It is also important to understand that many girls insist to go through FGM. The custom indicates the transition from girl to woman, and they want that recognition. That’s why most of the work is educational- to offer them more possibilities that might make them choose against going through FGM.
Unlike wealthy external organizations operating in Africa, this organization is very limited in resources, but in my view they have much more power to bring change.
Kenya, like other countries in Africa has banned FGM, but in remote places like West Pokot it is very difficult to enforce even where there is a will.
Again, most of the volunteering is in broad-based subjects. Domtila Chesang, as a Pokot, talks about eradicating FGM with the women and girls. She is a part of their tribe, so she has the ability to open up the subject. She herself objected to over go FGM, and from her personal experience devotes her life to changing the custom among the tribe.
I spent about a week there which was an unforgettable adventure. And I’m happy to pass on the opportunity. As a women and girls educator in Israel, I traveled with Domtila and her team to remote villages, and also to schools closer to town and talked to girls about menstruation, avoiding unwanted pregnancies, and in general about women empowerment and their power to bring change for their daughters and community as a whole.
Talk to Domtila Chesang about all the details.
Whatsup +254 713 595 732
***Volunteering is suitable for those who are willing to finance travel, accommodation, and daily needs. But on the other hand – unlike other volunteer projects, you will not have to pay any money just for the opportunity to volunteer.