GlobeMed at Brown partners with U-Tena in Nairobi, Kenya to educate young women about financial literacy as well as sexual and mental health practices.
GlobeMed at Brown University + Ungano Tena
GlobeMed at Brown University | Providence, Rhode Island
Ungano Tena (U-Tena) | Nairobi, Kenya
There are approximately 2.5 million slum dwellers in about 200 settlements in Nairobi. These 2.5 million individuals represent 70 percent of the Nairobi population, but occupy just 5 percent of the city’s land area. Kibera houses almost 1 million of these people, but covers an area of only 3.1 square miles. This makes Kibera the biggest slum in Africa and one of the biggest in the world.
“The initiators of U-Tena also noted that there existed a gap in the information on HIV and AIDS, reproductive health, environmental health, and other domains of health of the youth and the community at large. It was due to the above challenges that talented youth came up to form U-Tena. The core strategy was to use theater as tool of delivering health information to youth and other members of the community. People from different parts of the world are invited to join U-tena provided they play part in realizing vision and mission of the organization.”
– Chacha Baru Peter Musya, Deputy Director at U-Tena
About the Partnership
Ungano Tena (U-Tena) is Swahili for reuniting – coming back together. U-Tena is a grassroots community-based organization created in 2005 by youth from the Viwandani-Mukuru slum in East Nairobi. U-Tena’s mission is to educate local communities about sexual and reproductive health, and to raise awareness of related issues through popular education and partnerships with key stakeholders. Using music, dance, two-dimensional art and theatre, U-Tena teaches communities about HIV, STIs, sexual health and reproductive health, among others. Since the fall of 2011, the GlobeMed chapter at Brown University has raised $9,400 for U-Tena’s Kuza Project.
U-Tena established the Kuza Project last year with the support of GlobeMed at Brown University. They have been mentoring 50 girls, 10-17 years of age, on issues of sexual health practices, mental health, and financial literacy. U-Tena has also partnered with Equity Bank in Nairobi, Kenya to open bank accounts for the 50 girls in the mentorship program. These bank accounts serve both as a lesson in earning and saving and provide them with a tangible way of utilizing their lessons. U-Tena will build a center in the Mukuru slum and provide supplies so the girls can learn how to make handicrafts. The girls will also learn to run small businesses, sell their own work, start putting money in their new savings accounts. This will help them delay or avoid entrance into exploitative lines of work.
GlobeMed at Brown University aims to raise $10,000 to fund the acquisition of a new youth center. U-Tena can use this center for the education of 50 young women, ranging in age from 10-17, involved in the KUZA Project. The KUZA Project aims to educate these young women on issues of mental and sexual health, with a strong initiative to dispel myths surrounding HIV transmission, and to encourage honest discussion on topics such as family planning. This year, U-Tena added a financial literacy component to the program by including a job-training curriculum facilitating the opening of savings accounts for the girls.