S.A.F.E. is an arts for social change organisation working in some of Kenya’s most remote and vulnerable communities. SAFE Samburu has worked in the Westgate Conservancy, for 8 years. Samburu has one of the lowest development indicators in Kenya with 73% illiteracy, 50% of girls falling pregnant under 18, and 67% undergoing Female Genital Cutting (FGC) (2021).
In 2022, Kenya saw HIV transmissions rise for the first time in a decade, and Samburu was reported as 1 of 6 counties with the highest rates of new transmissions. Climate change, and long periods of drought, combined with the cost of living crisis, are exacerbating these issues, especially for young people.
Only 20% of young girls are in education, due to early pregnancy and the lack of value attributed to female education in Samburu culture. These girls often undergo Female Genital Cutting and are married before 18. Male youths struggle to finish primary education due to low attainment, drug and alcohol abuse, HIV status, lack of fees and the attraction of quick income generation as bodaboda (motorbike) drivers. Out of school boys look after animals and the homestead, and as the most sexually active group, they risk contracting and spreading STIs.
This new pilot project, delivered directly with the target out-of-school young people, will inform, empower and build the confidence and agency of young people to make decisions about their futures and give them a platform to communicate their needs to the community.
Dedicated forums will be carried out in their homesteads in the evenings training 160 partcipants on sexual health, human rights, the environment and climate change. Engaged participants will be chosen to work with S.A.F.E. to create a performance based on their most pertinent issues. This will be taken on a community tour, reaching homesteads, schools and markets with key messages for the community.