Kibera Women Psycho-Social Support and Empowerment

Mental health is an issue that affects all communities, in all countries and in all income and class spheres. In Kibera, there is no assistance for women who have suffered from sexual abuse; domestic violence; teenage pregnancy; prostitution; and stigma related to HIV. Young women carry traumas without any assistance, often as single-mothers trying to care for their children.

Women in Kibera bear the brunt of economic deprivation and poverty because as housewives, mothers, care givers and household heads, they are responsible for the upkeep of the family. Many of the young women have no educational qualifications and hence very little chance of getting employment in the formal sector. Deep down they suffer from the sub-conscious effects of post-traumatic stress, making their struggles even harder which in turns potentially affects their children.

This program aims to provide 20 young women between the ages of 19 and 35 years of age with vocational, leadership, financial and life skills training so that they can set up two businesses that will not only generate income but also make them role models within the community.

The Specific Objectives of this project are:

  • To provide basic vocational, small business management training to 20 young women in Kibera, Nairobi
  • To help 20 young women set up two businesses that will generate income for its members and financial support for its mental health outreach activities
  • To hold six community outreach sessions to 120 women, on how to cope with psycho-social causes and challenges.

Mental health is often seen as taboo, due to persons affected by various forms of trauma unwilling to come forward - it is seen as a form of weakness and of being beyond what is considered ‘normal’. However, mental health is very much at the heart of social issues in places such as Kibera. Young criminals often come from single-parent families, and have to deal with the affects of losing a parent either to substance abuse or other forms of health issues. Projects geared towards slum areas tend to deal with structural issues and in simple forms of self-belief. But none dig at the core of the problem which is many young person finding ways to deal with traumas generated by social behavior and issues formed by the affects of poverty.

This project goes at the root cause of the need to change mentalities so as to affect greater community change. This is fresh perspective to a long existent set of problems.

The project will aim to affect the lives of 140 young women in its first year and with its sustainable approach, the initial funds will not only set about a benchmark program in Kibera, it hopes to provide a model for other women in Nairobi and in other parts of Africa.

Kibera Women Psycho-Social Support and Empowerment