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Community conversations: changing lives in Kenya

Concern Worldwide has been helping people to come together and solve problems in their local communities.

 We’ve been using an approach called community conversations. It shows how to solve issues as a group.

Coming together

It gives people a chance to share ideas on how to make changes. One community we’ve worked with in Migori County have been able to solve problems they’ve had for years. By meeting up and talking they discovered that a high number of teenage girls were dropping out of school because of a lack of sanitation. Once they realised, they were able to ask members of the community to help.

Training

This led to more openness; they started to talk about other issues such as the violence affecting women and girls. We have since begun to train schools in how to protect their pupils from further abuse.

An end to stigma

HIV is another issue which has been brought up in community conversations. Jane is HIV positive and the stigma around her illness made it hard to get medical treatment for her son who was malnourished. Talking about the myths around HIV with each other made her community aware of discrimination as a problem. Jane’s life has changed dramatically:

As a result of these conversations, I was referred to a health clinic, who gave me advice about what I need to do to keep my children as healthy as possible. My baby was put on treatment and given extra food and since then he has gained weight and is a healthy child.

Positive futures

This approach to solving problems can make a big difference to how communities live. For members of the community, like John Okore, there is now a better way forward. In his words:

Now we know how to catch fish for our own.