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EUROPEAN CIVIL PROTECTION AND HUMANITARIAN AID OPERATIONS
Stories from the field

My immersion in Shianda, a village in western Kenya

julie escoffier in Kenya
Organisation
MTÜ Mondo
About the Project
Work within WEFOCO, community-based local organization, on the theme of education, both with communities but also with schools in the village. Offer sensitization sessions to women's groups on the theme of child education and offer training to teachers to improve their perception of the child. Work around the child support program between WEFOCO and Mondo (sending organization): monitoring of children at school level, health, family, preparation of the coming school year ...
About the volunteer
Child protection social worker (diploma in 2001) Psychosocial support for unaccompanied young people and refugees in social services in France Project cycle – Team coordination - Partnerships Multiculural context - Crisis management - Stressful situation.

My project is taking place in a village west of Kenya. Many volunteers have already worked with WEFOCO which made my integration with the team and communities very easy. 

Working with schools:

Initially I thought I would continue the sessions given by previous volunteers about learning methods and the school environment, but as soon as I made my first observations, I knew that I had to adapt my intervention with my knowledge of child protection. Indeed, what touched me the most is the relationship between teachers and students and corporal punishment used as the only means of discipline. The training I developed for the teachers had to focus on the protection of the child as a whole. We worked on the Convention on the Rights of the Child, its development, adult-child communication and child protection issues within school institutions. 

The teachers were on the whole very receptive and willing to share these notions, some already known, others news. They are very demanding of tools to improve their practice even if their exercise conditions minimize the immediate impacts

Work with communities:

Children's education is mainly the responsibility of women in Kenya, but they also have many other responsibilities in the family, often putting the child in a position of early autonomy. My sensitization sessions were deliberately conducted in a participatory way with lots of exchanges and testimonials from these mothers. We discussed children's rights and emotional development and worked on concrete case studies encountered here.
These moments of exchange and mutual sharing were very enriching for them as for me. Conscious of their lack of availability for their children, these women are volunteers to try to find more time to share and create a different relationship with their children. Time will do ...

Work on the child support program:
This allowed me to be able to more accurately follow certain children with family or school problems, to spend time with families, to think about solutions, to discuss the importance of school education, allow some young people who are out of school or young mothers to return to school. Each situation is different and this proximity with the families allows a real work of follow-up and support.

...And then volunteering is also: an immersion in a community, the discovery of landscapes, ways of life, the creation of new relationships rich in learning and sharing, the discovery of a country with the planned excursions in the country, and life with other volunteers from different horizons ...
With no doubt, this experience has met my expectations of novelties, challenges, risk taking and personal enrichment !!!

The training I developed for the teachers had to focus on the protection of the child as a whole. We worked on the Convention on the Rights of the Child, its development, adult-child communication and child protection issues within school institutions. The teachers were on the whole very receptive and willing to share these notions, some already known, others news. They are very demanding of tools to improve their practice.
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