Ogiek Training – Nakuru County

OGIEK TRAINING, NAKURU COUNTY ,12 and 13 NOVEMBER 2017 [MARIASHONI]

The two day training involved women and youth from Mariashoni and other parts of Nakuru County and the topics discussed included, importance of education, peer pressure, Female Genital Mutilation and its impacts, Early/forced marriages, among other topics. The training was carried out by officers from the National Gender and Equality Commission, experienced women from Mariashoni area, Ogiek People Development Program staff, Indigenous information Network staff and women from other parts of Nakuru and Narok County.  

Sophi Tanki deputy head teacher – Narok County Talked about education  Education refers to the systematic process of gaining knowledge and skills through study and instructions. The person providing the instruction is known as teachers. And, the person who receives or gains education is called a student or pupil.

Importance of education

  1. World Citizenship: Education is a must for world citizenship or global citizenship. Such a person always works for the benefits of humanity. He treats the entire human-race as brothers and sisters. We all acknowledge the importance of education, knowledge and truth for promoting the world outlook. Education produces citizens who are men of intellectual and moral integrity, who are neither fanatical nor cynical, but are public-spirited, tolerant and wise. Education aims at producing ideal human-beings. These people are truly cultured, wise, tolerant and public-spirited. Different ages have different conceptions of ideal men.
  2. Promotes National Interest: Education also promotes national interest. The highly educated people have a critical intelligence of an exceptional order. They can form independent conclusions from given facts. An educated person has the wisdom and knowledge to work for the good of the country. The doctors, engineers, scientists, soldiers, police-officers, etc. all work together in protecting the national interest.
  3. True benefactors of human race: We must praise great writers, scientists, humanistic philosophers, profoundly religious man with abiding faith in spiritual values, social reformers and other men with a constructive genius because these educated men alone are the true benefactors of the human race.
  4. Backbone of developing countries: Education is the backbone of developing countries. Developing countries should understand the importance of education and develop a sound educational system. Sustainable development of economy and society is closely related to education. The most important resource of a nation is its human-capital. Educated people have more understanding of themselves and of the others. They have the ability to become entrepreneurs, scientists and agriculturists. The world of today is driven by Information Technology and education in this field may become a deciding factor for the future economic development of developing countries.
  5. Moral, spiritual and ethical values: Educated people promote equality of opportunity. Any privilege, when based on merit alone, is bound to be more moral because it has to justify no unmerited privilege, advocate no ethical system which promotes class-feeling or social snobbery and defend nothing, which is unjust or ethically wrong. The aim of education, whatever the social system, must be not only to disseminate knowledge, but also to stimulate the questioning spirit.

Educational institutions cannot produce saints. But they can certainly inculcate among students respect for spiritual and ethical values and make them understand that the promotion of human welfare, not self-aggrandizement, is the end of life. No man, however brilliant, however gifted, can be considered truly cultured unless he identifies himself with the well­being of others, unless he has the passion to make the Kingdom of God prevail on earth.

  1. Education produces good citizens: Education also produces well-cultured and wise men. It is often said that the children of today are the citizens of tomorrow. If children of today study hard to become good students, then they will surely become good citizens in future. It is not easy to measure the loss which the human race has suffered on account of want of education by men and women who had exceptional talent but could not make full use of it.
  2. Enjoy life: Education enables young men and women to develop all the latent powers and faculties of their nature and to enjoy a good life.
  3. Freshness of approach: A sound education system encourages freshness of approach. Education should bring out the best in the student, not stifle his mind.
  4. Transmit national culture: Education is an important medium to transmit national culture to the students. Of course, educational institutions are not the only agencies through which the culture of the nation can be passed on to the younger generations. The home exercises a powerful influence on the youthful mind. Religion and churches have a big role to play in making men truly cultured and moral. But schools and colleges have also a contribution to make to the transmission of national culture.
  5. Character: Education also helps in building the character of a person. The educational teachers make attempts to give their students a moral outlook.
  6. Literacy: Education enables a person to become literate. Literacy refers to the ability of a person to read and write. Literacy is important not only for children but also for adults.
  7. Curiosity: An educated man should have infinite curiosity, the passion to know and understand things in a scientific way, with complete objectivity.
  8. Wisdom: In democratic countries educational institutions earnestly try to arouse intellectual curiosity, satisfy the appetite for more and more knowledge and develop the critical spirit which alone brings wisdom.
  9. Intellectual discipline: He cultivates intellectual discipline and intellectual humility. He is an earnest seeker after truth and knowledge with an open mind.
  10. Seeks perfection: A truly educated man always seeks perfection. He is not a specialist who has perfected only his body or the intellect or the mind but one who seeks the development of all his faculties.
  11. Earn a livelihood: Education enables a boy or a girl to earn his or her living. It is true that employment does not depend upon intellectual attainments alone. It is also determined by the stage of economic development of a country. However, there are chances that an educated person will get a good job with income sufficient to earn him his livelihood. An educated person can easily meet the basic material needs of life.
  12. Knowledge: Education is important because it provides us with the knowledge that we need to navigate the world. Education can help us to do everything from mathematical calculations to theatrical performances.
  13. Empathy: As well as teaching us academic knowledge, education helps us to be better people. With good education, we can become more empathetic – for instance, widely read people are often said to have high levels of empathy as they are able to see the world through the eyes of numerous different people.
  14. Help to our communities: The better educated we are, the more able we will be to help out our communities – whether that is by means of engineering projects or whether it is by means of writing literature for them to enjoy.
  15. Friendship and social bonding: Education brings people together and helps them to make friends. Sitting in a classroom or a university lecture hall with fellow learners is a social bonding experience that helps to forge strong relationships..

Peer pressure is the direct influence on people by peers, or the effect on an individual who gets encouraged to follow their peers by changing their attitudes, values or behaviors to conform to those of the influencing group or individual. Negative side of peer pressure

  • Loss of individuality
  • Can easily adopt dangerous habits [spoiling one lives]
  • Academics are affected
  • Make them feel ashamed or bad about themselves and their family
  • A dip in self-confidence- not sure about themselves and has low self-esteem

How to overcome peer pressure in school/collage

  • Check in with yourself.
  • Give yourself permission to avoid people or situations that don’t feel right and leave a situation that becomes uncomfortable.
  • Enjoy being different. Do not waste your time comparing yourself to your roommate and trying to be like him/her
  • Befriend people who share opinions similar to yours.
  • Be confident about yourself. Stand by your opinions, morals, behavior, etc.
  • Do not let your friends or roommates’ opinions influence yours. You don’t have to prove to anyone why you believe what you believe. Just stay true to whatever you think and no one can change what you think.

Josephine Kagusha, Selina Mikata and Neno Alfred – National Gender and Equality Commission [from Mauche] Talked about Female Genital Mutilation Female genital mutilation (FGM) comprises all procedures involving partial or total removal of the female external genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons. Types of FGM Female genital mutilation is classified into four types:

  • Type I: Also known as clitoridectomy, this type consists of partial or total removal of the clitoris and/or its prepuce.
  • Type II: Also known as excision, the clitoris and labia minora are partially or totally removed, with or without excision of the labia majora.
  • Type III: The most severe form, it is also known as infibulation or pharaonic type. The procedure consists of narrowing the vaginal orifice with creation of a covering seal by cutting and appositioning the labia minora and/or labia majora, with or without removal of the clitoris. The appositioning of the wound edges consists of stitching or holding the cut areas together for a certain period of time (for example, girls’ legs are bound together), to create the covering seal. A small opening is left for urine and menstrual blood to escape. An infibulation must be opened either through penetrative sexual intercourse or surgery.
  • Type IV: This type consists of all other procedures to the genitalia of women for non-medical purposes, such as pricking, piercing, incising, scraping and cauterization.

Neno Alfred –National Gender and Equality Commission

  • Circumcision is done to young women after marriage in their area
  • Once girls are circumcised they no longer go to school [ they become adult]
  • Circumcision leads to early marriages
  • Men encourage young women and girls to undergo FGM in order for them to continue being submissive to the men and men to control them.

Testimony [Neno Alfred]

  • His sister undergone circumcision and bled to almost death

  Why FGM is rampant in Marioshoni

  • Pressure to the young men who married uncircumcised women[ the young men are mocked and beaten by age mates and old men and are forced to circumcised their women]
  • Less effort from the government in preventing the act of FGM
  • Women lack of decision making power and therefore girls forced to undergo the act with women watching

Reasons for circumcision at Mariashoni [youth and women thought which are untrue]

  • For cleanness- they are told by men that women who are not circumcised are dirty and do smell
  • To make good cooked food- believe that uncircumcised women do not know how to cook good food
  • To reduce clitoris from being long
  • To become a mature woman [ to womanhood]
  • The clitoris produce a certain poison which kills a man upon penetration
  • To keep the vagina dry- to stop the vagina from being watery
  • To stop some insects from growing in the vagina
  • To prevent cows from dying and the garden from drying
  • To prevent your soldier husband from dying when he goes to war- believe that soldiers who married uncircumcised women do not come back when goes to war.
  • To reduce libido

Consequences of FGM Immediate consequences of FGM Include;

  • Severe pain and bleeding,
  • Shock,
  • Difficulty in passing urine,
  • Infections,
  • Injury to nearby genital tissue and sometimes death.

The procedure can result in death through severe bleeding leading to hemorrhagic shock, neurogenic shock as a result of pain and trauma, and overwhelming infection and septicemia. Almost all women who have undergone FGM experience pain and bleeding as a consequence of the procedure. The event itself is traumatic as girls are held down during the procedure. Risk and complications increase with the type of FGM and are more severe and prevalent with infibulations. The pain inflicted by FGM does not stop with the initial procedure, but often continues as ongoing torture throughout a woman’s life .In addition to the severe pain during and in the weeks following the cutting, women who have undergone FGM experience various long-term effects – physical, sexual and psychological.

Long-term effects of FGM Women may experience;

  • Chronic pain,
  • Chronic pelvic infections,
  • Development of cysts,
  • Abscesses and genital ulcers,
  • Excessive scar tissue formation,
  • Infection of the reproductive system,
  • Decreased sexual enjoyment and
  • Psychological consequences, such as post-traumatic stress disorder.

Additional risks for complications from infibulations include urinary and menstrual problems, infertility, later surgery (defibulation and reinfibulation) and painful sexual intercourse. Sexual intercourse can only take place after opening the infibulation, through surgery or penetrative sexual intercourse. Consequently, sexual intercourse is frequently painful during the first weeks after sexual initiation and the male partner can also experience pain and complications. When giving birth, the scar tissue might tear, or the opening needs to be cut to allow the baby to come out. After childbirth, women from some ethnic communities are often sown up again to make them “tight” for their husband (reinfibulation). Such cutting and restitching of a woman’s genitalia results in painful scar tissue.

Advice to women and girls on how to come out of FGM and other harmful cultural practices

  • Seek legal actions [government should be responsible and Act accordingly]
  • Training young men and old men to stop pressure on FGM and harmful cultural practices
  • Involve all genders and ages in fight against Harmful Cultural Practices
  • Be united as women group in fight against Harmful Cultural Practices
  • Use Narok women strategy of keeping girls inside the house for two weeks and tell men they have been circumcised
  • Hold men meetings on Harmful Cultural Practices because they are the head of families and decision makers

Key points Child abuse free Helplines

  • 116- for reporting child abuse
  • 1195-Gender Based Violence hotline [domestic violence]
  • 20459-National Gender and Equality Commission [send sms]
  • 22068-county government and head of police hotline. [mulika waalifu hotline]
  • 0800720187-National Gender and Equality Commission hotline

Way forward

  • Parent should be open to their children and talk to them
  • Children to look for a person they trust and tell them their secret to get help
  • Children to open up and report child abuse
  • Women to stop hiding incidences of violence against their children by abusers[ either sons, husband or relatives]
  • Have free telephone line for girls and women to report abuse
  • Girls should focus on their education to be empowered and get voices in the society
  • Women should become voices for their girls
  • Know county offices and visit for any help
  • Women and girls should make a step to do something to prevent cases of violence against them
  • Report other small girls being circumcised or married off by force
  • Practice alternative rite of passage

 In Conclusion, the aim of education is not to develop one single virtue but to produce healthy normal human beings who understand the meaning of life and what it demands from them. From childhood to youth, students must be constantly reminded by educationists and parents that the fundamental law of life is co-operation, not self- domination or conflict. If students are intellectually and morally brought up on co-operation, most of our troubles would be at an end and life would be much healthier, richer and nobler than ever before. Lastly if girls are given education, they will be independent in their lives and can be able to fight against all forms of harmful cultural practices, stereotypes, intimidation, violence and any biases because they have power and voices in the society.