Health is a major challenge in Africa. The chance of an African woman dying because of pregnancy and childbirth related complications and diseases are 20 times greater than in the United States. Furthermore, 75% of all HIV-positive women in the world are African. The slums and the rural areas lag behind in several key health indicators; only 50% of children under one year are fully immunized, 50% of patients at first outpatient visit are reporting to have Malaria while 17% of ante-natal mothers are HIV positive. Only 38% of households have access to clean water (source: KNBS 2009).
The doctor patient ratio is 1:91,000. There is need for concerted efforts to address these issues among the women of slums and the rural areas and this is one of SYN key priorities.
• Work closely with communities in the Slums and Rural areas including partnership with local authorities to improve access to health services for women by not only developing additional health facilities by providing and ensuring availability of adequate equipment, personnel and drugs to the people especially women.
• Increasing coverage of HIV prevention care and treatment services – bringing comprehensive care clinics to lower level facilities to reduce cost of accessing services to HIV positive residents
• Engage in health promotion and illness prevention activities including use of bed nets to prevent malaria, hand washing to reduce diarrheal diseases particularly among children, HIV testing and safer sex practices (within the context of marriage) to reduce HIV incidence. • Advocate against gender based violence and encourage access to medical and legal services for victims
• Promote sanitation programs that ensure access to pit latrines for all communities especially for communities particularly in the Slums.
• Ensure access to clean water for all households in slums and the rural areas. This will be done in partnership with the county water authorities and development partners that focus on access to water for communities.
• Promote programs that work towards environmental conservation including reforestation programs, community market clean-up programs and preservation of water bodies. Swahiba Youth Networks in partnership with Donor Community built the AO Medical Hospital in Bar Agulu, Siaya County to mitigate the stated health challenges in the area.
The staggering fact that more than two-thirds of Africa’s illiterate are women, girl child education is a high priority in SYN’s core objectives for Slums and Rural areas. This SYN continues achieve through strategic partnerships to establish a sponsorship fund for girls to support needy but bright girls living in Slums. SYN has partnered with Every Girl Counts – EGC to build Bright Hope Education Centre – BHEC High School to actualize the dream of quality High School education for girls from the Slums.
Currently 747 Teen girls from Eleven High Schools in Slums receive sanitary towels courtesy of the SYN Jitambue Clubs Programs. The lively discussion Forums between the girls and SYN counseling and advocacy team see many of their questions answered ranging from how to use the pads, how to access the pads and other Hygiene related concerns are addressed. The schools includes: Starrays Secondary School, St. Aloysius Gonzaga High School, Kibera Girls Soccer Secondary School, Kibra Academy, Mashimoni High School, New Horizon Secondary School, PCEA Silanga Secondary School, John Paul II Secondary School and Mashimoni Squatters Secondary School. The staggering fact that more than two-thirds of Africa’s illiterate are women, girl child education is a high priority in SYN’s core objectives for Slums and Rural areas. This SYN continues achieve through:
• Strategic partnerships to establish a sponsorship fund for girls to support needy but bright girls living within Slums and the Rural areas has been established through partnership with Every Girl Counts to build Bright Hope Education Centre to educate 65% Girls and 35% Boys through a scholarship program.
• Partnerships with Slums and the Rural areas education stakeholders to reward, mentor and motivate best academic performers and identify talent development opportunities for all students
• Encourage equity in distribution of sanitary towels to girl schools, and identify sources to supplement the sanitary towels such as the Bariki Binti Campaign to ensure all girls in need of sanitary towels access them.
• Support mentorship and role modeling programs aimed at motivating both young girls and boys. Even as SYN focus on the girl-child through Jitambue Clubs Program, SYN is conscious of the challenges that increasingly face the boy-child and is working towards establishing programs that focus primarily on the boy-child.
Poverty remains a key challenge in the Slums and Rural areas in relation to most parts of the country and the Counties have an average poverty rate of 44.1% (KIHS, 05/06). Swahiba Youth Networks – SYN economic Mentorship and Empowerment plan for Young People and Women of Slums and Rural areas is aimed at reducing this poverty level and therefore contributing towards MDG1 which is to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger. This SYN will do through:
1. Access to capital for business: Systematically mobilizing Young People and Women of Slums and Rural areas into groups from sub-location level and cooperatives at constituency level towards the common objective of economic empowerment and poverty alleviation
2. Liaising with credit institutions and donor agencies to give thorough education and increase coverage of credit facilities and grants to Young People and Women groups for sustainable businesses
3. Consistently advocate for creation of an enabling environment for Young People and Women in business including pushing for lower licensing rates.
4. Promote and advocate for and value addition and development policy around key economic activities that benefit Young People and Women including:
- Marketing and price regulation for produce from the Slums and Rural areas
- Scale-up, promotion and marketing of the Pottery/Craft industry in the Slums and Rural areas
- Value addition, promotion and marketing Farm and related produce in Slums and Rural areas
- Promote fish farming, processing, storage to increase the value of fish from Slums and Rural areas
- Value addition for farm produce in from the Slums and Rural areas and training to make complete products to maximize profits