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.
“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 over $14,000 for U-Tena’s Kuza Project.
U-Tena established the Kuza Project in 2011 with the support of GlobeMed at Brown University. Currently they are mentoring 75 girls, 10-17 years of age, on issues of sexual health practices, mental health, and financial literacy. U-Tena is also partnering with Equity Bank in Nairobi, Kenya to open bank accounts for the 75 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 has just built a second youth center in the Mukuru slum that provides supplies so the girls can learn how to make handicrafts. The girls are also learning how to run small businesses, sell their own work, and 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 stipends for the Kuza mentors, administration costs, a FreshLife toilet for the new Kuza hall, and other supplies supporting the Kuza project such as monthly party expenses, crafting supplies, t-shirts, and sanitary pads. 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.