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Saturday, October 26, 2013

International Day of the Girl Child Celebration.

It’s been a while since “Sisterhood” was actively doing mentorship in Schools within Nairobi and its environs. This is majorly because your truly was back in class from May- October of this year and it proved quite a challenge balancing school work, full time employment and Sisterhood. Nonetheless I was still scribbling down thoughts and ideas especially to help build teenage girls self esteem and help them gain meaningful life skills. In all the deadlines and assignments, Sisterhood committed to celebrating the International Day of the Girl Child in style.

The International day of the Girl Child is an annual celebration marked on the 11th October. The day is an international observance day as declared by the United Nations in the year 2012.The observation supports more opportunity for girls, and increases awareness of inequality faced by girls worldwide based upon their gender. This inequality includes areas such as access to education, nutrition, legal rights, medical care, and protection from discrimination, violence and unfree child marriage and access to education among others.

Since the day is for the girl child, Sisterhood came up with an activity which is spearheaded by the girls and what better way to do so than to hold a debate intundem with this year’s theme which was 'Innovating for Girl's Education.' Sisterhood approached 4 schools within Nairobi namely; Ngara Girls High School, Arya Girls High School both in Nairobi’s Ngara area and Bahati Soweto and Bahati Mukuru both CC’s located in Nairobi’s informal settlement of Embakasi area. Each school was tasked to present 3 debaters who would present on innovative ways to ensure that more girls are able to access education not only in Kenya but within Africa and beyond. Each team (school) was also tasked to present on Manila paper the girls dreams, hopes and aspirations. The girls were encouraged to draw, paste pictures and write what they envision for themselves with no barriers in place. I believe that sometimes we are more visual and to assist those moments where you cannot be best able to articulate yourself visual diagrams always seem to go a long way. The fine arts which each school presented were the background of the debater’s podium.

It was very refreshing to hear the innovative solutions the girls came up with. Most of them identified that the current solutions are not working and hence it is obvious that newer solution must be incorporated to address the same. The girls called for reforms in the heavy taxes levied on sanitary towels which hinder many girls from being able to attend school every month during their menses for lack of adequate sanitary towels. It was also noted that campaigns that only provide sanitary towels are not effective especially in the Northern parts of the country where girls also lack proper inner wear. Strategies such as ‘panties for a purposes’ was called for. The girls also suggested that more mentorship programmes are needed to enable the girls to have good support structures and pillars of hope.

The debate generated a plenary discussion where all present participants to the event contributed towards brain storming on sustainable solutions to address the challenges faced by the girl child in Kenya. The judges who are all very passionate about gender development and who also work in the sector proved instrumental in steering the discussion.

As with all competition there must be a winner. Sisterhood is committed to inspire, support and encourage young teenagers and as such we found it prudent to have gifts of participation for all 12 debaters. Each contestant was presented with a certificate of participation, and a journal from the United religions Initiative and the Sema Kenya BBC program also presented t-shirts and wrist bands to the girls.

The first three debaters each got Bata Shoe School Vouchers donated by the United religions Initiative. The judges also made special mention to one of the debaters who came up with the most innovative solutions and was also presented with a school bag from URI. The BBC- Sema Kenya program also donated wrist bands to all 54 participants to the event.

All 54 participants were welcomed to refreshments after the event which took 2 hours. The event was held at the host school Ngara Girls in Nairobi from 2:00-4:00 pm on the 18th October 2013.

Sisterhood sincerely thanks all the people who made this day a great success and for making the girls matter!!


Valedictorian speech by Kate Kiama- 25th October 2013

Riara Law School

Good Afternoon ladies and gentlemen,

It is indeed a great privileged and honour to be appointed valedictorian of the first Pre-KSL class of 2013.

There is a story of a young, but earnest Zen student who approached his teacher, and asked the Master, “If I work very hard and diligently, how long will it take for me to find Zen? The Master thought about this, then replied, “Ten years . .” ?The student then said, “But what if I work very, very hard and really apply myself to learn fast — How long then?” “Well, twenty years.” Replied the Master. “But, if I really, really work at it, how long then?” asked the student. “Thirty years,” was the Master’s reply. “But, I do not understand,” said the disappointed student. “At each time that I say I will work harder, you say it will take me longer. Why do you say that?”?The Master’s reply is what am driving at-his response to his earnest Zen student was that  “When you have one eye on the goal, you only have one eye on the path.”

This is the dilemma we all faced when we enrolled as students at Riara Law School. We were all so focused on one goal-to get admitted to the Kenya School of Law. In this way we quite frankly we were only interested in doing whatever it takes in the shortest time possible to achieve our original objective. And here we are today…

As a class, we have definitely gone through more than we could have imagined possible in the last few months. Some more difficult to face than others. Yet we are seated here for a reason. We are here because we have all accomplished that original objective. But unlike the earnest Zen student, we soon discovered somewhere along the way that there is more to life than that one goal and more often not we have to have the  focus of  both of our eyes to achieve our goals.

So other than getting a step closer to finally undertake the Advocates training Program, our stay at Riara Law School has taught us valuable lessons which we are already using and will be for a long time. All of us can easily put Constitutional Experts to shame with our comprehensive, analytical and in-depth knowledge of Constitutional Law thanks to Mr.Kibet. Dr.Jackline Nyaga not only managed to teach us and remind us of Latin Maxims in Land Law, Company Law and Jurisprudence but was also able to really indoctrinate in us the importance of critical thinking not only for academic purposes but also for our general application in life as well. Ms Njogu’s meticulous eye for detail is a lesson we all learnt that makes the world of difference between being great and being exceptional; Mr. Wekesa reaffirmed that sometimes you will be required to step up your game for the greater good of others and you should do so with grace and equal zeal.

Every single student here has taught me something which I am taking away and I believe so are you. It is absolutely heartwarming to have gotten to know each one of you and it is quite a relief that even when we do get to KSL we have others to look up to, for support and encouragement and of course a good laugh to go the distance.

On behalf of all the Pre-KSL class of 2013, I’d like to sincerely thank all the lectures, staff and the entire Riara University fraternity for making our stay here as short as it was fruitful, eventful and purposeful. We’d sincerely like to acknowledge all the efforts by Ms Damaris and Professor Kangar’a who constantly sort better ways to make our stay here as comfortable and effective as achievable. I’d also like to thank all our parents, guardians, spouses and employers for bearing with us and accommodating us during the period we were here.

To all the Pre-KSL students, I wish each one of you happiness. It doesn't matter what your plans are, or what you consider to be "great things." Just remember that you can. You can try, you can fail, and you can try again. I have three last pieces of advice which I learnt from my father, a retired military man who is unfortunately is not with us today. - I have modified them to suite our purposes and they are self-explanatory. First to achieve your hearts desires, you must be disciplined. Secondly leave no lawyer behind and finally when the going gets tough, which it might sometimes, armor up.

Thank you for indulging me.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Call for Nomination of a young person (under 23) to join the independent Expert Review Group on Information and Accountability for Women’s and Children’s Health

In 2011, following a recommendation of the UN Commission on Information and Accountability for Women’s and Children’s Health, the World Health Organization (WHO) established a time-limited independent Expert Review Group (iERG) which will operate until 2015. Currently, the iERG is an 8-member group. In their 2013 Report to the UN Secretary General, the iERG members point to a gap in global and national accountability : Adolescent health is a neglected issue. In this spirit, the iERG requested the addition of a new member to represent adolescents in their group.
In order to address this request, WHO is soliciting nominations for a young person. Any person up to 25 years of age is considered a “young” person. However, in order to qualify, the person must be younger than 25 by end of 2015 (end of iERG mandate). Therefore, at the time of nomination the individual should not be older than 23 years of age and should represent an institution rather than herself or himself.
Self-nominations will not be considered. Individuals or organizations wishing to propose candidates are requested to submit nominations via the online form below by 31 October 2013.
The following should be submitted with the nomination:
• Letter of not more than 500 words describing the nominee's institutional membership, relevant knowledge, experience, and achievements
• Curriculum Vitae
• Signed WHO Declaration of Interest form
• Brief biographical sketch not exceeding 500 words
The selection committee will assess the nominees using the following criteria:
• Membership in a relevant institution
• Age (under 23)
• Demonstrated leadership among the youth groups
The iERG members are expected to exercise autonomous, professional judgment and serve in an independent capacity until the end of the mandate of iERG in 2015. If you have difficulties accessing or using the online form, please contact us at acc_commission

WORLD YOUTH FORUM-December 9-13, 2013 — Nairobi, Kenya

“Towards Global Youth Empowerment: Opportunities and Challenges”
December 9-13, 2013 — Nairobi, Kenya
The World Youth Forum is an annual convocation where youth and industry practitioners, policy makers, thought leaders and strategic partners, at the highest levels, gather to discuss issues, identify solutions and generally develop courses of action that will benefit the industries and global youth agendas.
Youth from several countries will make their contributions to the discussions. The forum is one of the vehicles through which World Youth Trust encourages the best and brightest to consider social-entrepreneurship as a career. The Forum will provide best case practices and winning strategies on a variety of topics on issues affecting youth and industries, all with a view toward the development of a sustainable global youth empowerment.
This is a not to be missed event for influencers, educators, industry leaders, marketing and development strategists.
Registration Open
Participation in this; global event is by invitation only and strictly limited to the criteria and quota of each stakeholder group.
If your application is accepted you are invited, you will receive the link to register with your invitation, which will be sent via the email you provide during application.
Who can apply?
  • Students, fresh graduates, young entrepreneurs, civil society leaders, community workers, researchers, junior professionals, artists, creative change makers who are between the ages of 18 and 35, and have a seed of an idea that they want to develop into a full-grown project.
  • Preference will be given to applicants who can demonstrate how this Program will directly benefit them, their community and their country.
  • Proficiency in English is required. If you are accepted you will be required to participate fully in the discussions and role-plays in English