New York, NY – Huru International is excited to announce the success of its partnership with FHI 360’s Cross-Border Health Integrated Partnership Project (CB-HIPP) to implement a pilot project funded by Johnson & Johnson within the Malaba community on the Kenya-Uganda border. The pilot’s goal is to complement FHI 360’s established programming to meet the unique needs of cross border and mobile populations with Huru’s model for empowering out-of-school adolescent girls and young women through the provision of menstrual hygiene management resources, life skills and health education training, and basic financial literacy and entrepreneurship skills. Rigorous evaluation data will be generated as a result of the project, shedding light on the efficacy of Huru’s current model and informing their future endeavors.
“The partnership with Huru International offers a unique opportunity to augment the HIV and health package of services for cross-border adolescent girls and young women, “ said Dorothy Muroki, CB-HIPP Chief of Party. “It catalyzes existing strategies to address vulnerabilities among adolescent girls in cross border areas.”
For the initiative, Huru recruited 10 local youth who had previously been trained as cross-border peer educators by FHI 360. They were trained as facilitators to lead small group workshop sessions over the course of six weeks, resulting in 250 women aged 15 to 24 having full knowledge of Huru’s services with additional women demonstrating eagerness to receive the same in the future. The beneficiaries took ownership of the initiative, calling it mradi wetu, meaning “our project.”
Achieng Masiga, Program Manager, Sub-Saharan Africa, J&J Global Community Impact (GCI) attended the graduation ceremony on 31st January 2017 and noted that many of the younger girls expressed a keen interested in re-enrolling in school if they could be assisted to do so. “I spoke to the first lady of Busia county, Mrs. Judy Ojamong, seeking to understand why the girls would be out of school yet primary school education is free in Kenya. She indicated a willingness to work with the county and district education offices to ensure that this issue was addressed,” she said.
“Reaching out-of-school girls and young women needs an innovative approach,” said Velna Morang’a, a youth facilitator. “By limiting the educational sessions to small groups of 25, the participants were able to develop strong relationships over the six weeks of training that resulted in them encouraging each other to complete the education sessions, attend the outreach and distribution event, and avail themselves of various health and other services offered. Even more importantly, the group indicated their intention to continue to support each other in the future as they look to re-enroll in school or take other steps to attain economic empowerment and freedom.”
Huru International provides life-saving, locally and sustainably produced “Huru Kits” and sexual and reproductive health education to thousands of at-risk girls. They look forward to beginning work alongside FHI 360 at the next pilot site, Muhuru Bay, on the Kenya-Tanzania border, and hope to connect local beneficiaries with other institutions that provide additional services, such as small business support and financial services.
About FHI 360
Cross-Border Health Integrated Partnership (CB-HIPP) is a five-year project supported by USAID and designed to extend quality integrated health services in strategic border areas and other transport corridor sites in East, Central and Southern Africa. The project is implemented by FHI 360, a nonprofit human development organization dedicated to improving lives in lasting ways by advancing integrated, locally driven solutions. FHI 360 staff includes experts in health, education, nutrition, environment, economic development, civil society, gender, youth, research, technology, communication and social marketing — creating a unique mix of capabilities to address today’s interrelated development challenges. FHI 360 serves more than 70 countries and all U.S. states and territories.
About Johnson & Johnson
Johnson & Johnson has supported Huru International since 2008 when they provided seed money to address the menstrual and health needs of girls and young women, while providing local employment to produce reusable sanitary pads.
About Huru International
Huru International was formed in 2008 to empower girls in Africa and help them take full advantage of educational opportunities, gain job skills, educate others and pursue their dreams. The 501(c)(3) non-profit began its work in Kenya and has expanded to Tanzania and Uganda, providing thousands of at-risk girls with free “Huru Kits” containing re-usable sanitary pads as well as life-saving information and resources essential to sexual and reproductive health and HIV/AIDS prevention. Huru Kits are environmentally friendly and locally produced, creating new jobs in under-served communities. To date, Huru has produced more than 1 million re-usable sanitary pads, reaching over 130,000 girls with Huru Kits.
Joy Lynn Alegarbes
Director of Community