ePeer News  

ePeer News

   

ePeer News  is an online bulletin by the National Organization of Peer Educators highlighting the activities and projects that are implemented by NOPE in the Country.

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The Fingerprints of the National Organization of Peer Educators (NOPE) in HIV prevention

The National Organization of Peer Educators is commonly known as “NOPE (pronounced as nohpé)”. The organization has commanded respect from peers and partners in Peer Education since its inception 16 years ago. It has touched thousands of lives and contributed significantly in the war against HIV and AIDS in Kenya and the East Africa Region. NOPE largely operates on 3 broad strategic pillars: Health Policy and Services, Livelihoods and Economic Empowerment and Growth and Development in 12 satellite offices across the Country.
 
The First Lady of the Republic of Kenya H.E Margaret Kenyatta at the NOPE booth during the Bi-annual International Conference on Sexuality, Peer Education HIV & AIDS.
NOPE, in partnership with Interchurch Medical Assistance (IMA World Health) and other organizations, is implementing the USAID-funded Afya Jijini project, which aims at “Improving County-level Institutional Capacity and Manage Health Service Delivery”. This project is sequel to the APHIA Plus Nairobi, that seeks to have an improved, healthier and dignified life for young women and adolescent girls under the Determined, Resilient, Empowered, AIDS free, Mentored and Safe (DREAMS) initiative in Mukuru.

NOPE has been a partner in several other projects including: the USAID-funded HOPE project in 400 schools, the Global Fund R7 program, the CDC-funded New Partnership Initiative – Scaling up HIV and AIDS program (NPI-SHAP) and Responding to AIDS among the Youth (RAY).

Another project is the European funded Wezesha Jamii which aims at enhancing socio-economic empowerment of poor and vulnerable urban women, who depend on the informal economy in Nairobi.

In the Coastal region, NOPE is seeking to enhance Civil Society Organizations (CSO) and citizens’ participation in governance in Kwale, Kilifi, Tana River and Mombasa counties. The LINKAGES Project is particularly keen to have the Men who have Sex with Men (MSM) and Female Sex Workers (FSW) and their clients receive a comprehensive package of health services in Kiambu, Machakos and Kitui. In Bomet County, the Sex Workers are benefiting from key health services and behavioral interventions of which are being scaled up to Kericho under the Global Fund New Funding Mechanism (GFNFM).

Regionally, NOPE is currently implementing the Cross-Border Health Integrated Partnership Project (CB-HIPP) in conjunction with FHI360 at the wet and dry borders of Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi.

Left; NOPE  M&E manager Peter Njuguna explaining to Wezesha Jamii Project beneficiaries the importance of ICT. This will assist the women to market themselves and  their business through social media platforms such as twitter and facebook. Right; Women at a recent Wezesha Jamii project Meeting discussing issues that affect them.
Global Fund New Funding Model
Since March, 2015, the National Organization of Peer Educators (NOPE), in partnership with the Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS) has been implementing the Global Fund Project in Bomet County.
The overall goal of the Project is to contribute to achieving Vision 2030 through universal access to comprehensive HIV prevention, treatment and care for all. These will immensely contribute to Bomet County AIDS Strategic Plan By 2019, reducing new HIV infections by 75% and reducing AIDS related mortality by 25% by 2019.
 
Through close partnership, NOPE has had an excellent working relationship with Bomet County Government through active participation in the implementation of the project.The project is being run in  Bomet Central, Bomet East, Sotik and Konoin Sub-Counties in 8 health facilities and 14 dispensaries in 22 Community units spread across the four Sub-Counties.
 
 
Module 1: Prevention programs for the General Population
NOPE is implementing the SHUGA intervention, which targets youth between 15 to 24 years. The intervention seeks to increase the risk perception among youth to HIV infection, increase uptake of HIV testing and counselling services, increase knowledge of HIV prevention strategies, including partner reduction and medical male circumcision (MMC).
 
20 Youth SHUGA Facilitators have been identified and trained.  NOPE has been able to reach a population of 7841 Youths with HIV Testing and Counselling and Provision of HIV prevention messages.
 
Module 2: Prevention programs for Female Sex Workers (FSWs) and their clients
 
Bio-medical: Includes medical approaches to block infection, decrease infectiousness or reduce infection risk. This was done through STI screening, HIV testing and counseling, referral for care and treatment, family planning and cervical cancer screening to FSWs during hotspot based outreaches.

During the implementation period, NOPE was able to reach and maintain a cohort of 901 FSWs with the minimum package of service in Sotik and Konoin Sub Counties.

 

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AGYW participation in community events help sensitize fellow girls on ways to stay safe by actively getting involved in peer group activities which reduces their risks to HIV and violence
 
Today, DREAM girls in Kagan are considered ambassadors of change as the number of youths seeking informed medical information and access to commodities like condoms and other forms of contraceptives is constantly on the rise.

The actual number of beneficiaries to the “Tell a friend” initiative cannot be accurately recorded but with its initial impact of 73 persons (not AGYWs) tested its effects keep resonating with the DREAM girls who report time and again that they have found a way of sharing their DREAMS journey with their close friends in schools, churches and largely in their villages.

 

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 “And the Candle Gets Ignited”
On a sunny morning in 1994, in a small village of Gul- Kagembe in Upper Kajulu ward, East Gem   in Rangwe sub-county in the larger Homa-Bay County a child was born. The first born child in a family of five children, three girls and two boys. Brenda Grace Awii grew up being appreciated by her peasant parents whose joy was evident in the way they would treat her despite their economic station from the meager income.
Brenda seated in black sweater as she   follows keenly on his co-facilitator during a session at Jola to Ajoli safe space
Grace was enrolled in a local village school joining class one up to class eight at Nyandiwa primary.  She sat for her KCPE exams and passed well but due to lack of school fees as a result of unstable income, the parents were unable to secure her form one place at the prestigious Asumbi Girls’ High School. A helping  came by through a Good Samaritan, a cousin and she got form one placement in a local Day secondary school where she successfully sat for her “O” level exams at Karapondi secondary managing a grade C-. Before she could get her KCPE results, the quarrel hand of death as a result of HIV/AIDS robbed the young Brenda her father. This marked the beginning of a rough journey for this young adult. 
 

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The Silver Lining for Domestic Workers in Kenya
My name is Claris Luora Atieno, 36 Years old and a mother of two girls aged 14 and 9 years old, living in Mashimoni village in Mathare . I am the sole provider for my family after separating with my husband. The separation was due to an abusive marriage. I struggle with odd jobs such as domestic work to provide the basic needs for my family.”

“For the past six years, I have been moving from Mashimoni village in Mathare, Mabatini ward to Eastleigh to wash people’s clothes to get money to pay my rent, buy food for my children and pay their school fees. Life was very difficult since sometimes I could not get work even after spending the whole day seated by the road side, where most women like me go to wait for clients to offer them daily jobs.”

As the saying goes, “every cloud has a silver lining,”  “hope was brought back to my life through the Wezesha Jamii Project by National Organization of Peer Educators (NOPE). “When the Wezesha Jamii project was introduced to me by NOPE in October 2015, I was very excited and took up the initiative to mobilize fellow women who are domestic workers to join the project. I felt that the project was going to empower us on knowing our rights as domestic workers.” She said.
Claris busy tailoring a piece of cloth. She has set up her tailoring shop in her house
 
The Wezesha Jamii Project targets 30,000 women domestic workers and small scale traders in Nairobi city informal settlements. Mukuru, Kibera, Korogocho, Mathare,  and Kawangware.
Over the years, she has been a community champion. In many occasions, she has been involved in community mobilization. She has inspired many and aims at joining politics and vying for the Member of County Assembly (MCA) in Nairobi. She hopes that her work in the community will give her a head start since she is well known by her community members, and believes that she will be able to highlight the many issues faced by her community especially the domestic workers.

 

 

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Health Care worker having a session with  students
 
A group photo of Kenya First Lady, H.E Margaret Kenyatta with NOPE employees during the 7th Bi-annual International Conference on Sexuality, Peer Education HIV & AIDS at KICC Nairobi
Lastly, the Bi-annual International Conference on Sexuality, Peer Education HIV & AIDS attracts participation of the global players (Development partners, academics, programmers, health researchers, Peer Educators, private sector, Governments, PLHIV, Key population and other stakeholders). This offers a platform for NOPE to share its activities and lessons to stakeholders.

The conference is major advocacy forum to highlight emerging issues and lessons learnt from interventions regarding Behavioral, Bio-Medical and Structural programs. The philosophy is that everyone counts and should be able to lead a dignified life, access quality services and contribute meaningfully to oneself and to humanity at large.

 

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Module 3: Elimination/Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission of HIV
NOPE referred 1041 mothers who have been attending at least 4 ANC visits of which 693 have delivered at the health facility with four ANC visits. NOPE reported 1466 skilled deliveries within the last reporting period.
 
The main aim of this module is to increase access to HIV prevention, care and treatment services as well as coverage of key population so as reduce HIV burden among FSW & MSM and their clients. Through Peer Education, the combined prevention approach, operates within the following thematic levels:
Structural intervention: Reduces vulnerability arising from risky contexts.

Behavioral: Increases knowledge and skills in HIV prevention, in changing attitudes and motivating individuals to adopt healthier behavior. Decrease in number of sex partners, increase in protected sexual encounters, encourage adherence to bio-medicals and decrease in substance abuse.

 
Module 4: Treatment, Care and Support
This module uses the Community Strategy approach whereby community health volunteers conduct home visits to people living with HVI for provision of Home and Community Based Care.  NOPE has reached and maintain a cohort of 2000 PLHIV. This has yielded improved treatment adherence and retention on ART for the PLHIV being followed up through home visits. This has also enhanced treatment literacy and patient support mechanisms through home visits.
 
 

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Adolescent Girls and Young Women (AGYW) enrolled into Dreams
The Adolescent Girl and Young Women (AGYW) pictured above practices her facilitation skills with her peers at the safe space. She now teaches other girls in her village how to be safe from HIV and violence
 
As DREAMS Evidence Based Interventions kicked off in June  2016, the Adolescent Girls and Young Women (AGYW) aged 20-24 requested  the Facilitators for SHUGA to find a way through which  (SHUGA messages) could be echoed far and beyond. The young women requested to have a meeting in the subsequent session with the Ward Coordinator and it is at this sitting that the birth of “Tell a Friend” was envisaged.
After deliberation with the AGYW to find ways of making this information reach their counterparts in the village, the Ward Coordinator posed a question to the persons in attendance. “I wanted to find out how many AGYW who had attended the previous session had the opportunity to at least discuss Sexual Reproductive Health with one person and the outcome of the talk if at all it took place.”  Only one girl had done so and the brevity of her response suggested she had not gathered much information to command such Sexual Reproductive Health topics with her peers. The next question raised was on continuity of sharing this information long after DREAMS. With these two questions,  the AGYW attributed the need to collect facts foremost was important to passing correct information to the girls in the community.

The multiplier effect (1 by 3, 3 by 3, and 9 by 3….) was demonstrated practically to the AGYW but this had to be done only after the AGYW complete their EBI sessions and had internalized Myths Vs Facts about SRH and other biomedical associated interventions.

Participants during the “Tell a Friend” forum
 
 
“Tell a Friend” is walking with each and every girl associated with DREAM GIRLS.
 

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Brenda thanks  the  DREAMS  project  for  enlightening and she  tells  other AGYW that  if she   had  the  teaching  before,  she  couldn’t  have  messed  herself. , She  adds that  she  has  been  able  to  secure  her  own shelter through the  little  facilitation  allowances  she gets  from the Lip(NOPE)  and  prays  that  through DREAMS she  will  attain  her  dreams  joining Asumbi  Teachers  Training College and  become a  teacher. “I  thought  my candle  had  gone  off but here again  through DREAMS  it has ignited again  and  there is  a lot of light” Brenda said    as  she  smiled. Indeed, a dream for this young adult is becoming a reality.
 Lucky Brenda(3rd left) meeting with NOPE CEO Mr. Philip Waweru (2nd left) and the Director program Mr. Alfayo Wamburi (centre) during the site visit at Jola To Ajoli Safe Space
 

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Wezesha Jamii is a four years European funded project aimed at promoting livelihoods and inclusion of vulnerable female domestic workers and female small-scale traders. It aims to enhance the social-economic empowerment of poor women dependent on the informal economic in Nairobi.

The project will contribute to elimination of poverty and social exclusion of marginalised women within the  informal economy in Nairobi urbabn informal settlements by investing in raising livelihood opportunities and access to social services of two vulnerable groups: Women donmestic workers and small traders.

Claris at a public forum discussing issues that affect residents of Mashimoni village in Mathare Nairobi
The Wezesha Jamii project empowers women like Claris (Domestic Workers) to be self-dependent, food secured, to network and also empowers them in reproductive health. Claris got the opportunity to be trained as a community health volunteer (CHV) and has participated in many health campaigns within her community including measles and polio campaigns. She was also trained by Mazingira Institute on Urban farming and environment management, where she learnt different ways of urban farming.
 
Claris is also determined to improve her life. She has made savings from her domestic work and allowances she gets from the CHV work. This has enabled her to buy a sewing machine and acquired skills on tailoring. When not working as a domestic worker, she does tailoring at her house which complements her earning.
Claris and other women are grateful to NOPE and partners for the Wezesha Jamii project because it has helped women like her to gain confidence and advocate for their rights. She also believes that if her fellow women will unite, they will have a common voice and be able to do a lot especially in demanding for their rights.

The project is being implemented by NOPE, Oxfam, Site and Youth Alive Kenya and funded by the European Union.

 
 

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Refer to www.nope.or.ke for more information or email newsletter@nope.or.ke or infor@nope.or.ke
Editotial Team; Phillip Mbugua, Alfayo Wamburi, Peter Njuguna , Peter Onyancha & Sylviah Wishenga
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