Meet the Othoo parenting group located in Seme, Alwala sub-location in Kisumu County. They are the first parenting group in Seme sub-county to successfully complete and graduate from parenting training with a total of 24 female members(15 identified FAR families and 9 community members). Members of this group were all identified from families at risk of separation.
Changing the Way, We Care (CTWWC) program team works jointly with the Directorate of Children Services in Kenya to help and identify families at risk of separation within Seme sub-county. The parenting group was given an opportunity to share about various issues affecting their families e.g. how to handle teenagers affected by peer pressure, children who were facing bullying in school, spouses who were not responsible for taking care of their families, mental health issues, educational needs, economic needs, hygiene and sanitation and families that were facing community stigmatization as a result of having a child with a disability and also how to ensure strong and secure attachments among family members.
“I am raising 11 children who are under 18yrs of age and before I started meeting with my fellow caregivers for the parenting training, I could not understand why I was experiencing a lot of grumbling from my children. One day after the training, we were tasked to have a family meeting with our children and give them a listening ear. I realized that my children were going through a lot of issues that I was unaware of. What hurt me the most is that I didn't even care to provide my teenage girl with sanitary towels. She was re-using rags from old clothes. All I cared about was farming for others and putting food on the table.” Says one caregiver.
Through the identification process and case planning, different families were reached and supported through: the distribution of dignity packs to adolescent children; vegetable seeds to families for farming; school fees support; business start-up kits and cash transfers. With this support, the caregivers have been able to express appreciation to ICS SP CTWWC program and positive feedback on the changes they have witnessed within their households while also implementing what they learnt from the parenting training.
Families from the Othoo group, 6 benefited from kitchen garden training and vegetable seeds, 2 on cash transfer, 3 were trained on business skills and how to boost their funds, 4 got dignity packs for the children and 1 was supported with school fees.
Through economic empowerment, one caregiver has successfully managed to harvest her vegetables and she is selling them for income – she managed to clear school fees for two children out of 6. Consistently she has been able to pay off her outstanding SILC loan.
During their graduation ceremony ICS SP CTWWC program team engaged the department of Social Development to sensitize the group on the need to strengthen their structure as the group and came up with ideas on how they would like to sustain themselves beyond the CTWWC program support.
The group was informed of the benefits of formally registering the group which included an access to business funds such as the Women Enterprise Fund, Uwezo Fund, and Youth fund; which will support them to grow if they have the right mission and vision as the Othoo women group towards being resilient and independent.
Recently, the group has a strong support system that ensures household visits to one another for support in various ways. The group has expressed its desire to be formally registered to be able to apply for and access funds that will support them engage in practical economic activities so that they can be self-sustainable.
This positive outcome was achieved in a period of 3 month through the support of a female child protection volunteer who also benefited from the Parenting program. She also mobilized the caregivers and met with them once a week.