Wednesday, May 11, 2016

What is Body Safety Education?

I arrived in Kenya eleven months ago. I am only a month away from my return to the USA. I am a bit sad that I will be leaving but I am hoping to leave a positive change here in Kenya since Kenya has made such a positive change on me. Kenya has taught me so much. I have learned about new cultural practices and traditions. I am nervous I will return to the USA and greet everyone in a room with handshakes and cheek kisses. I have learned a good amount of Kiswahili to the point that words like "sawa" (ok), "pole" (sorry), "asante" (thanks) and "sasa" (whats up) are integrated into my vocabulary. USA get ready to hear a mzungu speaking random words of kiswahili.


In addition Kenya has taught me so much about medicine. I have been working with AMPATH Clinic on a project helping children living with HIV. I have learned the resilience of these children and the dedication of the people supporting them. Kenya is such a beautiful country with so many kind and generous people. I have made life-long friends here and I hope come back and visit soon.


Kenya also taught me how to manage a research project and work with a team to meet our goals. Six months ago one of our research assistants brought to my attention a handful of cases of sexual abuse of children at his clinic. He was asking for help and guidance and we saw an opportunity to fill a gap.



One in three girls and one in five boys experience sexual abuse before the age of 18 based on a survey in 2010 in Kenya (1). Unfortunately sexuality is a taboo subject in Kenya and there is a large amount of stigma that surrounds children who have been sexually abused and their families. Rarely children in Kenya receive education about how to keep their private parts safe and prevent inappropriate touches. For many educators and healthcare providers its hard or embarrassing to talk about these topics of sexuality.

Thanks Maria Schlatter (Mom) for the book illustrations
In the hopes to fill in this educational gap my team developed a culturally friendly book that would educate children about private parts, good and bad touches and what to do if they experience inappropriate touches. At the same time the book helps healthcare providers and educators feel more comfortable about this topic. In addition it helps raise awareness in the community about the importance of educating and supporting our children.

Thanks Maria Schlatter (Mom) for the book illustrations
After a four month study we are finally ready to bring this book to the community. Surveys of study participants have created a list of where we can send these books. This includes orphanages, schools, churches, mosques, village elders, community outreach events and more. In the hopes to get these books out we hope to print a thousand books, but we need all the help we can get. 

Please visit: www.gofundme.com/bodysafetykenya to donate!  Thanks so much for all your help.



(1) UNICEF, CDC, Together for the Girls, Kenya Vision 2030, (2010) Violence Against Children in Kenya Findings from a 2010 National Survey. 



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