This project is aimed at promoting the voices of young girls born with HIV through online media. The project will train 20 young girls between the age of 10-19 years on leadership skills and basic journalism skills. The girls will then take lead in writing their own stories to inspire, and advocate for their rights through social media. Their stories will be published on a common blog that the girls themselves will be in charge of updating. The stories will capture various issues at the community level which affects the girls either directly or indirectly.
What locality or neighborhood will your project focus on?
Describe the specific community with whom you will be working.
Adolescent girls born with HIV living in informal settlements of Nairobi live in deplorable conditions. They are a special group of children in families, schools and communities with special needs, thoughts and aspirations. They have lived in orphan hood and some have faced child abuse like sexual violence by those they trusted most. The effects of these experiences result in poor performance and anti social behavior in school. Most of them have no access to computers let alone internet. I want to work with them to enable them vent out their feelings to enable them fight self stigma and find self acceptance. Through their sharing to the online community, other people will get to know what girls born with HIV go through and perhaps replicate this in their communities.
What kinds of news, stories and other content will be created?
The participants will create peer reviewed articles sharing their fears, experiences, dreams and aspirations, challenges, uploading their photos and artwork. The content will be geared towards demystifying HIV as a disease and reducing stigma and discrimination within the online community. It will also be intended to capture advocacy issues such as gender based violence, sexual and reproductive health rights, treatment and care. The letting out of repressed emotions will relieve the girls off suffering and pain caused by some horrendous experiences. It will also help improve self esteem and confidence of these girls. The stories will then be published and shared through a common blog and website. Due to the nature of some experiences, some identities will be concealed.
What technologies and digital tools do you plan to use in the trainings?
Describe the connections that you or your organization have already established that will contribute to the success of the project.
We are collaborating with youth groups of young people living with HIV, the National Coordinating body for HIV programs in Kenya through the Constituency AIDS Control council. We work closely with local schools too on HIV prevention. The project is part of a wider project for reaching young people born with HIV by their peers. The guardians are also very supportive. The project has been self funded so far and has been able to mobilize 120 young girls living with HIV in the slums of Nairobi. The mobilization has been easier because of other organizations working with orphans and vulnerable children in the slums like Aphia plus USAID project.
How many participants do you think will be involved in your project?
The project will start by training 10 girls through a 12week program where they will meet every Saturday.Their writing and leadership skills will be enhanced through basic writing and editing skills, typesetting and leadership training. They will learn through sharing their own stories first and then will go out to collect stories from other girls during group therapies, pediatric sessions and create articles. The project will establish a community digital desk where the girls will be meeting to publish their articles with the support of a peer facilitator. The girls are part of children support groups that meet monthly to share and help each other on coping strategies. The girls will then be tasked to take lead in mentoring 10 others with guidance of peer facilitator and mentor.
Describe which technologies, tools, and media you will focus on when training participants.
The girls will be trained on how to tell their stories and create articles. The same girls will review their articles and the final review will be done by their facilitator. The girls will be trained on how to use the internet with examples on social media like where they can post how they feel or express themselves on face book and twitter. The facilitator will then help the girls to learn how to publish their articles onto the website and common blog. As the project organizer, I have been trained in pediatric HIV/AIDs counseling and OVC care. The peer facilitator who is a volunteer with the organization is a writer and has been writing articles that were previously published on magazines and newspapers.
Describe the facilities where you will hold the workshops.
The workshops will be conducted in local community schools classrooms an environment where the girls are used to. The schools are close to where the girls live and therefore it will not inconvenience them. The digital desk will be put up in a school where the girls can easily access it. This will give the girls an opportunity to use the facilities any time with permission and support from school administration. Each group of girls will have access to one laptop connected to a 3G internet speed modem. The space size will depend on the room provided by a school. Most schools got no electricity and if we can’t find two schools, we will find space alternatively from churches or local community halls or local organizations premises.
What is your current relationship with the community with whom you plan to work? What makes you the most appropriate individual or organization to implement this project?
I have been working with women living with HIV and orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) in the slums of Nairobi and Central Provinces for the last five years. I have been implementing mentor-ship and counseling programs with an organization that empowers women to fight stigma and discrimination in their communities. It’s through this work experience that I found gaps that needed to be addressed especially in dealing with adolescent girls living with HIV. With other volunteers, we have been conducting the Global IMPACT 4 Girls(G-IMPACT)program where we teach adolescent girls to use the principles of community based participatory Research to change something in their own communities. My background as a young girl has a lot in common so the girls identify with me.
What specific challenges do you expect to face when planning and implementing your project?
Our target group are school going children and we will have to do with the little free time the girls have away from school. We will however try to maximize the time we will have and also extend to the August holiday. Slums are high insecurity areas and we will have to work closely with locals to ensure safety. Stigma and fear may also hinder some of the girls from sharing their stories. Anonymity will be assured for such cases.
How will you measure and evaluate the project’s impact, specifically: your primary participants, the wider regional community, or the global digital community?
The project outcomes will be measured and evaluated through reviewing of articles written by the girls, interviews with peers, guardians and teachers who spend time with their girls most of the time, feedback reviews by readers of the blog, and regular progress meetings with the peer facilitator. The well being of the girls is what we wish to achieve at the end of it all. When the girls improve in school performance, self esteem and confidence and demonstrate acceptance of living with their HIV status, then we will have achieved our goal.
If your project were to be selected as a Rising Voices grantee, what would be the general timeline of project activities in 2013?
The project is expected to take 4 months beginning the first week of May 2013 where the peer facilitator will select the girls who will participate in the program five from each of the two slum sites Mathare and Korogocho. Due to the fact that the children are in school most of the time, the training, mentor-ship and counseling will take twelve weeks through to the end of July where training will take place every Saturday for 4 to 5 hours. During this time, they will learn to document stories and publish them as articles on the common blog which they will be supported to start by the facilitator and the coordinator. They will then update and maintain it with the support of the facilitator and coordinator. During the month of August when the girls will have closed school, they will be more engaged in mentoring other 10 girls they will have recruited from their peers.The first ten will then take lead for the continuation of their blog and recruiting of new participants.
Detail a specific budget of up to $4,000 USD for operating costs.
The project will purchase two laptops and a camera @USD1250, two 3G internet wireless modems @USD 50.Training materials and stationery @USD 150, Trainer facilitation fees @USD 620, Venue hire @USD 70. Training refreshments @ USD 250, Airtime@250, Coordinator allowance @800.Monitoring and evaluation costs @USD 260 Total USD 3700
Besides the microgrant funding, what other resources and support are you seeking for your project to ensure its success?
The Rising voices can help us publicize the Girls Community Digital desk blog by having a link on their website and sharing it in many other international forums. Being a young organization, technical support and institutional strengthening would be suitable.
Big Heart Organization