Megan Orr

Megan Orr (Kakenya Center for Excellence - KCE): Between 2006 and 2009, Megan studied graduated from the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC), where she studied Sociology, Film & Digital Media. Megan also worked as the Program Coordinator at the UCSC Women’s Center, where she organized Lunafest, a national traveling film festival of films by, for, and about women. Megan then worked as an Associate Video Editor for 'the Muse,' an online video periodical, and a freelance Videographer for AOL's national news website, After her fellowship Megan wrote: “I learned a tremendous amount about Maasai culture, politics, and education. It taught me about cross-cultural communication and patience. By working with the facilitators I was able to absorb a huge amount of information about FGM, leadership, self-defense and rape prevention."

Self-Defense Workshops Kick Camp into Motion

13 May

Back elbow to the throat, front kick to the groin, bottom palm to the chest! These are just few of the self defense moves our KCE camp participants learned in this year’s workshops.

The Nairobi-based self-defense organization, I am Worth Defending kicked off this year’s camp.  “Screaming is a sign of fear, whereas yelling is a sign of courage and confidence,” workshop facilitator, Alfred Makabira, tells the thirty beaming faces. The I am Worth Defending workshop slogan is, “Your security is your responsibility.”

One aspect of the workshop involved teaching the girls to shout, “I love my body. I will protect my body. I say NO to FGM!” Throughout the entire week the girls recited this message. The all-day workshop taught the girls how to be effective communicators by denouncing sexual harassment and unwanted attention as it occurs. They were taught to use their voices as tools of self-defense by yelling the specific violation in order to humiliate the attacker and notify those around the premises of their misconduct. This tactic demonstrated a shared responsibility for girls’ protection within the community.

The palm strike was the first physical self-defense move the girls were taught

The workshop ended with the facilitation of physical self-defense techniques aimed at primary targets on the human body. At first, most of the girls were too shy to try the moves. They covered their mouths and giggled with embarrassment, but by the end they were kicking, punching and exercising their ability to say, “No!”

Volunteers practice the front kick to the groin, their peers watch in amazement

After we all worked up a sweat, the day concluded with a question and answer period where the girls (ages 9 to 16) could anonymously write about their own exposure to some of the issues discussed that day. The exercise created a safe space for the girls to ask questions about sexual and reproductive health, self-protection, and those queries that adolescence often forces us to ask. Although the workshop’s slogan specifically puts the responsibility of protection on the girls, it also fostered a spirit of self-worth, reinforcing the belief that “I am worth defending.”

The knee kick to the groin is one technique the girls really mastered


Posted By Megan Orr

Posted May 13th, 2012

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