Always Searching for New Opportunities to Empower Women
Since Bendettah Muthina (40) founded three local women’s groups in the 1990s, she has been teaching women about hygiene, health, women’s rights, and girls’ rights to education. In late July 2008, Bendettah joined with the founder of Project Africa, and subsequently founded a new PA chapter in Lunga Lunga, Kenya. She later started PA-centers in two more villages, Godo and Perani. Now, Bendettah continues to work for the rights of women and girls in countless capacities.
Collaborating with a professor at the University of Wisconsin, Bendettah assisted in establishing the Mobile Clinic in 2010, for which she and a public nurse travel by motorbike to provide care for the most remote villages. She has also helped launch the Nikumbuke Permanent Health Post in Lunga Lunga to provide health care to a larger population. Not only do the center and the mobile clinic provide health services, they also provide lessons for women in nutrition, breastfeeding, hygiene, STD/HIV awareness, family planning, malaria, etc. Thanks to the health-education program, more families now know how to protect themselves from malaria and family planning is becoming more widespread.
Again in 2010, Bendettah worked to implement a long-term health promotion campaign that includes summer health camps and training for community health workers. An anti-malaria program was also established, comprising of Malaria Rapid Tests, the distribution of insecticide treated nets, and the “Malaria Street Theater.” Additional endeavors include a water project, a micro-finance project, and an English literacy and friendship campaign that pairs up girls in rural Kenya with American university students.
Unable to attend university despite success in high school, Bendettah understands the importance of education for girls. Consequently, she established a literacy program that has to date pulled 40 women out of illiteracy and allowed 250 women to improve their English. At the educational center, women also have the opportunity to take business classes. Of the 89 women who studied for their business exam, 32 passed in March 2012. Additionally, Bendettah added classes in tailoring and dressmaking for girls who drop out of primary school. These girls are often at great risk for abuse and early pregnancy, however, this program gives the girls the opportunity for employment.
Not only does Bendettah’s center provide educational opportunities for women, but technology classes also train youth in computer skills. One of the greatest successes for young girls is “The Stars” program, a mentorship program for girls aged 6 to 17. Each Saturday these girls meet to support and encourage each other. Local teachers attest that now 85% of girls finish their 8th level in primary education, as opposed to the 50% that finished prior to the program.