Every year in sub-Saharan Africa, one out of every 10 children die before their fifth birthday from preventable causes like pneumonia and diarrhea. Amref Health Africa takes a holistic approach to reduce these needless deaths by ensuring both a healthy childhood and a healthy community for the child to thrive in.
We strengthen health systems to offer better immunization and treatment services for common childhood illnesses, and establish hygiene and nutrition education programs in schools. We also educate communities on the harmful effects of some traditional practices that can affect children’s health, namely Female Genital Cutting (FGC) which continues to be a social norm in parts of sub-Saharan Africa.
Alternative Rites of Passage (ARP)
FGC is not only a life-threatening and extremely painful ritual, but as soon as a girl is cut, she is considered a woman and expected to leave school and get married. ARP is a community-led and community-driven cultural alternative to FGC that seeks to retain the harmless cultural rituals and celebrations around womanhood while removing the harmful cut for girls. In Kenya in 2009, Amref Health Africa worked side-by-side with the Maasai community who proposed the alternative to FGC themselves to roll out ARP with support from the Dutch Postcode Lottery. ARP offers training that sensitizes local communities to the dangers of FGC, promotes a collective decision to abandon it and embrace ARP. The new ritual combines the traditional ceremony with sexual health education and the promotion of girls’ education. Since 2009, a total of over 10,500 girls have undergone ARP in Kenya and Tanzania.
Dagoretti Child in Need
Dagoretti, a slum in Nairobi, Kenya has a disproportionate number of children living on the streets. Some are from abusive homes, and many more are orphans who have lost their parents to HIV/AIDS. Our Dagoretti Child in Need project is a model for community-based childcare that specifically supports children on the street in a process that involves rescue, rehabilitation, re-socialization and reintegration. The program is operated through a center in Dagoretti that caters to 180 children. The program assists the children in rejoining the Kenyan school system or to begin vocational training programs. The children can visit the center on a daily basis and receive food, healthcare services and counseling.
"I demand that girls become women without being cut. Every young girl in Kenya and beyond can become the woman of her dreams. I did."
Nice Nailantei Leng’ete, FGC Survivor and Amref Health Africa Project Officer