Wezesha Vijana, Fostering Healthy Mother – Daughter Relationships
May 8, 2020
A mother is not just someone who gives birth, but is also an embodiment of love, sacrifice, and endurance for her child. She is responsible for shaping her child’s growth and development and often at the expense of her comfort, luxuries, and happiness. No matter the location, her child’s well-being is always a mother’s primary concern.
One of Asante Africa Foundation’s cornerstone programs, Wezesha Vijana’s (Girls’ Advancement Program) objectives is to foster mother-daughter dialogues to address the barriers that limit girls’ opportunities and growth. The program is implemented in the marginalized areas among the rural communities in Kenya. Tanzania, and Uganda, where there are limited opportunities for youth development. Cultural traditions become barriers for girls, who have higher levels of illiteracy, higher levels of early pregnancies, gender based violence, and are subject to other harmful social traditions. These factors relegate women to low-income jobs and keep them in poverty and leave the region under developed.
To build a better future for their daughters, mothers are at the forefront and have become crucial partners in Asante Africa Foundation’s campaign to keep girls in school and continue learning. These mothers act as the necessary catalysts in transforming and stopping negative and harmful traditions that endanger and limit their daughters. Mothers provide social, physical, and psychological support for their girls; a multidimensional approach to ensure the well-being and development of young people.
Girls’ Advancement Program leaders conduct mother-daughter forums, which acts in enhancing and strengthening bonds between mothers and their daughters. Initially, cultural norms and practices hindered the proceedings of the forums with mothers mostly holding back on discussions that they regarded as inappropriate or deemed improper for their young daughters. Topics such as reproductive health and hygiene, puberty and gender-based violence posed as difficult discussion topics even for the facilitators.
Despite initial setbacks, these forums have been embraced by mothers as a way to positively influence their daughters’ lives constructively. Most of the mothers have personalized the topics of puberty, menstruation, and gender-based violence to cater to their daughters’ needs. Now, mothers can confidently share stories, feelings, and experiences. Daughters also ask questions and advice freely in these forums. Mothers openly share anecdotes and advice in these forums and this has greatly strengthened the individual mother-daughter relationships. This has also helped to contribute to the community-wide effort to support parents and the youth.
Happy Mothers’ Day to all heroines through the lives of our youth!
By Simon Kinyanjui