Welcome to the second part of our Inspirational Interview with Sayydah Garrett, Co-Founder and President of Pastoralist Child Foundation.
You can find the first part of the interview here.
All pictures are courtesy of Sayydah Garrett/Pastoralist Child Foundation.
6. How has PCF benefited from having Samburu native and warrior Samuel Siriria Leadismo, as well as other local volunteers, support your mission on the ground in Kenya?
PCF grew very fast because PCF’s co-founder Samuel Siriria Leadismo (member of the Black Cattle Clan of the Samburu Tribe) and the team of workshop and training facilitators are from the local community. They live with their people in the community and work directly with them at the grassroots level. Samburu people respect and listen to their educated daughters and sons and understand that we have their best interests at heart.
The goal is to eradicate FGM and child marriage while preserving the beautiful aspects of Samburu culture. That is why the community is now a cheerleader for PCF. People understand the benefits of girls’ educational workshops, community dialogue, and girls’ educational sponsorship.
7. You believe that education for girls will improve the communities. How does education and literacy lead to empowerment and equality?
We find that educated girls are more likely to stay in or near their communities and become mothers who encourage their children to go to school. Quality girls’ education empowers by giving them choices, alleviates poverty and yields great returns in socio-economics, health, population and politics. Education leads to increased income for girls themselves, but also for nations as a whole.
Better educated girls become women who have smaller, healthier families with lower infant and maternal mortality rates. Primary education significantly reduces infant mortality, and secondary education helps even more because women know how to use health services, improving nutrition and sanitation, and taking advantage of their own increased earning capability. Girls who get a quality education marry later when they are better able to bear and care for their children.
Educated girls are also more likely to stand up for themselves and resist unhealthy relationships, identify sexual coercion and as grown women become more likely to participate in political discussions, meetings and decision making.
8. PCF provides full educational sponsorship to girls in low-income allowing them to attend high performing private boarding schools. How many girls has PCF sponsored and what has the response been from these girls, their families and their communities?
PCF currently sponsors 9 girls – 7 in Samburu and 2 in Narok. The girls are excited and ready to give back to the community when they graduate from secondary school. Some wish to continue on to post-secondary studies. Our students will become doctors, nurses, teachers, social workers, lawyers, and even pilots.
The community is simply ecstatic about this opportunity PCF provides for the girls. They egg us on by cheering, “Go! Go! Go!” The girls’ families and friends are so proud and thankful for what we do for them. It’s a big deal whenever a new girl gets sponsored. Graduating from high school is a big deal because many girls do not even finish primary school. The girls’ parents also declare/promise to never make the girls undergo FGM nor force them to marry early.
9. How can The Pixel Project’s supporters engage with and support the Pastoralist Child Foundation?
The Pixel Project’s supporters can engage with PCF in several ways:
- Financially supporting our organisation by donating on our website and organizing fundraising campaigns to support the operation of PCF and its workshops.
- Liking and sharing our Facebook and social media posts
- Inviting us to speak at schools, colleges and universities, and business meetings or conferences where FGM is a topic of discussion
- Sponsoring a girl’s high school education for US $1,500 annually.
- Visit our website at www.pastoralistchildfoundation.org where you can subscribe to our monthly e-newsletter. We are very friendly and respond in a timely manner to all phone and email inquiries as well.
10. In your considered opinion, how can we end violence against women for good?
The best way to end violence against women and girls is to prevent it from happening in the first place by addressing its root and structural causes. We must make a concerted effort to educate young boys and girls to foster respectful relationships between the two genders. Parents should take a more proactive role to instill fairness and equality between their daughters and sons. Stop favouring boys! Girls are just as precious and should also be just as valuable as boys.
PCF addresses gender-based violence and child/human rights in youth workshops. We have zero tolerance for violence against women. There is a need for civic education, formal education and learning about human rights. Girls and women who are victims of violence should always report to the authorities, and action should be taken swiftly by personnel who are paid to protect its citizens.