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:
<> Action:
<> 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
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!

ACIP Workshop Nov 2019


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
    other humans
  • (regardless of age, colour, tribe, language, sex, religion), and for all environment in spite of differences

  • 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

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

The Coordinator,
African Character Initiation Program ELDORET


For faster communication call any of the following:
Emily: 0733-991 621 E-mail:
Pam: 0722-234 064 E-mail:

GloGoh contact(s) here


Theme: The Making of a Kenyan: Towards National Identity and Character Values
24 – 25 July 2017
Maanzoni, Kenya
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


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
Application process

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:


ACIP Report 2009

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.
Playing cards
Story telling and
Tuning on to the Radio.


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.

Core Activities

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.

ACIP Report 2004


Workshop Theme: Choose Life (Deut: 30: 15-16)

Day 1: Wednesday December 1, 2004
Parents accompanied by their young sons arrived at the workshop venue between 2.00 and 6.00pm. Peter Gatundu and Peter Muchiri received the boys and helped them in the registration exercise as well as in settling in. Between 7.30 and 8.30pm the participants had supper together in the dining Hall. After dinner, the participants were taken through a session of Worship, Commitment and pre-circumcision counseling by Rev. Samoei of the Reformed Church of East Africa in the company of Rev. Choge of the Anglican Church of Kenya. Mr. Ng’ang’a Kiarie who was heading the caretakers group together with the members of the group also participated in this session. Thereafter, at around 10.00pm they all retired to bed.

Day 2: Thursday December 2, 2004
Participants had breakfast between 5.30 – 6.00am after Morning Prayer led by Mr. Kiaire. Between 6.00am and 10.00 two doctors from the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital operated on all the seventeen boys. For the rest of the day the doctors, some older men from the P.C.E.A. Ayub Kinyua Parish and the caretakers monitored and assessed the status of the boys. The evening was free and so after supper the boys retired to bed early.

Day 3- 6: Friday- Monday, Dec. 3-6, 2004
For the next four days the program was constant for the boys. After breakfast which was served in the hostels between 7.30-and 8.00am, there was daily morning worship for at least half an hour led by the group of caretakers who also doubled up as praise and worship team. Thereafter, doctors visited the boys to monitor and assess their progress while the boys engaged in passive games, reading of recommended books from the ACIP library and resting. They also received informal talks from the caretakers and older men from PCEA. Throughout the healing period, women were not allowed to see the initiates.

In the evenings after supper the boys watched educational and leisure videos selected from the ACIP library. Others read various educational materials.
On Sunday the 5th Dec. there was a morning interdenominational service for all participants in the hostels with Pastor Nderu of evangelistic ministries.

Day 6: Monday December 6, 2004
While the circumcised boys continued with their program, boys who did not need the operation either because they had already been circumcised or because they are from non-circumcising communities arrived between 4.00 and 6.00pm. Peter Gatundu and Peter Muchiri helped in the registration exercise. As the registration of this new group of participants went on a parents’ workshop went on as scheduled as follows:

Parents’ Workshop Theme: “…teach them to your children. Repeat them when you are at home and when you are away, when you are resting and when you are working. Tie them on your arms and wear them on your forehead as a reminder. Write them on the door posts of your house and on your gates” (Deut: 6: 5-9)

After the Opening Prayer led by Rev. Samoei the parents were welcomed to the Seminary grounds by the Rector, Fr. Martin Tanui. Fr. Rector indicated that the Seminary is home for all and was happy that the ACIP program had chosen this as their venue with its modest facilities. He invited all parents and participants to feel at home indicating that they are always welcome to the Seminary.

After this welcome address, the parents were introduced to the African Christian Initiation Program which is the first of its kind in the region. The coordinator of the program, Dr. Eunice Kamaara, indicated to the parents that research from universities throughout Kenya indicate that young people, especially teenagers, are a neglected lot. Unlike in traditional African societies where young people were taken through an initiation process to enable them face the challenges of their transition from childhood to adulthood, the modern setting has nothing in place. When Christian missionaries to Africa in the 19th introduced Christianity, they dismissed our traditions and values as primitive and barbaric. Hence one was expected to give up all traditional beliefs and customs before he/she could be converted into Christianity. The traditional African initiation processes were therefore abandoned. Unfortunately, Christianity has been a religion that is confessed but rarely practiced. Hence, nothing was put in place to replace the traditional African initiation processes. Consequently, young people have been left to find their own way without much guidance. Yet, the challenges of adolescence have increased given the modern lifestyles and threats of HIV/AIDS, drug abuse, violence etc.

Research recommendations indicate the need to integrate African values with Christian values if Christianity is to become a religion that is not just confessed but also lived. With specific regard to helping young people face the challenges of transition from childhood to adulthood in the modern context, the African Christian Initiation Process has been proposed by a number of researchers for implementation by non governmental and faith based organizations.

The Eldoret-based Gender and Development Network (EldoGADNet,) an action-oriented research organization comprised of a multi-disciplinary team of researchers and educationists/theologians based in Eldoret, realized that there is a need to control the establishment of these programs in order to ensure that they are systematic and valuable in terms of developing young people not only in their physical being but also in their mental and spiritual beings. The organization planned to start a model African Christian Initiation Program in the North Rift region of the country as they engaged in monitoring and assessment of existing programs.

In recognition of the original efforts by PCEA in terms of implementation of this kind of program, EldoGADNet approached the PCEA Ayub Kinyua, Eldoret in September 2004 for partnership in starting the model program. The initial meeting was held between EldoGADNet and the Parish minister and Mr. Stephen Mbugua at the Ayub Kinyua Parish office in early September. Later, EldoGADNET was informed that the Presbyterian Church Men Fellowship (P.C.M.F) of the Ayub Kinyua Parish had been thinking of starting such a program in the model of the one coordinated by one Rev. Kogo in Kikuyu. EldoGADNet and PCMF agreed to go ahead and share resources towards implementing the program. The understanding however was that the program would not be limited to PCEA but open to all religions and all ethnic communities in the North Rift. Since then, EldoGADNet has worked closely with PCEA and other churches around Eldoret and now we have the program in place.

The workshop began on Dec. 1 at the Mother of Apostles seminary when we received boys who required circumcision for cultural/religious and/or health reasons. We registered a total of seventeen boys drawn from the Kikuyu and Kalenjin communities, the two major ethnic groups in the region. That night the boys were engaged in worship. They were committed to God as well as given pre-circumcision counseling by Rev. Samoei of the Reformed Church of East Africa. On 2nd December 2004, doctors from the Moi Referral and Teaching Hospital came and operated on the boys in the infirmary of the Mother of Apostles Seminary.

For the last five days the boys have been healing as they go on with passive activities in worship, talks, reading, playing games and watching of educational video tapes selected from ACIP library. Today these boys are being joined by five other boys and twenty three girls within the ages of 12 to 17years. In total therefore we have 45 young people who will tomorrow start the educational part of the program. This comprises of talks from trained and experienced professionals on such topics as Self esteem, HIV/AIDS, Drug Abuse, Gender Issues, Study Skills, Relationships, peer pressure, Time and Leisure Management, and Secrets to Success, among others. The educational component runs through to 11th of December when the participants who will have successfully gone through the program will graduate. Consequently, they will be commissioned and blessed to go out into the world as responsible adults. It is expected that over the Graduation ceremony, each of the participants make a specific commitment and promise to God, to themselves and to their parents, a promise that they will inscribe on their certificates in their own handwriting and sign against it.

We in EldoGADNet thank the PCEA for cooperation and hope that this program will continue to run annually as we continue to seek to streamline all other such programs in the country to come up with a standard and systematized national program. We challenge and invite all churches to work with us to start as many of these throughout the North Rift region and eventually throughout Kenya.

4.30– 5.50 pm: Presentation by Prof. Naomi Shitemi
Prof. Shitemi stressed on the need to seek God in parenting since there is no school of parenting. Reflecting and sharing on her personal life, she indicated how she has been trained to do various things except how to be a parent. Like everybody else, by the time she has learnt by doing and may say she has some expertise in parenting, she has no children of her own to parent as hey have already grown up. Though she still has to parent them, they are beyond the formative years of character building. Sharing the word of God with them and sharing experiences with other parents can be helpful in this difficult task of parenting.

5.50 – 6.40pm: Presentation by Simon Chesseto
Mr. Chesseto stressed on the importance of parents to invest in their children’s education, the importance of men to listen to their wives and the importance of leading by example. Sharing his experiences, Mr. Chessetto appealed to their parents to give a lot of time to parenting by taking time to listen to their children and giving them the best in life. Eventually parenting pays because at the end of the day one’s success really depends not on his/her level of education or the amount of money he/she has made but on the sort of family one has brought up.

6.40 – 7.25pm: Open Discussion
There followed an open discussion in which parents shared their experiences; their fears, their hopes, their joys, their frustrations etc. The parents agreed that there is need for more sessions for parents to come together and share on the difficult but exciting challenge of parenting. After the discussion by parents, Pamela Abuya gave Vote of Thanks to the aprets for coming and for enrolling their children for the program and to all who had so far supported the program in one way or the other.

At about 7.30pm, Rev. Samoei led in the Closing Prayer. After some refreshments, the parents left for their homes leaving their children under the care of ACIP.

Between 7.30 and 8.00pm, the new group of participants had supper after which they were taken through a session of Worship, Commitment to God and pre-counseling by Dr. Emily Choge. Reading from the book of Joshua, Dr. Choge indicated that like the Israelites, Kenyan have been going round in circles in the desert without getting to the promised land. Many Kenyans, like the Israelites have died in the desert due to ignorance, disease, and poverty, the very evils that the country vowed to eliminate upon independence. On the eve of the 41st year of Independence Kenya requires young men and women of courage and good moral standing to lead them to the promised land that is free from disease, ignorance and poverty. Like Joshua and Caleb, Dr. Choge challenged the participants to respond positively to their election as a new generation that is able to lead Kenya to the Promised Land.

After this powerful message the participants learnt “The Joshua Generation Song” to buttress the central message and theme of the workshop:


We are able to go up and take the country
To possess the land from Jordan to the Sea
Though the giants may be on our way to hinder
God will surely give us victory

ONLY: Move on to the righteous side x 2
Move on to the righteous side of God (Halleluya)
Move on to the righteous side x 2
Move on to the righteous side of God

After the song, Dr. Kamaara presented the rules and regulations by which the participants were to operate through out the ACIP workshop. They all agreed to abide by them and concurred that they would design the punishment for anyone who breaks any of the rules.

After a closing prayer by Dr. Choge and one of the participants the participants retired to bed at 9.30pm.

Day 7: Tuesday December 7, 2004
The Day began with breakfast between 7.30 and 8.00am after which all the participants were led in worship by Dr. Emily Choge. Worship centred on the theme of choosing between life and death with a final word appealing to the youth to choose life. The Joshua generation song was sung over and over again until all were familiar with it as the theme song of the workshop.

8.30 – 10.00am: Confidence, Personal Hygiene and Self Esteem by Pamela Abuya

Definition of terms
What is confidence? This is a feeling of self assurance, a feeling that one is in control, a happy feeling of security and contentment. This is expressed in mode of dressing (Are clothes fitting? comfortable? Are zips and buttons in place?), walking (gait), speaking, grooming, personal hygiene, and general presentation of the self. It has to do with feeling important, healthy and fresh. These things play a great part in building (boosting) self confidence.

What is esteem? This refers to high regard for something. Self esteem is therefore high regard of the self. Esteem has to do with admiration, honour, love, respect, and adoration. People who have self esteem admire themselves, find favour with themselves. They have a good opinion of themselves, have self assurance, respect and love themselves, like themselves and believe in themselves. This implies overcoming frustrations, coping effectively with life’s challenges, addressing problems positively, and being content with life. People with self esteem are always industrious, avoid excuses, but constantly assess themselves for purposes of self improvement.

Self esteem is nurtured in the process of socialization by significant others but more so by the self. One can build on his/her esteem by:
• Avoid comparing yourself with others. Everybody is unique with his/her own strengths and weaknesses
• Set your own goals and your own standard
• Recognize your special talents and develop them to the full
• Improve on your health and hygiene for example by eating well balanced food and adopting healthy lifestyles
• Accept and appreciate yourself especially those traits that you cannot change
• Do not worry over things that you cannot change such as family background and natural looks
• Be realistic to avoid frustrations
• Believe in yourself
• Spend time with people who genuinely care for you and make you happy
• Learn something new every now and then especially life skills like swimming and cycling
• Give yourself challenges and new experiences
• Develop a sense of humour
• Have a positive attitude to life; for example look at obstacles as opportunities
• Make good use of all opportunities to learn and share positive values
• Learn to accept and cope with failure. One does not always get what he/she wants in life.
• If you fail in something assess yourself and see where you went wrong.
• Be assertive in all that you do so that you are a “go-getter”
• If you are sure something is right, do it and do not let yourself be swayed away from your goals
• Do not be afraid to change your mind.
• Never give up.

Concluding remarks
For basic body care:
1. Always take a balanced diet and avoid sweets and oils ( Opt for “glow”, “grow” and “go” and foods)
2. Do a lot of exercises to strengthen your body and keep fit
3. Work spiritually, mentally and physically to keep your soul, mind and body alert. Work makes us human.
4. Rest well for adequate time; at least 6-7 hours every night
5. Bathe regularly using mild soaps and oils
6. Brush your teeth at least twice every day
For general well being:
1. Fell good about yourself
2. Be confident
3. Solve your problems and face challenges creatively
4. Assert yourself
5. Be aware of yourself
6. Understand and appreciate yourself

10.30 – 1pm: Relationships by Mary Wahome
Mrs Mary Wahome led the discussions follows: Human beings are social beings by nature. They can not survive on their own but need to be constantly in relationships. There are four levels of relationships:
1. Relationship with God
2. Relationship with self
3. Relationship with other human beings
4. Relationship with the environment
Relationship with God: God is the creator of human beings and therefore we have to have a relationship with Him. He gave humans dignity and equal value so that by virtue of creation both male and female are equal human beings (Gen. 1: 27). Theologically, humans were created as special for fellowship with God and were commissioned to dominate the rest of creation. Domination however is not in the negative sense but in terms of proper and responsible management of the creation. Humans were given freedom of choice upon creation. Whenever humans fail, God brings them back to fellowship with him through His mercy, forgiveness and love. Our souls are restless until we find our place with God.

Relationship with self: Humans are aware of themselves and aware of their being because of their dignity and worth. This is why everybody should have high self esteem. Having self esteem involves respecting oneself and taking care of oneself in body, mind and soul. Recognising the uniqueness of the self, one has to be aware of his talents and abilities.

Relationship with other Human Beings: As social beings humans relates with others from the moment of conception to death at different levels and for different reasons. Hence we talk about human societies the basic social unit being the family. Significant others, that is, those in your immediate environment have the greatest influence on you. The golden rule is to exercise virtue and due respect as follows:
1. Relating with Parents: Love, obedience and respect are due to all parents irrespective of their status or place in society by virtue of their being parents. When old or sick or needy they require your assistance.
2. Relating with siblings: Love, kindness, and respect are due to our siblings whether they are younger or older than us. If they are younger, we have an obligation to guide them and to be good role models. We should not exploit them because they are younger and probably weaker than us. On the contrary we should inspire them with responsible behaviour. If they are older, we have a duty to obey them and to follow their example if it is good.
3. Relating with other relatives, neighbours, house helps, colleagues, etc is to be guided by respect and concern.
4. Relationship with strangers should be guided by care and concern BUT with caution. Avoid unnecessary association with strangers.

Relationship with the environment
Other than human beings we have relationships with the rest of creation such as animals, plants, and inanimate things. For this we should be responsible managers given that we are not owners but trustees of these resources. We should use them knowing that the resources belong also to future generations. For example in school, one should take care of chairs and tables so that those who come after you have good resources to sue. We should be careful to preserve non-renewable resources for the benefit of future generations. To animals we offer kindness. Use all resources including mobile phones responsible to improve relationships at all levels rather than to destroy.

2.00 – 3.30pm: Gender Issues with emphasis on Rape by Dr. Kamaara
Dr. Kamaara began by differentiating between gender and sex. While gender is dynamic sex is constant. While gender is socially constructed, sex is natural and while sex is universal, gender varies from society to society and from time to time. Sex has to do with sexual and reproductive roles but gender is about social roles. Sex is about physical and hormonal characteristics but gender is about what is permissible and what is not; about femininity and masculinity.

A critical analysis of traditional gender roles indicates that traditionally society has reserved “serving” jobs for women but reserved “boss’s” jobs to men. While men may be doctors, women should be nurses, men should be pilots but women should be hostesses, judges are men, engineers are men, while nursery school teachers are women. When we talk of presidents we think of men but when we think of cleaners we think of women. We have housewives but not househusbands etc. Moreover paid jobs are for men but unpaid labour is for women. All these indicate unfairness in distribution of gender roles.

Men are said to be courageous, strong, wise, reasonable and honest while women are considered as cowards, weak, stupid, irrational and dishonest. Men can keep secrets women cannot. Etc. These attributes indicate gender unfairness.

Men may own property and make major decisions in the family. Women may not. Women work on farms but hey have no control over the produce from the farms.

Boys are good in Mathematics and the physical sciences but girls are good in languages. Is this really the case? Not quite. Gender is about perceptions rather than facts.

The Relationship between gender relations and irresponsible youth sexual behaviour
While Africa is not a homogeneous unit, certain generalizations may be made on common attitudes and behavior. In terms of gender and sexual behavior, a certain model prevails not only in Africa but also all over the world. This model has been referred to as the fertility –oriented model (Kisembo et al:1977, 96). In Africa, the model is derived from traditional African culture, Christianity, and modernity all together combined. It recognizes fertility as the determining factor in man-woman relationships. Within this model, a woman does not exist as a sexual being with her own right or for her own sake. According to Kisembo and others, “she exists first as mother of her husband’s children. Apart from this necessary requirement, she is of little importance” (Ibid). This explains why childlessness is the worst experience for an African woman. The main characteristic of this model is male dominance and female subordination in sexual encounters. While masculinity is celebrated, femininity is held in contempt.

In Africa, the fertility-oriented model is found among all ethnic groups though its manifestations differ from one group to another in terms intensity. The model exerts pressure and expectations on masculinity and femininity affecting male and female attitudes in sexual experiences and relations. The expectations of male dominance and female subordination are learnt right form the oedipal phase of psycho-sexual development through adolescence and the attendant initiation rites. Young people seek to conform to socio-cultural definitions of masculinity and femininity.

In their attempts to dominate, as is expected of them, some young men engage in irresponsible sex. For example, some unmarried men coerce their girlfriends into sexual activity if only to express dominance, and consequently, their manhood. Others express their contempt of femininity by having sex with as many girls as possible without any expression of affection, care or respect due to the attitude that women are sexual objects for use by men. On the other hand, young women lack in control over their sexual behavior. Many of them do not assertively resist male sexual advances as they have been socialized to be passive and to submit to male demands.

The fertility-oriented model expects men to display uncontrolled sexual desires and prowess in a way that a man who is faithful to his wife is referred to as a dominated male. Macho men are expected to be polygamous or unfaithful in monogamous unions. At the same time, men are expected to take initiative in sexual encounters and to be sexually experienced. Young men conform to these expectations resulting into sexual mobility. With modernity, and more specifically, growing gender awareness and women empowerment, some women and girls are transgressing the limits set by traditional definitions of femininity to initiate sexual advances. Some young men are unable to resist such sexual advances from women to a point where they are actually harassed into unwanted sexual activity rather than be labeled as lacking in masculinity.

The fertility-oriented model of gender relations expects men to be strong and to display readiness to take risks. In their attempts to fit into this definition, some young men find risky sexual behavior exciting. The risk of impregnating a girl or of contracting a sexually transmitted disease including HIV/AIDS is worth taking for some. Indeed, unsafe sex is seen as an assertion of manhood. A common adage among the Luo of Western Kenya on masculinity in the face of HIV/AIDS is that a bull dies with grass in its mouth.

In general, the fertility-oriented model may be referred to as the dominant male sexual model. Kisembo and others provides a comprehensive summary of this thus:
Whereas the woman is weak and inferior, the man is strong by common presumption and dominant. He is the bearer of the seed of life, the destiny and activator of human life. The initiative in any undertaking, including sexual relationships in [and outside] marriage is his. The woman is as it were a passive receptacle. It is up to the man to choose his wife never the other way round (Kisembo et al, 97).
This model is present in traditional societies as well as modern ones among both young and older men and women.

The Need for Gender Equality
Gender equality is about giving equal opportunities to women rather than letting society present to us a biased view. Gender empowerment is about empowering both men and women to transgress the bounds set by society because when we have a biased view of humanity every one suffers. Due to unfavourable gender relations, irresponsible sexual activity is rampant in Kenya. The results of such behaviour are there for all to see.

The struggle for gender equality is a human rights struggle, a struggle for justice. Like all other forms of corruption such as racial discrimination and tribalism, discrimination of persons on the basis of gender denies persons their basic human rights as well as distorts their humanity by infringing on their dignity and value as equal human persons. It is therefore a form of injustice and thus negatively related to development.

Gender injustice has many negative effects such as abuse of human rights, inability to exploit people’s potential, gender conflict and violence. All these are positively related to poverty and underdevelopment. Among the major effects of gender bias is gender violence characterized by physical, emotional, psychological, and sexual abuse of women. Under sexual abuse we wish to, for now, focus on rape which increasing continues to be a menace in the Kenyan society today. To this we now turn:

Rape is having sexual intercourse with a person against her/his wish; to force someone to have sex. Research indicates that for every thirty minutes a woman is raped in Kenya. A rapist can be anybody and anyone can be raped. Rape cases mostly occur in dark secluded places and the hour between 5.30pm and 6.00pm is when most of the reported cases occur.

When we hear of rape we think of a rough looking stranger sneaking out of a bush to attack the victim. However, anybody can be a rapist including a well dressed person known to us. About a third of all cases of rape occur at or near home by familiar people, sometimes relatives. Be ware. You could be raped.
How to reduce the chances of being raped
• Avoid walking in secluded places unless in the company of trusted persons
• Walk fast and confidently; purposively
• Avoid using the same route at the same time all the time
• Wear decent clothes that do not expose your body
• Never leave your drink unattended
• Avoid lifts from people you are not sure about
• Avoid company that you are not sure of
• Follow your instincts; Better feel silly than sorry
In one sentence, avoid situations of rape, be confident and purposeful and always follow your instincts.

In the unfortunate incident that you are raped you may feel ashamed, guilty, embarrassed, hurt, sorry for yourself, defiled etc. You should not allow yourself to feel guilty or ashamed. The person to be ashamed and guilty is the offender not you. Overcome your emotions immediately and act immediately in this order:
1. Seek medical attention at the nearest hospital or clinic
2. Report to the police station
3. Talk to your parent and friends for emotional support

Between 4.30 and 6.30pm participants watched the video Betrayed after which they went into three groups to discuss the following questions in preparation for the first session for the following day.

Video discussion guide
1. Watch the video in a large group without any interruption
2. Divide yourselves into three groups with between 8 and 10 boys and girls with equal numbers. Each group can borrow the video and view at their own time for any clarifications
3. Each group then gathers in different rooms and discuss the issues raised in their discussion paper
4. Each group should select one person to chair and one person to record and report tomorrow morning. Use large nice illustrations to do this.

Group 1
1. Outline the key messages in the video. Relate them to the most serious reproductive health problems among the youth.
2. Who ahs betrayed who in this film? Concentrate on the main actors and the institutions depicted in the film.
3. What information, what skills, what services does Koso (the key actor) need in order to avoid unwanted pregnancy and its complications? What does Naki need to know, what skills, and attitudes should he have?

Group 2
1. Outline the key messages in this video. Relate them to the most serious reproductive health problems among the youth.
2. Who ahs betrayed who in this film? Concentrate on the main actors and the institutions depicted in this film.
3. What are some of the common sexually and non sexually transmitted infections that may be associated with unsafe sex as engaged in by Koso, the main actor and Naki, her boyfriend?
4. What information, what skills, what services does Kosos and her boyfriend need to prevent sexually transmitted infections and their complications?
Group 3
1. What are the chances that Koso could also have contracted HIV/AIDS during the episode of unsafe sex?
2. How could Kosos find out that she ahs been infected with HIV/AIDS?
3. How would Kosos prevent infection of the unborn baby from HIV infection?
4. How would you relate to Koso if she is infected with HIV? What does she need?

7.30 – 9.00pm: Video on Whom do I Turn To?

Day 8: Wednesday December 8, 2004.
8.00 – 8.30am: Morning Worship led by the Praise and Worship team from PCEA.

8.30 – 10.00am: Responsible Sexual Behaviour by Dr. E. Were
The session began with group reports from the previous night’s discussions as follows:
Group 1
Question 1: The key messages are avoiding premarital sex, abortions, and situations of temptations. The most serious reproductive health problems among the youth associated with the behaviour depicted in the video are unwanted pregnancies, abortions, STIs including HIV, and stress..

Question 2: Naki has betrayed Koso, the girlfriend, Koso has betrayed her family who had high hopes for her, and the doctor has betrayed Koso, his patient.

Question 3: Koso needs information on the consequences of premarital sex, how to avoid premarital sex, and how to avoid unwanted pregnancies. She needs practical life skills on how to say no to sex. Naki needs to know the consequences of premarital sex, the need to respect Koso, the need to be responsible for his actions, and the need to care for other people. He need practical life skills on how to avoid sex skills and should have positive attitudes to life.

Group 2
Question 1 and 2: As by Group 1.

Question 3: Some of the common sexually and non sexually transmitted infections that may be associated with unsafe sex as engaged in by Koso, the main actor and Naki, her boyfriend are HIV, gonorrhea, syphilis, herpes, fungal infections, etc.

Question 4: Koso and her boyfriend need to know the consequences of premarital sex and how to avoid it.

Group 3
Question 1: Chances are high that Koso could also have contracted HIV/AIDS during the episode of unsafe sex.

Question 2: Koso could find out if she has been infected with HIV/AIDS by visiting a Voluntary Testing and Counseling Centre.

Question 3: Kosos can prevent infection of the unborn baby from HIV infection by seeking prenatal medical services.
Question 4: If Koso is infected with HIV I would provide her with what she needs most; love, care, support.

After the group presentations, Dr. Were began by asking participants to indicate what they expect to learn in the session on responsible sexuality. The following questions were presented as of concern: What is sexual behaviour? What drives young people to engage in sex? What are the consequences of premarital sex?

Thereafter, Dr. Were led the discussion as follows:
What is sexual behaviour? Mention sex, sexuality or sexual behaviour and everyone gets images of naked bodies in erotic positions. Yet sexuality is wider than that. It is the whole being of who we are as male or female. This is reflected in our physical characteristics but also in our hormonal characteristics. It is because the physical characteristics are the conspicuous ones that we focus narrowly on them when referring to sexuality.
For our purposes however, we wish to adopt the limited understanding of sexual behaviour to refer to sexual relations between unmarried boys and girls, and more specifically among teenagers. We can call it sexual intercourse.

What drives young people to engage in sex? Peer pressure is among the major factors driving young people to engage in sex. There is a lie that everyone is having sex so that one feels out if he/she is not in sex. But you are not everyone so that even if everyone was having sex you still would not have this as a good reason to have sex.

Another major factor is physiological factor in the sense that as teenagers our bodies are developing sexual hormones which urges one to have sex (sexual urges/drives and impulses). The thing to remember is that sex is a good and sacred thing that God gave human beings for certain purposes. Indeed it is very pleasurable but ONLY if it is done at the rightful time by the rightful people in the rightful way. This is essentially because like all human acts, the sexual act has certain consequences. These consequences are wanted and fine if they come to married and therefore the rightful place for sex is in marriage. Outside marriage, the consequences are unwanted and pose many problems leading to other worse consequences.

What are the consequences of premarital sex? The consequences of premarital sex are pregnancies, abortions, STIs including HIV/AIDS, emotional disturbance, unwanted children, school drop out, regrets and loss of self esteem, etc. Before you have sex, think of the consequences and assess whether you are ready for it in terms of: Do you have the emotional strength to cope, are you ready for the consequences, and is it timely and purposeful for you to have sex? Like drugs, sex is addictive; once you have sex you want to have it over and over again until it becomes a career that you put all your energies in pursuing.

What is responsible sexual behaviour? Responsible sexual behaviour is about realizing the beauty of sex and appreciating sex as a beautiful gift that is sacred and should therefore not be misused. If one is to engage in sex, he/she has to ask himself/herself whether he/she is ready for to face the consequences responsibly.

What would you like to be in life? Participants responded: lecturer, engineer, doctor, surgeon, ambassador, lawyer, architect, etc. You can not achieve any of this unless you are responsible in sexual behaviour. The ABCDEF of sex applies in sexual responsibility. “A” students like you go for Abstinence. This is the surest and safest way to lead responsible sexual lives before marriage. “B” students go for Being faithful to only one sexual partner. But being faithful to one sexual partner is tricky when one is not married because there is no permanency in premarital relationships. In fact it is not even possible to be faithful because you are not in control of the other partner. Moreover, while being faithful may control STIs, they do not control all the other negative consequences. So you will still suffer from pregnancies, emotional imbalances, abortions/unwanted pregnancies, etc. You are not “B” students. “C” students go for Condom use. Unfortunately, condom use may prevent pregnancy and STIs but not all the time because their effectiveness depends very much on proper use. Moreover, all the other negative consequences of sex will be felt. You are not “C” students. “D” students may be seeking Death but if they are lucky they may ….. “E” students are in an emergency. If you have any of the unwanted consequences of sex seek emergency support for counseling, treatment, etc. “F” is for total Failure. Forget about the past and make a decision today that from now onwards You are “A” students. Let each one of us aspire to remain there as “A” students and we will lead responsible lives that will be rewarded with beautiful life and sex in marriage.
Dr. Were then demonstrated the use of both the male and the female condom but emphasized the need for all to be and remain “A” students so that they have no need for condoms. Reminder: Nobody has ever died of lack of sex but millions die of the consequences irresponsible sex..

10.30am – 1.00pm: STIs and HIV/AIDS (Dr. Otieno-Nyunya)

What is an STI? A Sexually Transmitted Infection is an infection that is transmitted through sexual intercourse. There are various organisms that infect our body system such as bacteria, viruses, protozoa, fungus, etc. Viruses are incurable but he others are curable.

What is STD? Sexually Transmitted diseases are different from STIs in that after infection the white cells seek to fight the infection. On many occasions, the white cells are able to fight the infection without the person realizing what ahs been going on and so not knowing that he/she had an infection. But if the white cells are unable to fight the infection the body develops symptoms and signs like pain, swellings, rashes, coughing, discharge, ulcers, etc. Somebody who has symptoms and signs has a disease. One can be infected but have no disease but one cannot have a disease without infection.
HIV, the Human Immune-deficiency Virus, is the infection that causes the Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, a situation where the body ahs lost immunity (ability to fight diseases) and therefore all kinds of infections and diseases affect the body. These diseases are called opportunistic diseases because they take advantage (opportunity) of the poor immunity of the body to attach a person.

Symptoms are the health complaints made by a patient such as pain, discomfort, nausea, etc while signs are the observable aspects of a disease that can be seen by the doctor and the patient such as swellings, ulcers, vomiting, fever, discharge, etc.

Common Symptoms of HIV/AIDS
 Excessive loss of weight
 Swelling of lymph glands
 Fever
 Ulcers
 Skin rashes
 Discharge
 Diarrhea

Why are Youth more at risk of acquiring STIs/HIV/AIDS than other people?
 They are sexually active
 They are often sexually mobile (many sexual partners)
 They are ignorant
 They are adventurous
 They are naïve and easily confused by older persons
 They are more vulnerable to rape
 Due to economic reasons since they have no income of their own so some can become prostitutes
 Cultural reasons such as FGM, early marriage, cleansing rites, etc
 Women/girls are more at risk than men/boys because of cultural and biological reasons

How to Prevent STIs/HIV/AIDS
 The ABCDE of sex applies. Only A can keep you free of STIs/HIV/AIDS. We have agreed that we are “A” students. Let us abstain. But if you are STUPID enough to risk your life and future with sex, use condoms to reduce the risk.

Alternatives to Sex
Young people have a lot of libido and if this is not channeled to some activity the youth will vent it out in sex. To use up your energy and time:
 Be involved in games
 Be involved in church activities
 Have hobbies and learn new ones often
 Set your life goals and pursue them diligently

Discussion on the two sessions
Question: Is there anything wrong with masturbation? What is sexual behaviour? What drives young people to engage in sex? What are the consequences of premarital sex? There are many myths on masturbation. However, medically, there is absolutely nothing wrong with the act. Even small babies masturbate. The danger is in the physical objects used especially by women and also in becoming obsessed with it so that you pursue it at the expense of other things. Emotionally/psychologically it will only affect you if you overindulge because then it becomes an obsession.

2.00 – 3.30pm: Drug Abuse including Suicide by Dr. Kamaara
What is a drug? Any chemical substance that alters the normal functioning of the human body in terms of mood, perceptions, and other body functions like heart beat, blood pressure, etc. Drugs may be divided into medical and social drugs. Medical drugs are used for medicinal purposes as preventive or curative medicine for example, valium, aspirins, cough syrups, malariaquin, etc. Social drugs are taken for cultural, social and leisure purposes for example, alcohol, miraa, marijuana, etc. Drugs may also be divided into positive and negative drugs where negative drugs are those taken for medicinal purposes while negative ones are taken for leisure.

How Drugs work
All drugs have the effect of either depressing or stimulating the central nervous system thereby inhibiting judgment, perception and functioning of the body. As stimulants, drugs fasten the body functions while as laxatives (depressants) they slow the functioning.

Why do people use drugs?
 To relieve pain
 To prevent a disease
 To cure a disease
 For leisure
 As additives to improve taste and flavour etc

What is drug Abuse?
A drug is said to be abused if it is used for any other purposes other than the ones for which it is intended or when it is misused. Medical drugs are misused if they are taken without a doctor’s prescription or taken in higher or lower doses that those prescribed. While some medical drugs may be sold over the counter without a doctor’s prescription, others, usually the potent more ones may not be sold without a doctor’s prescription. Social drugs are said to be abused when they are used for purposes other that relaxation and social integration and cohesion. Normally, drugs are more abused than abused because they are addictive.

Effects of Drug Abuse
 Social problems like conflict and violence plus social irresponsibility leading to separation and divorce
 Economic effects since poverty is positively related to drug abuse
 Health effects: Abuse of alcohol is associated with liver problems while smoking is associated with cancer of the lungs
 Psychological effects: people who are addicted to drugs experience withdrawal syndrome and do not fit well in society. Excessive use of drugs may lead to madness.
 Physical addiction: The most dangerous quality of a drug is addictiveness. While psychic addiction is manageable, physical addiction may require hospitalization and prolonged medication
 Morally drugs lead to laxity and loss of control because drugs reduce inhibitions and judgment. Thus many drug abusers end in criminal activities like stealing to sustain their habits, and in social evils such as irresponsible sexual behaviour.
 Loss of lives due to early deaths

Why are young People prone to abuse drugs?
 Due to negative peer pressure which is high due to identity crisis
 To be popular/recognized again due to their identity crisis
 Out of curiosity: Due to the mental awakening accompanying physical development at the youthful stage of human growth, young people tend to be explorative and curious.
 Influence from irresponsible adults: Some young people copy the behaviour from their fathers and elder siblings and relatives
 The glamorous way in which drugs are advertised in mass media gives the false impression that certain drugs lead to success eg. “Bia imara kama Simba”, “The smooth way to go places”, “makes us equal has no equal”, “The best way to make friends” and “The family pack brings the family together” etc.
 To rebel against authority as they seek their own identity
 To cope with frustrations such as academic pressure
 Idleness

How to Avoid Drug Abuse
 Say NO to drugs. Do not try them., at least not in youth because once you chances are that you will be unable to control yourself due to the fact that youth are prone to drug abuse
 Avoid bad company
 Be aware of the effects of drug abuse
In the unfortunate event that you are already abusing drugs seek help immediately. It is never too late but the earlier help is sought the better. Seek medical advice, talk to your parents and trusted friends and relatives for emotional support.

Between 4.30 – 5.30pm the participants watched a video on drugs entitled, Enslaved by Substance Abuse after which they divided themselves into three groups to discuss the following questions:
1. Identify the possible reasons that made Mike start abusing drugs?
2. What are the effects of Mike’s abuse of drugs?
3. What could have been done by Mike, the father, the mother, and the sister to help Mike come out of drug abuse?

Between 5.30 – 6.30pm there were group reports and discussion as follows:
1. The possible reasons that could have made Mike abuse drugs are:
 Bad company and peer pressure
 Idleness since we do not see him actively engaged in any activity
 Lack of attention from his parents since the father does not feature anywhere until after he ahs committed suicide
 Curiosity
2. Effects of Mike’s abuse of drugs include:
 Withdrawal
 Loss of self esteem
 Immoral behaviour
 Suicide
3. The following could have been done to help Mike come out of drug abuse:
 Proper care and attention from parents- The father is absent until Mike dies, when the sister tried to draw the mother’s attention to Mike’s behaviour the mother was too busy to listen
 Continuous medical care from a counselor- The parents do not seem to have given adequate follow up on this
 Continuous care and concern from the sister – She gave up when the mother did not listen to her
If all these people responded effectively when they learnt that Mike was abusing drugs, they could have saved him from suicide.
7.30 – 9.00pm: Videos- Teapot and Think Sex or Love

Day 9: Thursday December 9, 2004
Within the time between 8.00 – 8.30am there was Morning Worship led by Eunice Kamaara. After a word of prayer from Collins Macharia, Kamaara shared from the book of Genesis 21:27-34 where Esau sold his birthright to his brother Isaac for a plate of food. She explained to the participants that a moment’s pleasure can lead to loss of birthright. She illustrated this by explaining that premarital sex provides a moment’s pleasure but costs one a lifetime right to life. She appealed to the participants to guard their birthrights jealously and to choose life. After this reflection the participants sang some chorus and the workshop anthem.

8.30 – 10.00am: Study Skills by Catherine Buteyo
Buteyo’s presentation was as follows:
For effective study, one has to begin by
1. Organizing the study environment. You should choose a location that enables you to study without interruption. Avoid noisy and crowded places but also avoid lonely places where you may feel insecure.

2. Organize what you have to read. Are the reading materials systematic? Are they clear? She then asked the participants to identify the things that make it difficult for one to concentrate in study. Participants identified the following: noise, thinking about home, thinking about sex and its consequences, thinking about money, thinking about friends, being bored, having no goals, being under the influence of drugs, lack of self esteem, lack of adequate time, illness, interruptions, etc. On how they can avoid such problems, the participants the need to avoid drugs, to avoid premarital sex, to have a positive attitude about life and about the self, to pray and relax about things one has no control over, to have clear set goals, to be focused on what is important at any one time, be organized, be disciplined, follow timetable strictly, etc.

3. Time Management. It is essential to understand how time can be used to achieve your objectives. There is time for class, time for private study, time for games, time for meals, weekends, time for helping at home, etc. Think in terms of the workload for study: How many subjects are you taking? What time do you give to each subject? How many books do you have to read? How do you study as a group and individually? There are some golden rules of time management:
1. Always plan your time
2. Concentrate on one thing at a time
3. Take breaks
4. Choose a conducive environment
5. Do not be a perfectionist
6. Learn to say NO to what you do not want to do
7. Avoid procrastination
8. Consult appropriately

Questions to guide oneself
 How can poor planning lead to poor academic performance?
 What is the importance of education to the self, the family, the community, the country, humanity? Makes one a better human, makes one find self fulfillment, improves standard/quality of life, contributes to development, creates new knowledge, etc.
 How do subjects relate to career?

10.30 – 1.00pm: Peer Pressure by Dr. Levis Nguku
Drawing from Luke 15: 11-24, Dr. Nguku indicated the impact of influence. He gave the symbolism of a carrot and an egg and their response to heat. Eggs become hard but carrots become soft. Influence from friends and relatives can make us respond in a positive or a negative way. The influence may be positive or negative. Influence from our age-mates and colleagues is referred to as peer pressure. It can be negative or positive.
When faced with a situation ask yourself these three questions:
 What is the situation?
 What have I been taught?
 What are the consequences?
If the situation is negative and what you have been taught is negative and the consequences are negative say NO assertively. If everything is positive say YES assertively. If the consequences are negative say NO assertively. If the situation is negative but the teachings are positive and the consequences are positive, say YES assertively.

The transitional period from childhood to adulthood is particularly dangerous in terms of peer pressure because of the sexual and identity crises that characterize it. The role of the youth is to fight the crises by controlling or fighting sexual excitement, feelings of low esteem, desire to belong to certain groups, desire to oppose authority, and desire to be independent. The important thing to do identify negative peer pressure and say NO to it assertively, to identify positive peer pressure and say YES to it, and to pick appropriate role models without coping everything from them. Even successful people make mistakes once in a while.

2.00 – 3.30pm: Secrets to Success by Dr. Levis Nguku

What is success? Making a lot of money? Passing all examinations? Having many friends? Being admired by many? Not quite. Success is about achieving one’s set goals. If you have no goals, making a lot of money, for example, may not be success as it could destroy you. Making money, passing examinations, having many friends, getting a good job, being popular etc are not ends in themselves and could be destructive if one has no set goals. See Joshua 1: 1-7. In setting the right goals and pursuing them, you need to:
1. Ask yourself what your purpose in life is and exactly what you would like to be in terms of career and family.
2. Plan how to achieve your purpose by setting SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-bound) objectives
3. Choose associates well. Ask yourself whether specific people will be obstacles or assets on your road to success. Associate with those who encourage you towards your goal and avoid the company of those who discourage you.

The ABC of Success
A- Aim for the stars. The sky is no limit so think beyond it
B- Believe in yourself by having a strong conviction that you can make
C- Conquer- Nothing is unachievable

After the 4 O’clock tea, there were Cleaning up exercises to emphasize the importance of environmental management. Then there was dinner at 6.30 pm and thereafter a Video show.

Day 10, Friday December 10, 2004
The morning worship was led by the praise and worship team from P.C.E.A. Ayub Kinyua parish.

8.30-11.00am: Time and Leisure Management/Teenage Speak by Joyce Nyairo
Preparing for the future is not about work and study only. It is also about leisure. What we do with our leisure time has a lot to do with whether we become successful or not.
What is leisure? Leisure is free time from work, recreation, play time. The mood of leisure time is relaxed, happy, and joyful. The opposite of relaxed is bored. The feeling of a bored person is sadness, emptiness, useless, unhappy etc.
God’s people are happy people. The word “joy” appears 163 times in the Bible while the word “bored” appears only once in the book of Kings and even then it refers to boring a water hole. To be bored is to be uncreative.
Recreation begins with oneself.

How to use leisure time effectively
 Use it to acquire life-skills i.e. skills that can empower you in life such as domestic chores like cooking, games such as swimming, cycling, etc
 Improving on social relations such as visiting friends who have positive peer pressure
 Helping the community around you by engaging in charity work, environmental management, helping others learn life-skills etc
 Listening to music. Observing that young people love music, Nyairo focused on Music as one way of using leisure time. She told them: “Listen to music and hear what it is telling you. Is it a positive message? Does the music work as an obstacle to achieving your objectives? Music ahs a way of carrying a person away from reason but you must always be alert. What is the music telling you to do? Where is the dance taking place? What time is it taking place and who will be there? Is it a safe place? Is the timing safe or do I expose myself to unnecessary risks? Music stars are often idolized by the youth. Are they the right role models for us? Be mentally alert and very critical of what you see and hear. As a young person, develop and maintain the ability to control your behaviour.

2.00 – 3.00pm Workshop Evaluation
Over this time participants were requested to evaluate the workshop under the guidance of Mr. Kiarie. The evaluation went on as follows:
• Length of Time and Timing
All participants said the timing was good because it does not take participants away from home over Jamhuri and Christmas celebrations. 28 participants said the time was short, 9 participants said it was long, and 8 participants said it was adequate.
• Catering
All participants said the food was adequate but the boys complained that in the first few days it was too much food and the meals too frequent that they suffered “stomach expansion”. . 31 participants described the food as perfect, good, nutritious, wonderful. 8 participants said it was not good, monotonous (lacking variety).
• Hostels
All the boys were happy with their hostels and described them as good though the mattresses were too thin for comfort. The girls indicated that the hostels were not very clean and the toilets were dirty and smelly. The doors for the bathrooms could not be locked. They recommended high density mattresses, greater management of resources, and mosquito nets.
• Talks
All the participants concurred that the talks were educative, systematic, and interesting. All the speakers were wonderful. But there is need to have persons living with HIV/AIDS especially young ones to share their testimonies.
• Worship Sessions
These were described as very good. The leaders of the morning worship were brief and to the point with wonderful messages. The workshop anthem was inspiring and appropriate and the choruses learnt good. The PCEA praise and worship team was wonderful and entertaining.
• Program Organization
The program organization was good. There was no stress though the participants say they could have done with more games session.
• Group Discussions
Some participants did not participate in the group session while others were acting childish. Generally group work should be encouraged and mature people asked to guide the discussions.
• Games
Time set aside for games was inadequate and the facilities were inadequate for ladies. There was a variety of games for boys over the healing session but this could be improved.
• Videos
They were interesting, educative, and related to topics discussed.
• Required readings
The choice of reading materials was good but there were inadequate copies of the “Must Read” series. There was inadequate time within which to read the required readings.
• Environment/Security
The Seminary environment is perfect. Security was very good except for some dogs that were loitering at night and scaring the girls.

For the rest of the afternoon, participants were involved in groups’ preparation of skits and entertainment/Games for graduation.
Over the Last supper, participants shared jokes and fun games as well as indications of what they will remember most from the workshop.

Day 11, Saturday December 11 2004: Graduation

Between 10.00 and 11.00am there was arrival and registration of parents and guests

At exactly 11.00am the Opening Prayer was made by the Master of Ceremony, Dr. Emily Choge

Between 11.00– 12.00 participants entertained parents and guest with songs, poems, and skits either as a group or as smaller groups or as individuals.

At 12.00 sharp, the Rector of the Mother of Apostles Seminary, as host of the ACIP workshop Fr. Rector Martin Tanui gave the Welcome Address. Reiterating what he had told parents during the parents’ workshop held on 6th December 2004, Fr. Tanui said that the seminary is a place for all to feel at home. He expressed gratitude to the organizers of the workshop for choosing to come to the seminary and indicated that all were invited to visit and stay at the seminary whenever they wished.

After the welcome address by the host, the coordinator of the ACIP workshop Dr. Eunice Kamaara introduced ACIP. She indicated that the program seeks to systematically implement findings of various researches from different research institutions in the country especially in Youth Concerns as they relate to African Christian Theology and Ethics. She cited the objectives of the program as ethical revival (for effective control of HIV, of drug abuse, and of general irresponsibility among the youth), national cohesion, and Christian unity for national development. Indicating the inability of the organizers of the program to work on their own, Dr. Kamaara appealed to churches to seek partnership with ACIP in order to develop a national program that may be replicated all over the country.

Between 12.45 and 2.00 pm there were speeches by a number of Guests as follows:

Mr. Ngugi Gitonga expressed his support for ACIP as a revival of traditional values that guided young people on responsible behaviour especially over their transition from childhood to adulthood.

Thereafter, an ordained Minister of the African Independent Church indicated that ACIP is a channel through which traditional values are integrated into Christian values to come up with a program that is suitable for young people in the contemporary context.

Dr. Boaz Otieno- Nyunya shared his joy at having participated in the ACIP workshop as a parent, a facilitator, and a guest. He noted that as a trained gynecologist and a university lecturer/researcher in reproductive health, he has a lot of interests in youth sexual and reproductive health. He intimated that he coordinates a program in Western Kenya with similar acronyms as ACIP. He said that churches and religious people have a lot to do in partnership with medics to promote youth sexual health in life especially through the transition period from childhood to adulthood.

Rev. Choge of the Anglican Church in Kenya expressed his gratitude to the organizers of the workshop for coming up with a wonderful program through which young people may be empowered to face the challenges of modern life successfully.

At 2pm Dr. Emily Choge led in prayer and praise in preparation for the address and sermon by the Guest of Honour.

Reading from Joshua chapter 5, the Guest of Honour, Mr. Francis Wairagu, shared on the need for “moral revival” if Kenyans are to stop wandering in the desert of ignorance, poverty and disease in which they have been for the last 40 years just like the Israelites were in the desert for 40 years. He cited the way the Israelites camped at Gilgal, kept the Passover which they had forgotten in the process of wandering in the desert, and from them on manna ceased and the Israelites ate the wonderful produce of the Promised Land. He likened the ACIP workshop to the camping in Gilgal and appealed to the initiates to take up Kenya as the Promised Land and eat of its wonderful produce. He warned however that the fruits of the Promised Land are only accessible to the courageous and the pure for others died in the wilderness because of their disobedience to God. Citing Ephesians 6, he appealed to the youth to choose life by obedience to their parents and to God. Turning to the parents, Mr. Wairagu appealed to them to treat their children with love and care as commanded in Ephesians 6 and not to tire from teaching them as advised in Deutronomy 6: 5-9. Mr. Wairagu closed with a word of prayer beseeching God to bless our country, our youth and our parents that all may enjoy the fruits of peace and justice in Kenya, our Promised Land.

At 2.45pm Rev. … the parish minister of the PCEA Ayub Parish was given the opportunity to give a word to the gathering. He apologized for coming late explaining that he had a wedding to conduct and that it delayed for quite some time. However, he said he is very happy with the initiative and fully supports it for proper guidance of young people in body, mind and soul.

Between 3.00pm and 3.45pm certificates were awarded to all initiates. At the same time, Mr. Wairagu presented each of the initiates with two white handkerchiefs indicating the purity of their bodies, minds and souls from now henceforth. They were to keep one handkerchief and give the other to their parents as constant reminders of their promise and commitment to choose life.

Between 3.45 and 4.00pm the initiates were committed to God by Rev. Samoei of the Reformed church of East Africa and Rev. …as they made their promises and signed their certificates.

At exactly 4.00pm Mrs Mary Wahome gave a vote of thanks. She thanked Fr. Martin Tanui for hosting the workshop at the seminary, the parents for sending their children the participants for coming and participating effectively, the guests for their presence and messages, Teacher Kiarie, the caretakers and the Praise and worship team from PCEA for being with the participants throughout the program, the facilitators for voluntary service superbly done, the cooks for good food throughout the workshop, the Chief Guest for his powerful sharing, and everybody else. Ultimately she thanked God, from whom all good things come, for a successful First Annual African Christian Initiation Program Workshop.

At exactly 4.15pm the Closing Prayer was made by Rev Samoei

At 4.15 pm there was a Communal Meal for all participants, parents and guests. Thereafter, guests, parents and participants left at their own pleasure to love and serve the Lord.

Eldoret, Kenya.
December 2004.


History of the African Christian Initiation Program
The African Christian Initiation Programme (ACIP), is a community participatory programme of the Eldoret-based Gender and Development Network (Eldo-GADNet). Eldo-GADNet is an inter- denominational, inter-disciplinary and inter-ethnic initiative. It serves to i) meet the mandate of Moi University and more specifically of the founder members to translate knowledge generated in the University into practical development for communities at the local, national, continental and global levels, and ii) meet the needs of loca+l and national community to empower young people to transit from childhood to responsible adulthood. This initiative, which began in the mid- 1990s as Ladies To Ladies Talk (LTLT), was founded by four female lecturers/researchers of Moi University, namely, Pamela Abuya, Eunice Kamaara, Joyce Nyairo and Mary Wahome. The group later grew to include like-minded men and women from different ethnic groups, professions, church denominations and academic disciplines. The initiative initially focused on female university students and revolved around their social, economic and academic challenges. The experiences of the four founding members indicated that many first-year students of public universities had neither any experience of – nor any preparation for – the demands of social life without the supervision of teachers and away from the watchful eyes of parents and guardians.
The series of LTLT sessions embarked on informal interaction and dialogue with female students at different levels, beginning with a special programme for first year students during the five-day orientation week. With time, the organisers realized that young people needed training in knowledge and life skills well before entering university. Consequently, the initiative spread to secondary schools and later to primary schools. In the course of this work the organisers recognized that adolescents are a neglected lot.
The introduction of Christianity and the condemnation of all traditional African beliefs and practices as evil created various gaps. Among the major practices that were condemned is the traditional process of initiation from childhood into adulthood within which there were some harmful practices but also many valuable practices that are actually in line with Christian values. Christianity did not offer anything to maintain valuable aspects of the process. Consequently, many adolescents today rely on uncoordinated information on sex and other aspects of their life from their peers, parents, the mass media, churches and other sources. Yet adolescence is the critical point in human physical and psycho-sexual development, at which socialization for responsible adulthood should be offered in a systematic way. In view of the lack of such socialization, Eldo-GADNet designed the African Christian Initiation Programme. The programme aims to systematically integrate African values with Christian values, and to provide a process of initiation (and transition) from childhood to adulthood for boys and girls between the ages of 11 and 16. Eldo-GAdnet adopts a holistic asset-based approach to youth empowerment and therefore the programme is designed to cover 12 broad areas of life skills which are critical for healthy development of young people. The programme recognizes the many assets that young people possess and only serves to facilitate development and exploitation of these assets by the youth themselves. The broad area of building skills in confidence and self esteem among young people is central in empowering young people to develop and exploit their assets.
In early 2006, Eldo-GADNet began a process of consultation with the Strategies for Hope Trust, a UK-based organisation which produces and distributes information and training materials on community-based responses to HIV and AIDS, mainly in sub-Saharan Africa. This led to a partnership through which the Strategies for Hope Trust provided Eldo-GADNet with technical and financial support for the production and distribution of this manual. The manual provides African adults with the information and practical skills needed to conduct a life skills training workshop for young people aged between 11 and 15.

In 1992, in response to these global Higher Education trends coupled with the desire to give back to their communities, a group of female researchers from the then School of Social Cultural and Development Studies at Moi University in Eldoret, Kenya, came together to establish the Eldoret-Based Gender and Development Network (EldoGADNET) as an umbrella organization through which they could translate their research findings into practical development (research uptake). Right from initiation, the researchers were clear of the need for local communities to be in charge of their own development and therefore the imperative for community supported and community participatory initiatives was highlighted. They registered EldoGADNET as a social welfare organization with the Ministry of Social Services in Kenya.

Among the pioneer research projects whose findings these researchers sought to implement was a project on sexual behaviour of Moi University students. The findings of this study indicated that over 80% of university students were sexually active, over 56% of them having had multiple sex (Abuya & Nyairo, 1993). The result of this behaviour was clearly manifest: high incidences of sexually transmitted diseases including HIV/AIDS, unplanned pregnancies, abortions, and stress. For example, the study established that sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) were among the top five diseases treated at the university clinic. Further the study suggested that ignorance on matters sexuality due to a culture of silence, characteristic of many modern Kenyan contexts, was responsible for this situation.

Under the auspices of EldoGANET, the researchers sought to intervene to transform this life- threatening situation into a desirable situation by organizing ‘Ladies to Ladies’ talks at Moi University main campus. These talks revealed that university students were largely ignorant of their identity as biological sexual beings (with natural sexual instincts and impulses), and at the same time ignorant of their identity as rational and spiritual beings capable of effectively and successfully managing these sexual instincts and impulses. The findings indicated also that for a significant number of the sexually active girls, sexual initiation had occurred well before they got to campus – while they were still in high school. The researchers, therefore, sought to come up with interventions at earlier stages in the school system, interventions that would, gradually, also include boys because the male students at the university had indicated that they too needed help understanding themselves and the protocols for healthy interactions with their female counterparts. Thus the EldoGADNET researchers started School Visitation programmes. These involved visiting schools around the university to provide forums for motivational and mentorship talks to address the identity and sexual crises associated with adolescence. Fortunately, these visitation programmes were replicated and supported by the Association of African Women in Research and Development (AAWORD), a continental organization to which the researchers belong. For close to a decade, the founders of EldoGADNET continued with their school visitation programmes under the auspices of AAWORD.

Meanwhile, a doctoral study by one of the researchers on gender, HIV, and youth sexuality, was completed in 2003 (Kamaara, 2005). The findings indicated that unequal gender relations, engraved over traditional ethnic initiation from childhood to adulthood practised in rural areas, significantly contribute to unequal gender relations, sexual activity and the consequent prevalence of HIV among young people. For urban youth, the absence of any form of initiation rite left adolescence without any guidance through their sexual and identity crises. A most telling finding was that while over 90% of all young people interviewed indicated that their preferred source of information on sex were their parents, only about 20% got this information from the preferred source (Kamaara, 2005:74). Similarly, about 60% of them said they preferred to get information from religious leaders but actually only about 10% got information from this preferred source. On the other hand, while less than 40% said they would prefer to receive sex information from their peers and the mass media, over 80% said that they actually got sex information from peers and mass media (ibid). The conclusions of the study indicated that there was need for an intervention in form of an initiation rite towards supporting young people to successfully transition from childhood to adulthood by providing not just information about sex but also information on their holistic being. It is in response to this study and to earlier efforts that the African Christian Initiation Programme (ACIP) was founded as the pioneer programme of the EldoGADNET. Affirming the imperative of local communities to be in charge of their own development ACIP was designed to be a local community-based participatory initiative.
The African Christian Initiation Programme (ACIP) is a character virtue Development programme for adolescents that was founded in 2004. The founders of the programme seek to fill a cultural void created by the erosion of indigenous African rites of passage by modernisation.


ACIP Motto: Choose Life (Deuteronomy 30: 15)

To empower young people with life skills they need to make the transition from childhood to adulthood without falling victims to challenges such as HIV infection, drug abuse and lack of self-esteem.

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