HUMAN INTEREST STORY-Girls Support System
Nelly (Not her real name) is worried, she has missed her periods for 3 months, and is experiencing morning sickness. She is very worried, she is a candidate preparing to sit for her KCPE, she doesn’t; know what to do. She is dull, sleeps in class, pick up fights easily, something is very wrong. She is reported to the Ambassadors, who take their time to privately find out what is wrong with her, they start stressing on the need to share worries through the Talking Boxes. Nelly is approached and requested to share whatever her problems is through the Talking Boxes. The mentors are alerted that something isn’t right with one of the girls and they should come for a GPENDE Assembly so the girls are reminded that they don’t have to keep their problems but share on paper. They girls have not revealed who their target girl is, the mentors hit the road to this particular school.
Contents are collected on the 2nd day and there is one reading “how can you know if you are pregnant?”. The mentors have to go back to school for content response, they are addressing pregnancy, how people become pregnant and the signs. The Ambassadors are convinced that Nelly is pregnant, Nelly is also convinced that she is pregnant. The Ambassadors decide to take it head on, they are their sister’s keeper. The approach is super, I am smiling as the ambassadors narrate how they approached Nelly. “Kindly tell us what your problem is, we are the only people who can help you without judging you. Whatever the problem we can solve it at Polycom without letting anyone know. You know Hilda (The Mentor in charge of the school) is our friend and we agreed that we cannot hide anything from her. We suspect that you are pregnant.” Nelly has been corners, so she admits her fears. They agree to come to Polycom and talk to Hilda to advise.
The girls report to their Patron (teacher in charge of Polycom programs) that they have an emergency and must rush to Polycom. They cannot be stopped, many teachers associate such emergencies with abrupt periods so they never stop them. When the girls get to the office they approach Hilda who gives them an appointment to come back the following day with Nelly. Hilda is taking her time to discuss with the resident Counsellor on what to do. The girls have to sneak out this time around, they cannot request to go to Polycom again and be allowed. They received pads yesterday and cannot have any further emergency.
Hilda is ready with the Counsellor to sit with Nelly as they rest of the Ambassadors continue with their usual Girls Talk with Hilda shortly and then leave back to school. The girls will come back for Nelly at 3:00 p.m. After intensive session, Nelly is taken to the clinic for test by Everlyne, a Polycom Volunteer. She is ready to confront her fears after the counselling session.
Nelly has a boyfriend who is a boda boda rider, they have been having unprotected sex for over 6 months, note, at times he uses protection at times he doesn’t. She has been having morning sickness and even vomited that morning. She is always tired and sleeping, so all the signs are there, she is pregnant. The nurse is prepared ahead of time, we want our girl to be handled in a special way, she must be encouraged and supported whether her result is positive or negative.
And good news, Nelly is not pregnant! She jumps and hugs Everlyne, and has hope and joy written all over her face. A sigh of relief for Nelly.
Now our work as Polycom begins:-
- We must make sure that Nelly is supported to do her examination
- We must walk with Nelly to understand the importance of her education and the need to make it a priority.
- We must upskill her understanding of Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights.
- We must encourage the girls to use the Talking Boxes more
- More GPENDE Assemblies are needed to encourage to use the Talking Boxes.
Polycom Development Project