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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Invitation to become an ACIP Champion in the land of Champions!
In March 2020, the Kenya Government woke up to the reality of COVID-19 and it was declared a national pandemic. The Government undertook a raft of measures to contain it including, restriction of local and international travel, stay-at-home orders; quarantine; partial lockdowns and cessation of movement into and out of Mombasa and Nairobi; countrywide dusk to dawn curfews; stoppage of public assembly including religious gatherings in churches and mosques; closure of all learning institutions, calls for all to sanitize, wear masks, observe social distancing and wash hands as frequently as possible.
In some places, the securitization of a public health issue meant that these measures were instituted violently, leading to the loss of human life. From towns to rural enclaves, anxiety has grown, and life has changed – dramatically for most – even after the government eased some of the social restrictions in July 2020. While businesses, government offices and service institutions such as courts, hospitals and some schools have adjusted to new ways of working in order to survive, the fact remains that children and adolescents are at home and many of them, especially girls, are not safe in these homes.
Beyond the tally of the sick and dying from COVID, the tally of those whose livelihoods have been severely impacted – and how they have been impacted – has hardly been made. Our concern is not with a tally of those children and adolescents whose lives are being destroyed in their homes by violence of various kinds, our concern is with finding measures to contribute to solutions for even one child or adolescent in danger.
How do we do this? How do we intervene in a space filled with secrecy and deceit?
How do we send a signal, a helping hand to rescue, reassure and/or reinstitute safety?
ACIP has identified Kijiji informal settlement in Hill School area of Eldoret as an area for possible intervention and has come up with a proposal for Participatory Action Research in Kijiji (The PARK project). ACIP is hereby making a call to its alumni to help us think through how we can be useful in Kijiji. What would be an effective, quick, accessible to all, and yet sustainable community action to support children and adolescents through COVID-19 and beyond?
We welcome you, dear ACIP alumnus, to become an ACIP Champion in the land of Champions by:
1. Volunteer your time, expertise and skills in a project that we have identified to facilitate our entry into the Kijiji community. The project involves distribution of reusable sanitary towels to all adolescent girls in Kijiji, and footballs to adolescent boys in Kijiji. We should make these sustainable into the future by recruiting alumni to keep it running and hand it over from one generation to another. Toward community building, we wish that both boys and girls are provided with basic hygiene, as well as confidence and self-esteem training together as one group. Once you volunteer, ACIP shall crown you ACIP Champion in the land of champions and meet (F2F or virtually) with you to agree on how each of you may be involved for those able and willing to work in that space.
2. Share ideas on what other community actions ACIP could engage in within Kijiji. We do not have any idea what kind of project this would be, but we would want it to be geared towards community building and it should be sustainable. If you are interested in this, please submit a two-page document indicating:
<> Target age group:
<> Need(s) to be addressed:
<> Time period:
<> Required human and other resources:
<> How to keep these activities going on for long:
<> Release date of Invitation: 1st October 2020
<> Submission Deadline: 10th October 2020
All submissions to email@example.com
All submissions that ACIP will adopt will be crowned ‘ACIP Champion in the land of champions’ at an event to be announced soon. The top four submissions will be awarded cash prizes of between twenty thousand (20k) and five thousand Kenya Shillings at an event to be announced soon.
Together we can be ACIP Champions in the land of Champions!
Do you want your child to become a responsible and successful adult? The future of your child is in your capable hands NOW “
The African character Initiation Program (ACIP) in Partnership with Global Group of Hospitals (GloGoh) invites you to the 2019 ACIP Initiation Workshop
Who? 11-15 years boys and girls
Where: Kipkeino Primary School. Eldoret.
When: 11-23 November 2019 (Boys) (Reporting by 4pm on 10th Nov for boys who need circumcision)
17th – 23rd November 2019 (Reporting at 2pm on 16th Nov 2019 for girls and boys who don’t need
17th November 2019 at 2-5pm (All Parents workshops (two parents/guardians per child)
What Core values:
- Love – for self, for other human persons and for all creation
- Respect – Respect for creation which translates into care and compassion for self, for
- Honesty – Integrity seeking to think, say and do the right thing at all times
- Hard work –positive attitudes and practices to the human call to co-create
- Self- Discipline – is about creating and sustaining health attitudes and practices that
move individuals to achieve their dreams
- Responsibility– appreciating that for every right there is a corresponding duty and making
all efforts to fulfil one’s duties at all times
- Spirituality – appreciating the interconnectedness of all creation and seeking healthy
relationships with all – with the self, with other humans and with all creation
(regardless of age, colour, tribe, language, sex, religion), and for all environment in spite of differences
The Aim of the Workshop is to facilitate adolescents transition from childhood to adulthood; from boys to men and from girls to women by:
- Offering medical circumcision for boys
- Facilitating learning of attitudes, knowledge and life skills and character values for holistic
- Conducting a parents’ workshop on positive parenting
- Form a strong mentorship network for continued support of alumni
Program of Activities for November 2019
Every year, we bring together boys and girls for an initiation process involving the following activities over a period of 7 days (for girls) and 14 days (for initiate boys).
- Sun, Nov 10: Arrival and registration of boys’ participants by 5.00pm. Evening: Worship, Commitment to
God and pre-circumcision counselling
- Mon, Nov. 11: Morning: Doctors perform operation Afternoon: Monitoring and Assessment
- Mon- Frid., Nov.11- 16th: Boys’ healing process accompanied by role modelling and Doctors’ visits. Enter-
education and passive indoor games go on throughout the period. Other activities include:
- 17th Nov. 2019: Parents Workshop and arrival of other boys and girls
- Nov.18-22nd 2019: Intensive Workshops
- Testimonies from different youths e.g. one recovering from alcohol abuse, one who has gone through ACIP
- Sat. Nov. 23: Graduation,
- 10.00am: All guests and graduands seated
- 10-11pm: Entertainments
- 11-12pm: Interdenominational Service
- 12-1pm: Address by Guest of Honour and other Speakers
- 1-2pm: Commissioning and Blessing of Graduates.
- Highlight of the day: Individual Graduates promise to parents/guardians
- 2pm: Communal sharing of a meal
- 4pm: Honourable Guests, parents, and graduates leave at their own leisure.
Every ACIP Jewel gets an ACIP Jewel, a Promise and a Certificate of Commitment
Cost: Shs.12,000.00 for girls and Shs. 28,000.00 for boys
Parent’s workshop: Shs. 500 per parent for tea & stationery
African Character Initiation Program ELDORET
For faster communication call any of the following:
Emily: 0733-991 621 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Pam: 0722-234 064 E-mail: email@example.com
GloGoh contact(s) here
Theme: The Making of a Kenyan: Towards National Identity and Character Values
24 – 25 July 2017
The inaugural National Initiation Rites Workshop, convened by the African Character Initiation Programme (ACIP), was held between 23 and 25 July 2017 at Maanzoni Lodge in Nairobi. The Workshop, whose theme was “The Making of a Kenyan: Towards National Identity and Character Virtues”, was characterized by robust engagements. Adopting the workshop model ensured participation of all in attendance. Indeed, it was a great gathering of people whose experiences are key in setting agenda for the current and next generation. The participants included local and international academics, government officials, members of the clergy from different denominations, youth, parents, teachers, leaders of various initiation rites programmes, donors, ACIP alumni and mentors.
During the three-day conference, participants reflected on how the various rites of passage, currently practiced in Kenya, could help forge a national identify based on character virtues. The conference participants shared best practices from people and organisations mentoring youth with the aim of imparting positive character values. Majority of the groups and individuals were faith-based.
The participants also discussed the impact of harmful cultural practices that are part of initiation rites in different communities, for example, female genital mutilation. Participants also heard from ACIP alumni and parents who reflected on their experiences. They also reflected on emerging gaps in modern rites of passage and the genesis of these practices, particularly in multicultural urban settings. The conference provided a networking opportunity that underlined the importance of merging theory with practice through linkage between the academia and community.
The ACIP founders also shared research findings from a study they conducted to help them look back at the work they have done since inception. The tracer study, which combined quantitative and qualitative components, indicated the need for a longitudinal study. It was noted that the ACIP alumni, who were some of the respondents and research assistants, graduated from the ACIP at different times thus their experiences are somewhat varied. The study provided ACIP with valuable feedback on its impact, highlighting what was working well. It also enabled the founder members identify existing gaps.
Participants worked in groups to identify the character values that are key in forging a Kenyan identity. They identified the following: Integrity, equity, social responsibility, justice, good governance, cohesion, love for one another, patriotism, recognition of cultural diversity and a God-fearing nation. The conversation was hinged on Vision 2030, Kenya’s development blueprint, and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The Workshop was part of the activities of a research project titled, Assessment of ACIP: A Character Virtues Program, that was generously funded by the Templeton World Charity Foundation Inc.
CALL FOR PROPOSALS (CFP)
The African Character Initiation Program (ACIP) of the Eldoret Based Gender and Development Network (ELDOGADNet) announces a call for proposals for 2 Master or 2 Doctoral research projects in areas of interest to ACIP from any of the disciplines in the School of Arts and Social Sciences at Moi University. Grants range between US$1,000 and 3.000.
The following topics are suggested for consideration by applicants, but the list is not exhaustive:
Religion and Traditional Initiation Rites in Kenya
Modern Initiation Rites in Kenya
Eradicating Female Mutilation
Adolescence and Values
Development culture and Youth Enterprise Funds
Submit a full proposal not exceeding 20 typed double spaced pages, font 12 Times New Roman, including bibliography and annexure, and an abstract not exceeding 300 words.
Include full contact details: full name, institution, cell phone number, email and one colored passport size photo.
Proposals submitted should have been considered and approved at departmental level and duly endorsed by supervisors or the Head of Department.
Must be submitted to the Coordinator, ACIP by 15th August 2016 via email.
Short listed applicants will be invited to present their proposals in the 2nd week of September 2016.
Awards will be made at the end of September 2016.
This research fund is supported by the Templeton World Charity Foundation Inc.
P.O. Box 7766-30100,
How To Apply: Inquiries and application documents should be sent to the Coordinator of ACIP at: Email: firstname.lastname@example.org