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 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!”
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.”
Posted By Megan Orr
Posted May 13th, 2012