Did you know that September is World Suicide Prevention Month? Well, come nikupeleke na mutara Hi (flow).I bet by now we all know a thing or two about suicide. Whether you have once contemplated it, known someone who has or heard of someone who succeeded in it.
It is easy for society to sit around and judge those who attempt suicide for their actions or lack thereof. Hell, some African communities even cane the mwenda zake (the deceased) for taking their lives. Many a times, those who have had suicide attempts are asked why they want to hurt their families, why they feel like a cloud of sadness is hovering above their heads, what are they going through that has happened to noone else yet? Why can’t they hold on a little longer? Or why can’t they pray or just shun the feelings? This is just a tip of the iceberg.
You may be reading this article thinking I have the answers but I don’t. I am just trying to navigate through life as it comes as we all are. But don’t you worry. Through this article and more in this series, we’ll tackle some of these questions.
In this modern era, people face pressures from all the ends of the earth. COVID pandemic has worsened the situation. People have lost incomes, their families, their loved ones while facing an unknown future. That’s why we keep seeing the, “Be kind, you don’t know what someone is going through” quotes. I agree with them. Totally. In a world where someone is trying to balance work, children, family, economic hurdles and an unknown future, the last thing they need is to be around heartless people. That may just be the last nail on their coffin. Fellow humans, kindness doesn’t cost you a dime. Care for others does not put a literal crown on your head, but it may melt someone’s heart. It may give someone a purpose, a will to carry on. Empathy; is about putting yourself in someone else’s shoes even when they may be suicidal and facing unknown battles. Be the hand that says, “Here brother, here sister, let me lift you up.” Let’s cease pointing fingers and yelling, Let us ask each other: “How do I make it better for you? How do I help?”
I understand that someone may read this and assume I am designating the Messiah role to my readers. I am not. I am just here to remind all of us that suicide prevention goes beyond pushing flowery hashtags on social media. It goes beyond attending vigils for the ones we’ve lost to this monster. Suicide prevention begins with ME and YOU.
In solidarity with this year’s theme: Creating Hope Through Action, the African Character Initiative Program (ACIP), will be doing more articles of this nature. We will also have a program containing daily challenges to help us create hope for our alumni and like-minded individuals. We will also be offering probono counselling services at the comfort of your home, through our able counsellors .I would suggest you hop into our bandwagon and CREATE HOPE THROUGH ACTION.
More details to be communicated soon. For more info email us at: email@example.com.
Invitation to become an ACIP Champion in the land of Champions!
In March 2020, the Kenya Government woke up to the reality of COVID-19 and it was declared a national pandemic. The Government undertook a raft of measures to contain it including, restriction of local and international travel, stay-at-home orders; quarantine; partial lockdowns and cessation of movement into and out of Mombasa and Nairobi; countrywide dusk to dawn curfews; stoppage of public assembly including religious gatherings in churches and mosques; closure of all learning institutions, calls for all to sanitize, wear masks, observe social distancing and wash hands as frequently as possible.
In some places, the securitization of a public health issue meant that these measures were instituted violently, leading to the loss of human life. From towns to rural enclaves, anxiety has grown, and life has changed – dramatically for most – even after the government eased some of the social restrictions in July 2020. While businesses, government offices and service institutions such as courts, hospitals and some schools have adjusted to new ways of working in order to survive, the fact remains that children and adolescents are at home and many of them, especially girls, are not safe in these homes.
Beyond the tally of the sick and dying from COVID, the tally of those whose livelihoods have been severely impacted – and how they have been impacted – has hardly been made. Our concern is not with a tally of those children and adolescents whose lives are being destroyed in their homes by violence of various kinds, our concern is with finding measures to contribute to solutions for even one child or adolescent in danger.
How do we do this? How do we intervene in a space filled with secrecy and deceit?
How do we send a signal, a helping hand to rescue, reassure and/or reinstitute safety?
ACIP has identified Kijiji informal settlement in Hill School area of Eldoret as an area for possible intervention and has come up with a proposal for Participatory Action Research in Kijiji (The PARK project). ACIP is hereby making a call to its alumni to help us think through how we can be useful in Kijiji. What would be an effective, quick, accessible to all, and yet sustainable community action to support children and adolescents through COVID-19 and beyond?
We welcome you, dear ACIP alumnus, to become an ACIP Champion in the land of Champions by:
1. Volunteer your time, expertise and skills in a project that we have identified to facilitate our entry into the Kijiji community. The project involves distribution of reusable sanitary towels to all adolescent girls in Kijiji, and footballs to adolescent boys in Kijiji. We should make these sustainable into the future by recruiting alumni to keep it running and hand it over from one generation to another. Toward community building, we wish that both boys and girls are provided with basic hygiene, as well as confidence and self-esteem training together as one group. Once you volunteer, ACIP shall crown you ACIP Champion in the land of champions and meet (F2F or virtually) with you to agree on how each of you may be involved for those able and willing to work in that space.
2. Share ideas on what other community actions ACIP could engage in within Kijiji. We do not have any idea what kind of project this would be, but we would want it to be geared towards community building and it should be sustainable. If you are interested in this, please submit a two-page document indicating:
<> Target age group:
<> Need(s) to be addressed:
<> Time period:
<> Required human and other resources:
<> How to keep these activities going on for long:
<> Release date of Invitation: 1st October 2020
<> Submission Deadline: 10th October 2020
All submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org
All submissions that ACIP will adopt will be crowned ‘ACIP Champion in the land of champions’ at an event to be announced soon. The top four submissions will be awarded cash prizes of between twenty thousand (20k) and five thousand Kenya Shillings at an event to be announced soon.
Together we can be ACIP Champions in the land of Champions!
Do you want your child to become a responsible and successful adult? The future of your child is in your capable hands NOW “
The African character Initiation Program (ACIP) in Partnership with Global Group of Hospitals (GloGoh) invites you to the 2019 ACIP Initiation Workshop
Who? 11-15 years boys and girls
Where: Kipkeino Primary School. Eldoret.
When: 11-23 November 2019 (Boys) (Reporting by 4pm on 10th Nov for boys who need circumcision)
17th – 23rd November 2019 (Reporting at 2pm on 16th Nov 2019 for girls and boys who don’t need
17th November 2019 at 2-5pm (All Parents workshops (two parents/guardians per child)
What Core values:
- Love – for self, for other human persons and for all creation
- Respect – Respect for creation which translates into care and compassion for self, for
- Honesty – Integrity seeking to think, say and do the right thing at all times
- Hard work –positive attitudes and practices to the human call to co-create
- Self- Discipline – is about creating and sustaining health attitudes and practices that
move individuals to achieve their dreams
- Responsibility– appreciating that for every right there is a corresponding duty and making
all efforts to fulfil one’s duties at all times
- Spirituality – appreciating the interconnectedness of all creation and seeking healthy
relationships with all – with the self, with other humans and with all creation
(regardless of age, colour, tribe, language, sex, religion), and for all environment in spite of differences
The Aim of the Workshop is to facilitate adolescents transition from childhood to adulthood; from boys to men and from girls to women by:
- Offering medical circumcision for boys
- Facilitating learning of attitudes, knowledge and life skills and character values for holistic
- Conducting a parents’ workshop on positive parenting
- Form a strong mentorship network for continued support of alumni
Program of Activities for November 2019
Every year, we bring together boys and girls for an initiation process involving the following activities over a period of 7 days (for girls) and 14 days (for initiate boys).
- Sun, Nov 10: Arrival and registration of boys’ participants by 5.00pm. Evening: Worship, Commitment to
God and pre-circumcision counselling
- Mon, Nov. 11: Morning: Doctors perform operation Afternoon: Monitoring and Assessment
- Mon- Frid., Nov.11- 16th: Boys’ healing process accompanied by role modelling and Doctors’ visits. Enter-
education and passive indoor games go on throughout the period. Other activities include:
- 17th Nov. 2019: Parents Workshop and arrival of other boys and girls
- Nov.18-22nd 2019: Intensive Workshops
- Testimonies from different youths e.g. one recovering from alcohol abuse, one who has gone through ACIP
- Sat. Nov. 23: Graduation,
- 10.00am: All guests and graduands seated
- 10-11pm: Entertainments
- 11-12pm: Interdenominational Service
- 12-1pm: Address by Guest of Honour and other Speakers
- 1-2pm: Commissioning and Blessing of Graduates.
- Highlight of the day: Individual Graduates promise to parents/guardians
- 2pm: Communal sharing of a meal
- 4pm: Honourable Guests, parents, and graduates leave at their own leisure.
Every ACIP Jewel gets an ACIP Jewel, a Promise and a Certificate of Commitment
Cost: Shs.12,000.00 for girls and Shs. 28,000.00 for boys
Parent’s workshop: Shs. 500 per parent for tea & stationery
African Character Initiation Program ELDORET
For faster communication call any of the following:
Emily: 0733-991 621 E-mail: email@example.com
Pam: 0722-234 064 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
GloGoh contact(s) here
Theme: The Making of a Kenyan: Towards National Identity and Character Values
24 – 25 July 2017
The inaugural National Initiation Rites Workshop, convened by the African Character Initiation Programme (ACIP), was held between 23 and 25 July 2017 at Maanzoni Lodge in Nairobi. The Workshop, whose theme was “The Making of a Kenyan: Towards National Identity and Character Virtues”, was characterized by robust engagements. Adopting the workshop model ensured participation of all in attendance. Indeed, it was a great gathering of people whose experiences are key in setting agenda for the current and next generation. The participants included local and international academics, government officials, members of the clergy from different denominations, youth, parents, teachers, leaders of various initiation rites programmes, donors, ACIP alumni and mentors.
During the three-day conference, participants reflected on how the various rites of passage, currently practiced in Kenya, could help forge a national identify based on character virtues. The conference participants shared best practices from people and organisations mentoring youth with the aim of imparting positive character values. Majority of the groups and individuals were faith-based.
The participants also discussed the impact of harmful cultural practices that are part of initiation rites in different communities, for example, female genital mutilation. Participants also heard from ACIP alumni and parents who reflected on their experiences. They also reflected on emerging gaps in modern rites of passage and the genesis of these practices, particularly in multicultural urban settings. The conference provided a networking opportunity that underlined the importance of merging theory with practice through linkage between the academia and community.
The ACIP founders also shared research findings from a study they conducted to help them look back at the work they have done since inception. The tracer study, which combined quantitative and qualitative components, indicated the need for a longitudinal study. It was noted that the ACIP alumni, who were some of the respondents and research assistants, graduated from the ACIP at different times thus their experiences are somewhat varied. The study provided ACIP with valuable feedback on its impact, highlighting what was working well. It also enabled the founder members identify existing gaps.
Participants worked in groups to identify the character values that are key in forging a Kenyan identity. They identified the following: Integrity, equity, social responsibility, justice, good governance, cohesion, love for one another, patriotism, recognition of cultural diversity and a God-fearing nation. The conversation was hinged on Vision 2030, Kenya’s development blueprint, and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The Workshop was part of the activities of a research project titled, Assessment of ACIP: A Character Virtues Program, that was generously funded by the Templeton World Charity Foundation Inc.
CALL FOR PROPOSALS (CFP)
The African Character Initiation Program (ACIP) of the Eldoret Based Gender and Development Network (ELDOGADNet) announces a call for proposals for 2 Master or 2 Doctoral research projects in areas of interest to ACIP from any of the disciplines in the School of Arts and Social Sciences at Moi University. Grants range between US$1,000 and 3.000.
The following topics are suggested for consideration by applicants, but the list is not exhaustive:
Religion and Traditional Initiation Rites in Kenya
Modern Initiation Rites in Kenya
Eradicating Female Mutilation
Adolescence and Values
Development culture and Youth Enterprise Funds
Submit a full proposal not exceeding 20 typed double spaced pages, font 12 Times New Roman, including bibliography and annexure, and an abstract not exceeding 300 words.
Include full contact details: full name, institution, cell phone number, email and one colored passport size photo.
Proposals submitted should have been considered and approved at departmental level and duly endorsed by supervisors or the Head of Department.
Must be submitted to the Coordinator, ACIP by 15th August 2016 via email.
Short listed applicants will be invited to present their proposals in the 2nd week of September 2016.
Awards will be made at the end of September 2016.
This research fund is supported by the Templeton World Charity Foundation Inc.
P.O. Box 7766-30100,
How To Apply: Inquiries and application documents should be sent to the Coordinator of ACIP at: Email: email@example.com
The African Christian Initiation Programme (ACIP) is a community based participatory programme of the Eldoret-based Gender and Development Network(Eldo-GADNet) which is an inter – denominational, inter-disciplinary and inter-ethnic initiative. It serves to help meet the mandate of Moi University to translate knowledge generated in the University into practical development for communities at the local, national, continental and global levels.
Our mission is to empower young people by providing them with information and life skills to enable them make transition from childhood to adulthood without falling victim to challenges such HIV infection, drug abuse and lack of self-esteem.
Our vision is a national participatory, community-based initiation process that produces confident, successful and responsible young African adults.
The programme was preceded by advertisements and invitations for young girls and boys. High turn-out for the event was one of the great expectation.
This year event was one of the interesting moments of the programme. Two things among many brought about this. One of them is that there was quite a good number of initiates drawn from Testimony homes and its neighborhood. All the events unfolded as scheduled though there couldn’t miss some challenges here and there due to the busy schedules over the short duration of the workshop.
The total participation consisted of 28 initiates, 2 caretakers, a number of facilitators and coordinators, parents plus some important guests especially on the graduation day as well as in between the major events.
This activity involved two sessions;
The session started with a pre – counseling session for the boys to prepare them for the entire initiation process. The boys seemed fully confident to face the exercise after the counseling was done.
The following day after further counseling, 18 boys were circumcised. The boys were courageous and confident that they were commencing a new stage of adulthood. Circumcision was carried out by a biomedical health practitioner. The doctor frequently visited the boys to monitor the progress of the initiates so as to ensure every thing was going on well. The doctor was on call throughout the period (24/7).
Every morning the boys were engaged in a devotion of worship with their two caretakers. This included prayers, singing and reading the Word of God. They were reminded of their need to stay close to God even as they got to a new stage in life.
Devotion and Evening Classes (1st Week)
As cited earlier there was a need for the initiates to relate with God. Devotions came in to service both in the first and the second week before the daily events could set off.(It is important not to forget that every learning session for the whole season was punctuated by relevant selected Bible references)
The evening classes went on for three consecutive nights. The teachings dwelt on a captivating topic; SHAPING MEN FOR LIFE. This was done by pastor Chege and Mr. Mugambi (his co-worker)
It should be noted that the evening classes this time round overlapped with the second week events. It could be best done entirely on the first week.
Health Care Taking (1st & 2nd)
This was a continuous process that cut across the first and the second week. It was done effectively to make sure the initiates were getting well in good health. Any needed attention from the doctor was promptly done- (Warren & Mureithi were in charge of this).
In line with medical checks, the health of the initiates was enhanced through assured balanced diets-breakfast, lunch and supper at the scheduled time. Right coordination between the caretakers and the kitchen staff was ensured for effective meal delivery.
It is important to note that the caretaking this time was a bit cumbersome due to the high number of the initiates and the absence of one of the last years caretaker-Teacher Kiarie; his absence was felt significantly. However, without succumbing to this loophole everything was worked out well.
Though the two weeks event went on well, this was and has never been the end of caretaking process. This is because the process is a lifetime one that demands all the initiates to abide to the moral teachings inculcated into them for those two weeks. Hence, contact between the caretakers and the graduate initiates was emphasized.
-For gender balanced role-modeling a female caretaker for the girls may be essential.
-Registration can be done earlier enough to gauge the number of caretakers fit for the whole
Parents Meeting and Girls Enrollment (2nd Week)
A new week was ushered in by a parents’ meeting with some facilitators- a parent session. A topic on Parenting Adolescents was dealt with. The Called to Care workbook on Parenting was used.
Enrolment of girls for the workshop was done simultaneously as the parent session was going on. A total of 10 new initiates was recorded for the day. (8 girls and 2 additional boys from the Testimony homes)
NB: Among the 8 girls registered half were from the homes, 3 more joined as the workshop was in progress.
Workshop (2nd Week)
The workshop went on for 4 consecutive days.
It was structured into 2 hour sessions with enough breaks in between.
The workshop was marked by thorough training on the following topics and by competent facilitators as recorded in the schedule below:
ACIP Workshop time-table 2009
An excursion is a trip by a group of people, usually made for leisure or educational purposes. It is often an adjunct to a longer journey or visit to a place, sometimes for other (typically work-related) purposes.
In this case ACIP excursion formed part of the co-curricular activities. it was both for leisure and for educational purposes. A group of 35 participants went to Umbrella falls about 7km away from Eldoret – Kitale Road.
There were 5 Key facilitators of the week (Emily & Eunice, Kelvin & Lawrence (Moi University), and Kandie ( a rehabilitating victim of drug abuse).
Also with us were two caterers; Marco & Victor (both from Testimony Homes).
The excursion centered around inspirational story from a fully rehabilitated drug addict-Kandie. The youths received quite a good package of info for Drug use and Abuse.
Other Co-Curricular Activities
Leisure activities that were interesting for the evening after the excursion included:
Reading of books such as “I Bought Aids in a Bar”, “Boys and Girls” among other relevant books.
Story telling and
Tuning on to the Radio.
NB: AUDIAL VISUAL MATERIALS RELEVANT TO DAILY SESSIONS WOULD ALSO BE APPROPRIATE FOR SUCH MOMENTS .
Graduation preparation & evaluation.
All the initiates were involved in guided preparation for the graduation ceremony. Classified presentations that included songs, news and a skit for the big day were rehearsed
For evaluation purpose the participants were introduced to filling in of 2 questionnaires touching on varied subjects of the entire workshop.
Graduation marked the peak of the events with a good turn out from visitors and parents. Invited guests also attended especially from Moi University Deputy Vice Chancellor’s office. The presence of ACIP chaplain was also felt. Awarding of certificates to the graduates followed by commissioning was done by the Chaplain himself.
A session of communal feasting plus photo-taking preceded the departure. Long awaited wonderful ACIP T-shirts made the photo session colorful. Everyone was free to leave at their own pleasure.
Major captions for the events
ACIP 2009 was such a busy and inspiring moment that leaves every participant with great desire to participate for another time.
It involved Initiation, evening classes and caretaking for the first week. And another week of workshop and excursion.
Morning devotions every day made the daily events lovely by bringing people close to God.
For an effective running of the programme the following things can be checked;
Time span for the whole workshop should be increased to at least 5 full days of training.
Planning of the events can be effectively done early enough to ensure proper running of the programme.
There should be enough mentors for girls.
Driven by the desire tocontribute in building a society of responsible young men and women leaders of the day ACIP seeks to empower young people with practical life skills that they need to make the transition from childhood to adulthood without falling victims to challenges inherent in this transition period. Since its foundation in 2004, the programme targets adolescents aged 10-15 through the following activities:
1. School Visitations – This involves visiting both primary and secondary schools to give talks on the beauty and challenge of adolescence.
2. ACIP Education Foundation – This contributes fees to needy students, especially those labelled ‘not bright’ identified in the visitation programmes. ACIP founder members find that there are many individuals and organizations/initiatives like “Wings to Fly’ of Equity Bank which target needy ‘bright’ students. ACIP questions the labelling of children as ‘bright/not bright’ and believes that, when provided with the necessary support, every child has potential to become a successful responsible adult.
3. Youth motivational and mentorship programme – This involves mentoring young people within the local communities in Kenya as well as advocacy for young people as occasions emerge.
4. The Annual African Christian Initiation Programme – This is the core activity of ACIP. Every December, ACIP brings together between 30 and 50 adolescent girls and boys together for two weeks to provide them with knowledge and skills for holistic development. Rituals to physically mark their transition to adulthood are part of this annual event. These include the facilitation of the African custom of male circumcision. However, there is no similar physical rite of initiation with women. To fill this void, ACIP provides an alternative symbolic female initiation ceremony that meets this function of a rite of passage without the practice of any physical form of female circumcision. The alternative rite involves a night vigil marked by a ‘crossing over’ at midnight from childhood to adulthood. After crossing over, each individual is given a copy of the ACIP Jewels (referred to as a Teenage Survival Kit) which serves a twofold function:
i) provide a tangible affirmation that an individual has ‘crossed over’ from childhood to adulthood, and,
ii) provide a summary of ACIP training embodied in the motto ‘Choose Life’. This motto emphasizes freedom of choice even as it affirms that responsible adulthood involves choosing life. During this night, lessons on responsible African Christian womanhood are offered.
For boys, ACIP facilitates male circumcision, which is carried out by expert biomedical practitioners from the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital in Eldoret – a teaching facility for the Moi University College of Health Sciences. Parents provide Informed Consent in written form when they present the boys to ACIP. After the surgery, ACIP provides each individual with the ACIP Jewel and boarding facilities for them to recuperate together for two weeks with a qualified doctor coming daily (and is on call) to provide follow up health care. During this time, responsible young male adults comprising of Moi University students and/or ACIP alumni live with the initiates to take care of their nutrition and hygiene and to mentor them in terms of character. Throughout this time, their parents and older siblings are encouraged to visit. Meanwhile, other adults that ACIP consider responsible with regard to African and Christian virtues are invited to talk to the boys on responsible manhood.
After the two weeks, we hold a one day workshop for parents on responsible parenting. It is after the parent’s workshop that girls register for ACIP and during that night the girls have the alternative rite described above. The following day, the boys and girls come together for a one week’s training through the 13-module training documented in My Life Starting Now. Each day starts with worship. Bible study, prayer and worship modules punctuate the entire event with time set aside for individual participants to reflect on their relationship with God, with the self, with others and with the environment. A copy of My Life Starting Now, The ACIP Jewels, and a sample of the ACIP Annual Schedule are attached as appendices to Supporting Documents.