Stawisha Dada (STADA), a Community Based Organization (CBO) in Kisumu County has been at the forefront of empowering young girls, women, and communities by providing health and hygiene education.
The founder and director of STADA, Patricia Orao, said she came up with STADA towards the end of 2020 in order to sensitize the community on the rights of the girl-child and fight against gender-based violence.
“We champion for the rights of our women. We conduct educational programmes, provide basics for widows and the elderly, and economic empowerment for teenage girls who delivered when still in school,” declared Orao.
She said the organization intends to put up a firm to manufacture reusable sanitary towels to help in reducing pollution and cut costs for the users.
“We would like to have a neat environment and sanitary pads form a large number of solid wastes dumped anyhow. Having these reusable towels that can be washed will ensure a tidy environment and also cut down expenditure,” revealed the founder.
She added that these towels would help school-going girls not to drop out of school.
STADA has also been keen on helping the community to ensure the reduction of risks that girls and women are exposed to.
“We dig boreholes and repair those that have broken down. We dig pit latrines and provide water tanks in public spaces. When there is a drought, it is the women and girls who suffer. Some get attacked and abused,” she said.
The STADA director also disclosed that the organization has been able to make an impact on many girls and women across the country by distributing the sanitary towels and having health and hygiene talks adding that they were not only focused on those in Kisumu.
“So far, we have reached almost 10,000 girls and women in different parts of Kenya including Kitui, Nakuru, and Homa Bay and the impact has been very positive,” said Orao.
She also stated that the talks included tips on water collection, treatment, and preservation and that the organization was also promoting girl-child education by paying school fees for those in school who are vulnerable.
“For health and hygiene talks, we enlighten the community on how to preserve and treat water alongside personal hygiene and more. We also pay school fees for a good number of children,” said Orao.
Kanyagwal Location chief Bonface Nyandeche lauded the efforts made by the CBO so far in his area adding that he would really wish to see more and have an empowered community.
“I’m very delighted and proud of STADA. Girls and women in this area were very vulnerable but since STADA pitched a tent here, girls are safe, enlightened, and empowered. They are taught their rights and provided for basic necessities,” noted the chief.
Nyandeche added that the organization has trained young girls who dropped out of school due to early pregnancies and they could now sustain themselves.
He urged girls that it was upon them to protect their lives so that they could bring positive change in their communities in the coming days but only if they stick to teachings and empower themselves.
By Peter K’opiyo