Over the recent festive period the Safari Collection kindly donated $10 for each guest staying at Giraffe Manor, Sasaab, Sala’s Camp and Solio Lodge to fund a Team Talk project to be held in April 2017 in Samburu.
Team Talk is an innovative project designed to encourage the empowerment of girls in rural Kenyan schools, and considerably improve health and sexual education using sport and interactive workshops as a vehicle. There is a strong need for programmes of this nature in Kenya and The Safari Collection has partnered with the Tag Rugby Trust (TRT) for 5 years on this project to improve girls’ lives in rural areas of Kenya where we work. This project was a collaboration between The Safari Collection, SAFE Samburu and TRT.
SAFE Samburu is an organisation working in Samburu to reduce the high rates of FGM (female genital mutilation), raise awareness about HIV and to help promote Samburu culture in a rapidly modernising world. It is community led and uses performance art to engender change and promote debate. TRT uses a community-focused approach to facilitate participation in rugby and donates equipment and trainers to achieve this aim.
Why is there a need?
FGM is a traditional cultural practice in many pastoral communities in Northern Kenya. In Samburu close to 100% of young girls undergo this procedure in their teens in order to be able to pass into womanhood and be able to marry. 66% of Kenyan high school boys and girls are sexually active, 50% of those have had sex more than once, and 40% with multiple partners. This results in high incidences of pregnancy, abortion, and STI’s including HIV.
Four coaches from TRT (Rosie, Brian, Morris and Humphrey) joined two educational officers from SAFE Samburu (Veronica and Francis) at Sasaab. The lodge also provided meals and vehicles for transport to and from the different schools each day.
The aim through the one week project was for 150 of the students at the three primary schools closest to Sasaab (Westgate, Kiltimany and Ngutuk) to have fun, learn to play a new sport, and most importantly to study a curriculum focusing on FGM, HIV awareness and child’s rights led by the facilitators from the SAFE Samburu organisation.
The project visited each of the schools three times and on each day held tag rugby training followed by an education session in the classroom on one of the three topics on the syllabus. None of the students taking part had played the sport before and so it is was ideal choice for breaking down gender barriers between boys and girls who play together, unlike other sports in Kenya. At each school we also trained two teachers as coaches so they can continue playing in the future. The education sessions were held by Francis and Veronica who are both Samburu and from Westgate (Veronica went to Westgate School!), as well as being experienced educators.
At the end of the week we brought all the children together and the best participants from the earlier days were formed into eights teams for a final day tournament held at Westgate School. The community and students watched the tournament come to a head as Westgate played Ngutuk in the final cheered on by an energetic home crowd who celebrated enthusiastically when the home team was victorious at the final whistle.
Following the tournament final the entire SAFE Samburu team of 10 came together to perform their routine to the community and students putting on 3 short theatre pieces to audience on the topics of HIV and FGM and bring a close to a very successful week.
A big thanks to:
The staff, pupils and teachers of Westgate School, Ngutuk School and Kiltamany School
The TRT coaches Humphrey, Rosie, Brian and Morris who were amazing throughout the week
Veronica and Francis from SAFE Samburu who provided the children with brilliant education sessions and led the performance to the community on the final day
All our guests who stayed at The Safari Collection’s four properties over Christmas and New Year 2016 making this project possible
Westgate Community Conservancy for kindly waiving conservation fees for our team
For more information on tax-free donating or assisting with any of our projects please contact our Conservation & Community Manager using [email protected]