ACIP ACTIVITY REPORT
ACIP 2022 INITIATION WORKSHOP (VUKISHA KIJANA) REPORT
Theme: Good choices for life: #sipangwingwi

1.0. ACTIVITY SUMMARY
The ACIP 2022 Initiation Workshop is among the activities that the organization takes so much pride in. Since its formulation in 2004, the organization has maintained the provision of service like male circumcision to young adolescent boys, and alternative rites of passage to young adolescent girls as they transition into adulthood. Other than that, the organization also incorporates the aspect of life skills training and mentorship as it realizes that various skills and knowledge are useful in molding a responsible adult. This activity takes a human-based approach as it is done in two parts and designed to respond to the needs of its participants. The first part, which is mainly in the first nine days, involves a briefing made to the parents and boys that may be getting prepared for the transition process. After that they go through circumcision and receive medical care as they heal in hospital. The second part is now on the training in which both boys and girls are welcome to freely interact and participate in. More details on this will be explained in the activity description.


Fig.01 Uncle Tom of Family Impact Africa delivers a talk on building and sustaining family ties during the adolescent transition period

For this year’s workshop dubbed “Vukisha Kijana” program, the organisation partnered with various organisations and individuals as shown in the list below:
Partner organisations
The Utu-GloGoH Hospital, Eldoret
Potter’s House Academy
Moi University

2.0 ACTIVITY DESCRIPTION
As explained in the section above, this year’s workshop was done in two bits:
• The circumcision, medical care and healing process
• The life skills training and mentorship program
i. Circumcision, medical care and healing process(12/03/2022-20/03/2022)
This was the first part of the entire exercise. Parents, relatives and young adolescent boys who were to go through the circumcision process met at Utu-GloGoH Hospital where the activity was set to be done on the next day. After consulting with each other, the planning committee members decided to have a briefing and assessment before the D-day. On this Saturday, the attendees were introduced to ACIP, were told of the organisation’s history, objectives, vision and other useful information tied to the organisation. Dr. Chirchir of Utu-Glog0H Hospital then gave a brief summary various rites of passage done around the world, and educated members on the importance of circumcision in prevention of diseases like HIV/AIDS and cervical cancer. He then lay down the requirements for the process to be done medically like the need of HIV tests and patient history as those are critical issues in the process. The parents were then taken on a tour of the facility in which the boys would spend time in after the process was done and they were satisfied with the condition. After that, there was a break our session in which men and boys interacted with each other and the boys were able to ask questions in regards to the process. The doctor ten received ascent from the individual parents involved in the exercise and he carried out the required tests. After that the boys returned home with their parents so that they would report on the next day for the process to begin.

iii. Life skills training and mentorship program(20/03/2022-26/03/2022)
a) Parental skills
The life skills training and mentorship program was done for 7 days. On the Sunday, 20th March 2022, young adolescent boys and girls reported with their parents and guardians for the Parenting skills workshop. It began with an introduction of ACIP, its history, objectives, mandate and the reason for this program among others. This was mainly done for the sake of the parents who had brought their children purposely for the mentorship program. The session was done in two parts; a general discussion on the role of parents in the transition period and one on parental skills and other things that may be leading to a shift in the current era. The sessions allowed both parents and children to freely interact and share their experiences and expectations in the transition period so that they can work on harmonizing their efforts for the holistic development of the family. During the last session, parents and girls were separated. This allowed room for both of them to interact and share with their peers on issues that involve them.
In the afternoon, the girls were paired and given exercises to help them know each other better and complement each other. The letters they used in this exercise were placed in the training venue and used during the entire program so that everyone would go home with a letter full of complements at the end of the exercise. They also had a training on the importance of planning for life events and activities by writing of journals and vision boards. A demonstration on each of these techniques was offered too.
b) Day 1-21/03/2022
Confidence, self-esteem, good values and healthy relationships
The training workshop begun with lessons on confidence where the adolescents were taught on how to build confidence by becoming self-aware of themselves, the changes occurring in their bodies and their environment. This is an important aspect as it helps them improve on their self-esteem and relate well with each other. In the long run, this allows them to develop and maintain healthy relationships with their friends, peers, parents and other people they encounter during and after the transition period. They were also taught on the importance of possessing good values like kindness, honesty and integrity. They were reminded to practice this and more in their relationships with themselves and with others. This sessions also contained activities like everyone talking and writing about people they admire and their reasons for admiration. In the evening, a recap of the day was done and the adolescents were able to interact with young adults and ask questions on their life experiences. There was another session to echo what the girls had learnt on the previous day and an assignment on the habits of influential people that they admire.


Fig.02 Prof Emily Choge delivering a talk on self-esteem


Fig .03 Junior,one of the ACIP 2022 Jewels,participating in a discussion on forming relationships while Prof Kamaara writes some concepts on the board

c) Day Two-22/03/2022: Physical Health, Sexual Reproductive Health, HIV/AIDS Prevention and Love
On this day, the adolescents were taken through the topics mentioned above. They were allowed to share about the physical changes that are expected to occur to them in this period. They were informed on how to adapt to these changes and how to maintain good physical health even in this process. Some of the means to maintain this include taking a balanced diet, exercising, being hydrated among others. In maintaining physical health, the participants were also taught on HIV prevention techniques. They were taken through aspects of sexual reproductive health like the use of contraceptives, given information on the various forms of contraceptives, their advantages and disadvantages. At the end of this session, they were encouraged to abstain and for those who would have difficulty in that, they were encouraged to consult with the doctor at a later time in case they need to use contraceptives as had been discussed. On this day the teens were taught about love. They were invited to share with their peers about their loved ones through an exercise that involved them writing about their loved ones and placing it on a wall in the training facility. They were also taught on romantic and platonic relationships and how to go about them.


Fig.04 Dr.Chirchir,facilitates on Sexual Reproductive Health during the workshop


Fig.05 Prof Wahome delivers a talk on Love and Romantic relationships

d) Day Three-23/03/2022: Drug Abuse, Social Media and Excursion to Ndalat Hills
The teenagers together with some of their facilitators made their way into the Ndalat Hills for an excursion. This was designed to help them maintain their physical health by exercising, break the monotony of the classroom environment and to enable them to interact with each other at another level. Some of the lessons they picked in this segment were that of believing in oneself to achieve a goal and the importance of teamwork in helping each other to get to their destinations. They were also taught about social media, how to use it for advantageous reasons like learning skills and getting information. When they came back after the excursion, they learnt on drug and substance abuse. Take away information from this session were that negative peer pressure can lead to drug abuse, various drugs have various impacts and that the best solution to avoid being a victim of drug abuse is to never indulge in their use in the first place. In the evening, there was a brief follow up meeting in which teens shared their experiences and had a bonding session.


Fig.06 The 2022 ACIP Jewels together with their facilitators at the peak of Ndalat Hills during the excursion


Fig.07 ACIP Jewels during an afternoon session on drugs and substance abuse

e) Day Four-24/03/2022: Peer Pressure, Conflict Resolution, Culture, Leisure and Time Management
On the fourth day of this program, the teenagers learnt about peer pressure. They learnt that positive peer pressure can be used to help them grow as individuals and relate with others, to learn and to get a support system. Negative peer pressure, on the other hand, may lead to drug abuse and poor decision making hence may be harmful to the individuals involved. On this day, they explored different ways to say a big “NO” to vices, poor values and negative peer pressure. They were reminded this only begins when one has self-awareness. They were also taught on the importance of a community, working and relating with other as they all belong to such units. They were taught peaceful conflict resolution techniques in case people disagree on issues. They were also guided through good time management and the good use of their leisure time to relax and grow themselves in other dimensions.


Fig.08 Jane Kariuki facilitates a talk on peer pressure

f) Day Five: Mental Health, Career Talk, Evaluation and Graduation Preparations
The last day of training entailed only two educative sessions. The first one was on mental health where the facilitator aided the adolescents in defining mental health, the causes of ill mental health, various types of mental illness, treatment for the same and ways to promote good mental health. In this session, the teens also learnt that drug and substance abuse was classified as a mental illness. On the career’s session, the facilitator engaged the children in activities to joggle up their thoughts and another to determine each individual’s dominant side of the brain. She also reminded them that they should not pressurize themselves to have clear-cut career goals at the moment as they may learn more as they grow. She advised on the importance of using one’s talent and abilities in selection of a career and the need for flexibility in the selection of a career. After these sessions, the initiates were asked to prepare presentations for the graduation to be held the following day.


Fig.09 Dr. Chiri facilitates a session on careers and talents

g) Day Six: Graduation Day
Parents, friends and family all convened at the Potter’s House Academy for the graduation of the ACIP 2022 Jewels. This ceremony began with a short welcoming and introductory session by Prof. Emily Choge. The ACIP Jewels then presented a few items in line with what they had learnt over the week and to showcase their talents. Some of these presentations included a skit on avoiding negative peer pressure, saying a big “NO” and a song that encouraged them to keep trying things even if they fail in them at first. Then there was a short sermonette on transition. The preacher cited examples from the Bible including the story of Moses. He explained how God called and groomed Moses to be his servant. In the same way, the ACIP program has trained the initiates to be responsible leaders in their communities. After the sermonette, the ACIP Jewels were each awarded an ACIP Jewels pocket-sized handbook and a certificate. They then made a commitment to God and to themselves as indicated in their certificate and were blessed before they were released to go back home on the same day.


Fig.10 ACIP Jewels pose for a photo during their graduation day


Fig.11 ACIP Jewels beauties during their graduation

3.0 LESSONS LEARNT
Based on the nature of this activity, these are some of the lessons that were learnt:
i. The importance of teamwork in achieving set goals. ii. Positive peer pressure can help improve an individual while negative peer pressure can harm them.
iii. Positive parent-adolescent relationship is of great impact in the transition period. iv. How to say a big “NO” to negative peer pressure.
v. The establishment of healthy relationships starts with self-awareness. vi. Application of the three Cs (Challenge, Choices and Consequences) of effective decision making.

3.1. RESOLUTIONS

It was resolved that the Parent’s workshop be held during the recruitment stage so that parents are informed on what is expected of them and their children during the initiation process Since both parents and adolescents noted a transformation after the program, it was resolved that ACIP continues with the program so that they can positively impact on the lives of others.

3.2. RECOMMENDATIONS AND REQUIRED ACTIONS
Some of the recommendations raised in regards to this activity involved the following:

i. Mobilization and recruitment of interested parents and donors to be done from an early stage of planning
ii. To invite other organizations like the churches and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) for partnerships and benchmarking during the next program
iii. To bring a psychiatrist on board at the next workshop to help deal with children and parents who may need more help and create an environment in which they can easily open up
iv. To conduct a parent’s workshop earlier in the recruitment period to talk more to parents about the program
v. To include more diverse groups like children living with disability in the next initiation program to be held in December 2022.
vi. To start early planning for the next ACIP Initiation workshop scheduled to be done in December

3.4. ANNEXES

i. ACIP March 2022 workshop planning committee minutes
ii. Facilitator and partner appreciation letters
iii. Tentative day to day ACIP timetable

Name and Signature of Person compiling the Report & Date

1.0 Perpetua Oogo- 1st April, 2022

Name and Signature of Person approving the Report & Date

2.0Eunice Kamaara-15th April,2022

ACIP 2022 Initiation Workshop Launch and Program


The ACIP 2022 initiates and their parents attending a talk on the importance of goal-setting at Utu-GlgoH on Saturday

The Africa Character Initiation Program (ACIP) 2022 initiation workshop,kicked off on Saturday,12th March 2022 at Utu-GlogoH where the ACIP and Utu-GlogoH team met up with the initiates and their parents.

In this meeting,they received short talks on the importance of character development in the initiation process.Dr Chirchir even gave them a brief history on the initiation process in other areas around the world.He also educated them on the health benefits of circumcision such as it being a HIV prevention mechanism.

Professor,Kamaara, one of the ACIP co-founders,then led the initiates in the importance of setting goals and reflecting on their daily actions.She guided them through journaling and handed out some journals for them to use.

Here is the schedule for the program:

 Sat, Mar 12: Arrival and registration of boys’ participants

 Sun, Mar. 13 Doctors perform Circumcision

 Mon- Frid., Mar 13- 19th: Boys’ healing process accompanied by role modeling and Doctors’ visits. Entereducation and passive indoor games

 20th Mar. 2022: Parents Workshop and Alternative rites for girls
 Mar 21-26th 2022: Intensive Workshops

 Sun. Mar. 27: Graduation, Highlight of the day: Individual
Graduates promise to parents/guardians
& Communal sharing of a meal

Every graduate takes home an ACIP Jewel, a Promise and a Certificate of Commitment

16 DAYS OF ACTIVISM CAMPAIGN REPORT

1.0 ACTIVITY SUMMARY

The 16 days of activism campaign aimed at fighting for equality for women and girls in society. It also aims at creating awareness and putting measures to end Gender-based Violence (GBV) and Violence Against Women and girls (VAW).This year marked 30 years of the campaign globally and 17, for the region. On that note, the region came up with a theme; 16 days of rest: our collective resistance. This ensured that regional activists who have been at the frontline of the campaign throughout the years, get some time to rest and recharge. ACIP was not left behind in this as we took part in the 16 days of rest mindfulness journal among others. We also hoped on the global theme; orange the world now. A theme set on reflections of a bright future free of VAW and GBV.In this, ACIP attended webinars and Twitter Spaces hosted by other organisations like the Get Moving Webinar to prevent Sexual Harassment(SH) and, Sexual Exploitation and Abuse(SEA) in the Humanitarian sector, hosted by Raising Voices. This report provides a summary of activities that ACIP engaged in during the campaign.


Some of the materials provided to ACIP by the Prevent GBV Network for the 16 days of activism campaign


Prof Eunice Kamaara,one of the ACIP co-founders during the launch of the ACIP 16 days of rest

2.1 16 days of activism launch article

In the quest to create awareness and bring more people into the campaign, ACIP did a launch article for the same and uploaded it on the organisational website. The article provided more insight on the importance of the global and regional campaigns. It emphasized more on rest as a means for individuals to relax and as recharge.
To check out this article, please visit: http://acipkenya.org/

2.2 Twitter Spaces: Comprehensive Sexuality Education(CSE) and GBV

This engagement took place on 26th November 2021,from 8.00-9.00 p.m, East-african time(EAT).It was organised by Trust for Indigenous Culture and Health(TICAH) in partnership with other organisations such as YEM Kenya. The main aim of this discussion was to create awareness on how CSE can be used to end GBV. This is because it provides an equal platform for boys and girls to learn about their sexuality and know how to cope with the changes and responsibilities that come with that. Other than that, CSE enables both genders to gain knowledge on what happens to the other gender during puberty. It enables them to understand each other more and treat each other with dignity. Other than that, CSE helps reduce chances of teenage pregnancy as it emphasizes on responsible sexual engagements through the use of contraceptives. It also helps end period shame and stigma which may rob women and girls of their dignity, or chances to engage in day to day activities. This engagement provided examples of countries that had applied this approach and it was n=recommended that it should be taught to children as early as five years old. This approach was seen to have the ability to bring desired change at the grass root level, hence an important tool for gender equality.

2.3 The Get Moving Webinar

The Get Moving: To prevent Sexual Harassment(SH) and Sexual Exploitation and Abuse(SEA) in the humanitarian sector webinar was held via Zoom on 2/12/2021 from 2.00 pm-3:45 pm EAT. The webinar gave a short situational analysis on topic emphasising on the need to shift from harm reduction to organisational and sector-wise transformation. Participants were taken though the Get Moving Process, and notified that there was an earlier version for Human Rights Organisations (HRO) doing violence response and prevention. That led to self-reflection and awareness of people and organisations. After that, the approach moved to beyond understanding of issues to lead to transformative change through community involvement at the grass root level. The session dug into some of the topics in this approach such as understanding the process, the relationship between SH,SEA and power and the role of respective allies in the movement just to highlight a few. The session facilitators took members through session structures like creation of awareness and unpacking of concepts and timelines for adult learning and partnerships for the project among others. They also highlighted the importance of the use other evidence-based approaches as indicated through respect in the workplace and male ally ship and accountability. The sessions used tools like in person and online guides for lessons. Some of the indicators of this project include a change in individual knowledge and attitudes and change in staff behaviour and organisational culture. The facilitators noted that this process had taught them the importance of commitment for success and to encourage manager involvement and briefings in future. The webinar ended with the team promising to finalise the second step of training and share the final documents through their resources link that would be shared to the members present.

2.4 Social media engagement and World AIDS day Campaign

ACIP took to its various social media platforms such as twitter and Facebook to launch the campaign and invite others to join in the 16 days of rest. We posted curated photos and videos on the same. On 1st December 2021, ACIP created a post on how gender inequality and unequal power relations lead to the spread of HIV/AIDS. The post was also an appeal to the general public and ACIP alumni to join in the campaign to end such issues. Through Perpetua, an ACIP intern, the organisation launched an online campaign to create awareness of HIV/AIDS through individuals filling their HIV Prevention tool kit. This kit contained practices like abstinence, testing, use of protection and use of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) or Post exposure prophylaxis (PREP).She went ahead and demonstrated how individuals can take self-testing kits and the importance of support from friends and family during the process.
To view the video on how to do a HIV self-test, click the following link:

https://vm.tiktok.com/ZSeDVYP7S/

2.5 Participation in the 16 Days Activism in the launch of the Science and Religion Club of Kenya

During the launch of the Science and Religion Club of Kenya, Moi University-main campus, Professor Emily Choge began the session by enlightening members on the 16 days of activism campaign. She led the team in understanding various forms of GBV and VAW and the importance of sharing with others in case one needs help. She also reminded the men present to break against the stigma of not reporting incidences of GBV especially if they were victims. Students and other members present gave their experiences on the same. The group then took part in a short breathing exercise, led by Perpetua Oogo, from the African Character Initiation Programme (ACIP) to mark 16 days of rest, in line with the regional theme for 2021. The exercise involves relaxing, closing one’s eyes, breathing in slowly for long for as long as is possible, holding the breath then exhaling slowing. This is repeated 3 or 4 times to make one restful and relaxed. It was agreed that when one is annoyed or anxious, they should take a minute to do the breathing exercise before they talk or act in order to prevent violence and generally improve individual wellbeing.


Prof Emily Choge,one of the ACIP co-founders,delivers a talk on the 16 days of activism during the launch of SRCK


Perpetua,an intern at ACIP,leads the group in a breathing exercise based on this year’s regional theme:16 Days of Rest

2. 6 Virtual Rest Retreat

The GBV prevention network ended the 16 days of rest campaign through a virtual day of rest activity done via zoom on 10th December 2021 from 3.00 p.m EAT. Participants shared what rest meant to them as individuals before the facilitators took over and defined rest as a human right, not a reward. They went ahead and spoke go rest in terms of policies for women such as maternity leave and pay during annual leave among others. One of the participants also highlighted on hoe classism, sexism and other isms affected individual and communal perceptions on rest. In this case, women are affected more as they are expected to be in charge of something wherever they go. This may take a toll on them if they fail to get some time for rest. Participants gave their personal experiences with rest. Majority of them admitted that the last time they could hardly recall the last time they had rested properly. Participants were guided through the various types of rest namely; physical, creative, social, emotional and sensory rest. Joyce led the group in exercises for rest such as breathing and relaxation exercises among others. Members like Gloria went ahead and shared their rest practices. Helen shared on her one day social media detox and Gloria agreed with her on the same. The session ended with the host thanking members for their participation in the 16 days and urging them to always make time for rest even in their busy schedules.

3.0 LESSONS LEARNT

Some of the lessons learnt throughout the campaign include:
• CSE can be used an approach to reduce gender inequality by educating both genders on the experiences of their counterparts
• It can also reduce teenage pregnancies that rob girls of a chance at education through the emphasis of responsible sexual encounters and the use of contraceptives
• The Get Moving Process: to prevent SEA and SH in the humanitarian sector uses a multi-sectorial approach to influence individual knowledge and attitude to bring about change in organisational and staff behaviour
• Unequal power relations, poverty and gender equality, lead to high HIV transmission rates
• Rest is a human right, not a reward. This means that everyone deserves to rest from time to time
• Policies such as maternity leave and issuing of paid leave by employers emphasize on the right to rest

4.0 RESOLUTIONS

It was resolved that participants and the general public continue with the campaign in their daily activities by speaking against GBV and VAW, championing for gender equality, human rights and dignity.
Moreover, they resolved to incorporate rest in their day to day lives.


5.0 RECOMMENDATIONS AND REQUIRED ACTIONS

During the CSE twitter spaces engagement, members were urged to look at the East African Community (EAC) Sexual Reproductive Health (SRHR) bill for more insight.
At the end of the campaign, it was recommended that members incorporate rest in their daily routines. They were also required to compile organisational reports for the campaign and submit them to the GBV prevention network for further publishing.

6.0 ANNEXES

6.1 The Get Moving activity report

6.2 The Launch of SRCK report

Report compiled by:

Perpetua Oogo. 17/12/2021

Approved by:

Eunice Kamaara. 17/12/201

REPORT ON ACIP 16 DAYS OF ACTIVISM AND LAUNCH OF SRCK-MOI UNIVERSITY, MAIN CAMPUS

1.0 ACTIVITY SUMMARY

The Science and Religion Club of Kenya (RSCK) is an initiative of the Christian and Scientific Association (CSAK), a project led by Prof. Francis Muregi of Kenya by the Mount Kenya University funded by the Templeton World Charity Foundation Inc. (TWCF). The Club is designed to create spaces for young people to interact and debate on questions about the relationship between religion and science, whether the two intersect and how they do if they intersect among others. It also aims at character moulding of students through giving them a sense of belonging and mentoring them in life. The main objectives of the club include to promote mutual understanding of science and religion and to champion constructive interaction of science and religion. Other objectives are to provide a platform for narrowing the gap in knowledge and attitude between science and religion and to promote synergetic interaction among science, religion and culture. The launch is part of a series of others launches in tertiary and higher education institutions across Kenya.

ACIP actively participated in this launch because it is important to ACIP for two reasons:
i) Some members of ACIP are members of CSAK and Eunice Kamaara is the Chair of
CSAK- Eldoret Chapter and deputy Chair of the Board of Management of CSAK ii) ACIP partners with RSCK because they have a common mission of promoting character values among young people. While ACIP deals with early adolescents in lower levels of education system in Kenya, the RSC of Kenya operates in tertiary and Higher Education levels. ACIP would refer their alumni joining tertiary and HE institutions to join RSCK and would have RSCK members mentor the ACIP Alumni
It is for these reasons that ACIP embraced this as one of its activities.

2.0 ACTIVITY PROCEEDINGS

The session began with tree planting to commemorate the day. After that, attendees convened in the School of Information Sciences for an interactive session marked by presentations from different speakers.


SRCK Patron,plants a tree to mark the launch of the club

2.1 Participation in the 16 Days Activism

This is a global campaign between the 26th November and 10th December 2021 to prevent Violence Against Women and Gender Based Violence in general. To sensitize young people on current global activities and to motivate them to endeavour to always be part of the global community, Professor Emily Choge began the session by enlightening members on the 16 days of activism, a campaign on prevention of Violence Against Women (VAW) and Gender-based Violence (GBV). She led the team in understanding various forms of GBV and VAW and the importance of sharing with others in case one needs help. She also reminded the men present to break against the stigma of not reporting incidences of GBV especially if they were victims. Students and other members present gave their experiences on the same. The group then took part in a short breathing exercise, led by Perpetua Oogo, from the African Character Initiation
Programme (ACIP) to mark 16 days of rest, in line with the regional theme for 2021. The exercise involves relaxing, closing one’s eyes, breathing in slowly for long for as long as is possible, holding the breath then exhaling slowing. This is repeated 3 or 4 times to make one restful and relaxed. It was agreed that when one is annoyed or anxious, they should take a minute to do the breathing exercise before they talk or act in order to prevent violence and generally improve individual wellbeing.


Prof Emily Choge, one of the ACIP founder members, gives a talk on the 16 days of activism campaign


Perpetua,an intern at ACIP,leads the group in a breathing exercise based on this this year’s regional theme:Rest

2.2 Religion and Mental Health

Prof. Eunice Kamaara began by reminding members that the RSCK are part of the activities of the CSAK whose mission is to promote synergetic interaction between Religion and Science. She noted that there was need to guide youngsters in answering questions on science and religion as they grow so that they may know how to balance the two, one of the aims of the RSCK. On this day of the launch of the SRCK at Moi University, focus would be on the theme of mental health. It would therefore be important to understand the relationship between Mental Health and Religion before we hear more on Mental health. Prof. Kamaara made a short presentation on the relationship between religion and mental health terming them as ‘jealous spouses’: they heavily rely and borrow from each other although, both, if their relationship is not effectively managed, they may threaten the other. She noted that modern psychiatrists never want to publicly discuss the subject of religion and religious leaders never want to publicly mention the subject of mental health. Yet, the jealous relationship between the subjects of religion and mental health is very new – dating only the age of Enlightenment in the 1600s and much more in the 1900s. Otherwise in indigenous societies for example in Africa, religious leaders would be mental health experts; the first mental health institutions were monasteries; and religious ideas influenced the development and adoption of the Hippocratic Oath which guides healthcare providers. The real situation is that religion and mental health are closely related and will interact negatively or positively depending on what we promote. We have an obligation to moderate this relationship for synergy and consequently promote human wellbeing.


Prof Eunice Kamaara,one of the ACIP co-founders,gives a talk on mental health

2.3 Mental Health – Key Note Speech

The highlight of the day was a keynote speech by, Dr. Saina, a consultant psychiatrist at the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital, Eldoret. She highlighted various mental health illnesses, their causes and treatment options. She also spoke on how stigma against mental ill health escalates the problem and may lead to suicide. She also recognized that cultures and environment also lead to mental ill health and cause people to fail to address the issues. She gave an example of how men, according to the African culture, are hardened and grow up masking emotions and experiences which is detrimental to their mental health. Dr. Saina also noted that extreme anger is a sign of poor mental health and Gender Based Violence is a manifestation of a person’s inability to control their emotions, first and foremost, for their own wellbeing, and secondly, for the wellbeing of others. She encouraged the young persons present to be self-aware in order to understand when they have negative emotions and control them with simple exercises like the one of breathing given earlier.

Dr. Araka, also a consultant psychiatrist at the MTRH, picked up from where Dr. Saina left and discussed drug and substance abuse as a mental health issue. He explained that since they are chemical substances, drugs interfere with human mood and emotions leading to ill mental health. He dwelt on why young people engage in drug and substance abuse (especially peer pressure); what to do to avoid drug and substance abuse, and encouraged them to seek help to get support to stop drug abuse.


Dr Saina delivers a speech on mental health


Dr Araka during his talk on mental health and substance abuse

3.0 OFFICIAL LAUNCH

On behalf of the Project Leader of CSAK, Prof. Francis Muregi, the coordinators of CSAK from Mount Kenya University, Dan Gatungu and Joel Malala, made an impressive recap of the presentations and officially launched the Science and Religion Club of Kenya at Moi University (SRCK- Moi). They then closed the session by advising the students on life guarding principles and to request them to take charge of their Club. They ended with three commandments borrowed from the last lessons of the Holocaust:
1. Though shall not be a perpetrator of GBV and of Drug Abuse
2. Though shall not be a victim of GBV and of Drug Abuse
3. Though shall not be a bystander who takes no action against GBV and of Drug Abuse


Dan Gatungu and Joel Malala during the launch

3.0 LESSONS LEARNT

Key lessons learnt:
1. Religion and Science should work closely to create synergy for good mental health
2. Stigma associated with GBV and mental health causes a reluctance or failure of victims to seek help
3. Mental illness is an illness like any other. While many mental health conditions are chronic and may not be cured, they are effectively managed.
4. A person of good character does not perpetrate ill mental health and/or GBV; does everything possible to avoid being a victim of these; and is not an indifferent observer of these ills.

4.0 RESOLUTIONS

It was resolved that all participants present would strive not to perpetrate ill mental health and/or GBV; do everything possible to avoid being a victim of any of these; and will not be indifferent to these negative practices.

5.0 RECOMMENDATIONS AND REQUIRED ACTIONS

Rev. Tanui, the University Chaplain who was representing the Dean of Students explained that the Dean very much wanted to be at the meeting but she was held up by other University assignments. Rev. Tanui expressed the support of the office of the Dean of Students for the SRCK indicating that this was one of the most important clubs to be started in the University. He urged the members of the club to take charge of the club, and to be mindful of leadership transition so that the club can keep running smoothly even when other individuals leave. He also promised to work closely with the patron for the smooth running of the club and that the Office of the Dean of Students would support them with every resources within the means of the Office.


Reverend Tanui,the university chaplain and ACIP member during the launch

6.0 ANNEXES

6.1 Launch Program
6.2 List of Participants
6.3 Launch Budget

Report written by:

Perpetua Oogo. 14/12/2021

Approved by:

Eunice Kamaara. 14/12/2021

16 days of Activism 2021-regional campaign launch by ACIP

Two days ago, we marked 30 years since the inception of the celebration of the 16 days of activism against Gender-based Violence (GBV) campaign which begins on November 25th, the day of Elimination of Violence Against Women (VAW), and ends on Human Rights Day, on December 10th. For 30 years globally, and 17 regionally, activists have been uniting and concentrating their efforts in building an effective 16 days of activism. Since 2004, the GBV Prevention Network, of which ACIP is a member, has been organizing regional campaigns and providing tools for action and advocacy.


ACIP Director,Professor Eunice Kamaara poses with campaign materials for #16days of rest

In 2021, the regional theme is: 16 days of rest: Our collective Resistance. This has been developed in recognition that activists around the region have tirelessly worked for so many years in all kinds of efforts against VAW in order to create safer spaces for women and girls. We recognize that there is still work to be done but would like to take time to celebrate our frontline activists. This would help them to recharge and come back stronger.


Perpetua,an intern at ACIP,going through the mindfulness journal that ensures and promotes the wellbeing of activists even as they join the rest of the world in the campaign

This year, we are taking time to reflect on our wellbeing and safety in organizations, reflecting on our progress in the 17 years that Africa has participated in the 16 days’ activism. Well, even as we rest, we are still engaging in global and community campaigns that prioritize rest for women and girls in our society.
Welcome to #16daysofrest world. Let us recharge our lanterns so that we can get back to raising our voices and banners louder and shed lights on VAW and GBV.
Peace
#16daysofactivism2021
#16daysofrest
#orangetheworld


SOCIAL MEDIA:DOOM OR GLOOM?
I was scrolling through the internet one day when I read a title, “The Perfectionist trap.” That made me want to dig deeper and read the article. Upon reading it, I discovered that it had not quenched my thirst. So I went hunting for similar articles on the internet. I discovered that through social media, people feel pressured to act and think in a certain way. This reminds of a certain documentary on Netflix dubbed the social dilemma. It presents some disadvantages of social media, how it leads to addiction, depression and suicide in society. It also highlights the perks of social media and how a weigh scale on the two causes a dilemma.
Upon speaking to and interacting with a few young guys, it became clearer that most people feel like social media poses pressure on them. One just scrolls on instagram for five minutes and sees flashes of young people, who might be their age mates, seemingly having their life together. Photos and videos of flashy cars and houses, pictures of twenty year olds with their newborns and families are the norm. Some time back, a meme was doing rounds on social media. It insinuated that when one logs into their instagram, they would think that Kenya is one of the richest countries in the world. That all we share on social media are the flowery parts. We leave the dark side of our lives for closed door family meetings and behind the scenes.
I am not here to judge anyone based on what they post. Just here for a conversation. Guy, is this to say that there should be restrictions on what people post on their social media platforms? Is that even possible? I do not think so. In my opinion, people are free to post what makes them happy as long as they do not infringe on the rights of other people.
So, how does one dal with such pressures? One can deal with these pressures in other ways. Please critic what you read both online and offline. Take note of the good stuff. If it is a post with a valuable lesson that you might use later, save it somewhere and refer to it when you need to. As for the negative stuff, stuff that does not add value to you, simply ignore it or throw it in the trash can. Avoid the temptation to compare your life with what others are posting. Always remember, we all have different journeys. Some planes take off earlier than others. If you have not yet gotten where you aim to be, put in some work. Better yourself and strive to move towards success. Remember, we all have different ideas of success in life. Success in this case is identifying our goals and working towards them. We should embrace our different journeys and embark on them in our different paces to reach our desired destinations. Remember, in life, anything can be a rose or a thorn depending on whichever lens (attitude) you decide to put on. If you view it positively, and are appreciative of it, you are more likely to reap positive outcomes and vice versa. However, it is important to maintain a positive attitude towards life. Let us know how you view your social media platforms with on the comment section below.
Have a great weekend,
Adios,
Till next time.
For more information contact us at:


acip@acipkenya.org

World Suicide Prevention Month-Introduction article

Did you know that September is World Suicide Prevention Month? Well, come nikupeleke na mutara Hi (flow).I bet by now we all know a thing or two about suicide. Whether you have once contemplated it, known someone who has or heard of someone who succeeded in it.

It is easy for society to sit around and judge those who attempt suicide for their actions or lack thereof. Hell, some African communities even cane the mwenda zake (the deceased) for taking their lives. Many a times, those who have had suicide attempts are asked why they want to hurt their families, why they feel like a cloud of sadness is hovering above their heads, what are they going through that has happened to noone else yet? Why can’t they hold on a little longer? Or why can’t they pray or just shun the feelings? This is just a tip of the iceberg.

You may be reading this article thinking I have the answers but I don’t. I am just trying to navigate through life as it comes as we all are. But don’t you worry. Through this article and more in this series, we’ll tackle some of these questions.

In this modern era, people face pressures from all the ends of the earth. COVID pandemic has worsened the situation. People have lost incomes, their families, their loved ones while facing an unknown future. That’s why we keep seeing the, “Be kind, you don’t know what someone is going through” quotes. I agree with them. Totally. In a world where someone is trying to balance work, children, family, economic hurdles and an unknown future, the last thing they need is to be around heartless people. That may just be the last nail on their coffin. Fellow humans, kindness doesn’t cost you a dime. Care for others does not put a literal crown on your head, but it may melt someone’s heart. It may give someone a purpose, a will to carry on. Empathy; is about putting yourself in someone else’s shoes even when they may be suicidal and facing unknown battles. Be the hand that says, “Here brother, here sister, let me lift you up.” Let’s cease pointing fingers and yelling, Let us ask each other: “How do I make it better for you? How do I help?”

I understand that someone may read this and assume I am designating the Messiah role to my readers. I am not. I am just here to remind all of us that suicide prevention goes beyond pushing flowery hashtags on social media. It goes beyond attending vigils for the ones we’ve lost to this monster. Suicide prevention begins with ME and YOU.

In solidarity with this year’s theme: Creating Hope Through Action, the African Character Initiative Program (ACIP), will be doing more articles of this nature. We will also have a program containing daily challenges to help us create hope for our alumni and like-minded individuals. We will also be offering probono counselling services at the comfort of your home, through our able counsellors .I would suggest you hop into our bandwagon and CREATE HOPE THROUGH ACTION.

More details to be communicated soon. For more info email us at: acip@acipkenya.org.

ACIPKenya

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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