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BY JOAN WANJIKU,NAIROBI,24TH MARCH,2019-Huawei Technologies in collaboration with United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and Safaricom (NSE: SCOM) & Women in Technology hosted a mentorship session on Thursday for 15 young students from the Samburu Girls’ Foundation in Samburu County.
Female members of staff from the three organisations had a session where they shared advice with the girls on pursuing their career goals and their dreams along with practical professional skills. The staff from Safaricom (NSE: SCOM) & Women in Technology group highlighted the need for more girls to pursue more Science and Mathematics subjects that for a long time were viewed as only for men, and sought to inspire the girls to take to those subjects.
Huawei is keen on youth mentorship as a form of personal development as it provides a platform to learn from others, and to also meet people or figures who they can aspire to emulate. It also provides the youth with an up-close opportunity to ask and learn on a very inter-personal level.
Samburu Girls’ Foundation was founded by Dr. Josephine Kulea, HSC, whose passion was drawn from being from a pastoralist community and observing practices such as FGM, beading (to mark them for sexual engagement from an early age) and child marriage where the girls are married off from as early as 11 years.
Through the foundation, the girls are given a safe place to stay and receive psychological support through counselling. The girls have overcome incredible challenges in their lives and have inspirational stories of hope. They also have a clear message for others in Kenyan society about the importance of eradicating these harmful practices and ensuring all girl receive a full education.
During the mentoring session the girls learnt how dedication and overcoming challenges was and still is the very heart of Huawei’s culture and success, as Huawei grew from a group of 6 people searching for business opportunities in rural China and then struggling in remote corners of Africa to build telecommunications networks to the successful global company that it is now.
Even now Huawei is an employee owned company and thus able to share it’s profits with staff whose dedication has contributed to the company’s success. The message for the girls was that their incredible strength from overcoming their challenges will stand them in good stead to have success in the future.
During an awareness raising event on Friday at the Norfolk Hotel, themed ‘Celebrating the past, planning for the future’ Huawei provided a platform for the girls to share their stories about the journey and how they suffered FGM and early marriages before being rescued by the Samburu Girls Foundation. Members of the media and stakeholders discussed these issues in-depth with the girls.
Speaking at the session, The Foundation Head of Communications Jeremiah Kipainoi lauded its partners for their role in transforming the lives of the girls in the community.
“The livelihoods of the girls at Samburu Girls Foundation has been transformed since partners such as Huawei, UNFPA and Safaricom (NSE: SCOM) & Women in Technology came on board. Through their support, the girls have become empowered through education and have a place where they safe to call home that is safe far away from some cultural practices such as FGM. This has not only transformed lives of the girls but also of the communities around who now know that girls can be more”, said Mr Kipainoi.
Huawei’s Head of Public Affairs Adam Lane, while speaking at the event highlighted the importance of technology in increasing access to relevant resources and information.
“We have donated Matebooks, laptops and an internet router over the years, as part of our contribution towards ensuring that the girls have access to education and other information such as college opportunities. Accessing the internet with support from Safaricom has opened their eyes to the world. They’ve used the devices to set up a journalism club so the girls are able to tell their stories to their communities and the whole world, thus helping change attitudes toward these harmful practices”, said Mr. Lane.
This was the first ever trip to Nairobi for most of the girls and was sponsored by Huawei to help prepare them for college. They also met with lecturers from Zetech University and visited Nairobi National Museum.
Samburu Girls Foundation was started in 2011, and has over the years succeeded in to rescuing over 1,000 girls from Samburu, Isiolo, Laikipia and Marsabit counties. Samburu Girls Foundation has not only rescued thousands of girls, but has also created an environment for them to receive education from the primary to the tertiary level