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Men Of Honour (MENTENDA) Initiative - A word derived from a Kiswahili & English word, which collectively means, Men Do Things Right

Adolescent boys and male youth are key to realizing safer spaces for the whole community, especially, children, women and girls. This idea is to implement an innovative and transformational social and life skills mentorship programme targeting young men in school of the ages 14 to 25. This mentorship programme will be implemented through their schools settings and provided by successful volunteer old boys from their schools. these old boys will be mobilized to sign up, be vetted, and admitted as mentors. A mentors guide has been developed already borrowing lessons from a similar gender based programme that KCDF has successfully implemented with girls since 2006, with extraordinary success.

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The origin and sources of insecurity problems in communities, especially low income settlements like urban slums are male youth who are trying to find something to do for money and other self actualization needs. Many are disillusioned, dropped out of school, lack role models and adequate family support because some come from single headed families, lost in drugs and alcohol abuse among other personality and self-esteem challenges.

Thus addressing the safety and security of women and girls, can not be realized without engaging the potential perpetrators, who are adolescent male youth and young men living within those communities. Targeting this group of people with mentorship and life skills training could turn them into the most effective allies in ensuring safety in urban slums of Kenya. We would like to start with Nairobi slums and hopefully replicate in other cities in Kenya

KCDF will work through local community organizations to implement the mentorhsip programme. The programme will be implemented through local schools through a partnerhsip with volunteer mentors, the schools management and community leaders. KCDF will provide the tools for the mentorship togetehr with small funding to enable planning, implementation and documentation of results. Tracking each boy who partcipates in the mentorship as well as the school will be through indicators that are adaptable to their lolcal context.

Explain your idea in one sentence.

Our idea to transition young adolescent men into men of honour. Men who are driven by family values, leadership, respect of rights of women and girls, love for their country, forward looking (ambitious) and demonstrate solidarity with their county.

What is the need you are trying to solve?

The origin and sources of insecurity problems in communities, especially low income settlements like urban slums are male youth who are trying to find something to do for money and other self actualization needs. Many are disillusioned, dropped out of school, lack role models and adequate family support because some come from single headed families, lost in drugs and alcohol abuse among other personality and self-esteem challenges. Thus addressing the safety and security of women and girls, can not be realized without engaging the potential perpetrators, who are adolescent male youth and young men living within those communities. Targeting this group of people with mentorship and life skills training could turn them into the most effective allies in ensuring safety in urban slums of Kenya. We would like to start with Nairobi slums and hopefully replicate in other cities in Kenya

Who will benefit from this idea and how would you monitor its success?

The main beneficiaries of this mentorship programmes are: 1. Direct - Adolescent men and youth of between 14 and 25 years 2. Women and Girls in the slum community 3. Law enforcement officials within the slum districts targeted by this intervention 4. The whole community will benefit from reduced incidences of crime, especially children and the elderly

Who would be best equipped to implement this idea in the real world? You? Your organisation? Another organisation or entity?

KCDF is a grants making and capacity building organizations. We work through partnerships with local community organizations. These community organizations are best placed to implement these ideas because they are hosted in the same communities and have very close and good association with the people living in these slums. Key stakeholders will be the constituency development offices, local administration officials (Chiefs etc), the police department among others. While KCDF will take leadership in the innovation and linkages facilitation, the local groups will drive the initiatives in their host slum communities.

Where should this idea be implemented?

KCDF is already implementing livelihoods programmes in seven slum areas in the capital city of Nairobi. This will be the catchment area for this intervention. subject to resources available, KCDF may work with three or four slums areas only, while the other slums might be used as control sites. The entry point will be primary and secondary schools (both informal and formal schools). The secondary focus will be siblings of the schools going children based on referrals to families badly affected by children involved in crime.

How might you prototype this idea and test some of the assumptions behind it?

KCDF will test the model in two or four separate villages inside the slums of Nairobi. One will be a control village while the other will be the intervention village or site. This way, it is possible to vary the approaches and to track the responses, adoption, changes and results over the same period. The lessons and outcomes will help in refining the idea, document it and replicate or scale the reach. A guide book may be produced that can be validated by the security agencies and adopted as a best practice in enhancing community led safety and security model for vulnerable groups, especially women, girls and children.

What might a day in the life of a community member interacting with your idea look like?

Local Community Leader: interacting with key informants and village security promoters to analyses incidences and to carry out door to door campaigns targeting man and youth, who are likely perpetrators of these offences. Using this information to consult with police officers and the local political leaders to investigate, make arrests, and have offenders punished and have their detailed posted in public places in a name & shame strategy to make the public aware of them. Local Administration: these are enforcers of the law. They will be enjoying their roles as security enforcers as more information on incidences or planned offences are unearthed by communities – preventing new incidences by raising alarms and demanding actions Ordinary members of the community: going about their usual livelihood business. However, more alert and consciously looking out for women, girls and children that may be exposed and offering to shield them through dark paths, unsafe spaces and publicly naming, talking about and uniting the community around safety issues. They will be using symbols and signs that form part of the alarm and response systems that deter or inform people about possible attack on women, girls and children. Women & Girls: A woman/girl in the community will walk around and go about their day to day businesses without fear BUT fully conscious about their safety and aware about the coded alarm and response system, the local security champions and the safe spaces where they can seek refuge, when they feel in danger. The women and girls must also risks that are caused by their ‘own behaviours’ that promote or enhance their risks such as dress code, over exposure, avoiding dark spaces, avoiding lonely paths, speaking out. Men & Boys: These will be the chief campaigners and shall now include in their day activities, campaigns and peer to peer discussions with other boys & men about the value of total safety in their communities. They will not only be champions, but also, take strong and bold decisions about their peers who are well known as aggressors and offenders against children, girls and women in their community. They will consciously respond to requests for shielding their sisters and mothers. Reporting incidences of aggression against women and girls to the police will now become their passion and duty. They will regularly visit the public notice boards to learn about which embers of their community are on the lime light. Boys in school: will be attending their normal academic lessons, while those out of school will be receiving mentorship and life skills training to provide them with alternative sources of income. We expect reduced schools absenteeism as an alternative to crime and risk of arrest and sometimes mob justice related deaths.

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Really exciting idea, Tom and KCDF team! I think your focus on boys of this age group is really important. I'd love to learn more about how you envision the boys of this mentoring program directly interacting with women and girls in the community. Feel free to add to/edit your post at any time by clicking on the 'Update' button, or you can respond to questions directly here if you like. Thank you for the inspiring contribution!

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