Your name and what do you do?
My name is Naima Twahir, I am the founder and director of Shakirina youth for development, I am a trained C/PVE (Countering /Preventing violent extremism) TOT ,youth leader advocating for youth inclusion , social worker, community health volunteer, also I am a business woman and a mother.
Tell us about Shakirina Youth for Development.
Shakirina youth for development is a community based organization registered in 15/12/2011 as a youth group Shakirina Youth group then upgraded to a community based organization, based in Old town Mombasa County.
Shakirina youth for development, email- firstname.lastname@example.org twitter- @ShakirinaYouth, instagram- shakirinayouth tell no-254 718 887 303
The group was initiated before 2012 elections with a group of youths with the aim of stopping violence and political dependency by doing business and community awareness on non-violent elections to youths
The community being faced with myriad of challenges that has inhibited its development key of those affected being youths, we initiated “preventing violence extremism through sports. In 2016 we engaged teens to play football at the fort Jesus grounds to keep them away from being exposed to drugs and related violent triggers
Using sports as a way to prevent violence we organize peaceful tournaments in Mombasa County as a whole and we do home visits to support teens in the project during difficulties. We refer teens to psychological support to professional counselors
Describe a typical day with the children?
We usually meet on every Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, they get trained by the coach under supervision and later on given 10 minutes to network
Every month we chose a day where we bring in a community leader to come and talk/sensitize to them on matters that could prevent them from being violent or drug addiction. After every 4 months they go for an exchange visit to learn about other people and culture.
We have 1 Sunday of month where they tell stories and read story books.
Is there enough resources in Mombasa to empower the youth?
I think yes, but there are poor structures on how to disburse them, most of those who access them are friends or affiliates of Mombasa county Politian’s/ campaigners, so if you are from the grassroots it’s not easy to access any!
What are the top three challenges youth face?
Violence in school and in the hood- parents, teachers and the community are all not responsible for teens, when they see them having a fight they just tend to ignore and this creates rifts between youths in the hood, when they start bullying each other it’s not seriously taken, its until when one is injured that’s the time they interfere, currently we have street fights and no talks about them in Old town.
Drug abuse- a large number of teens are chewing Mongokas which affects their wellbeing, a large number of youths are smoking bhang in the hood and its seen as a normal thing, others are like zombies on the street after sniffing, smoking cocaine and these has made their bodies less active by contributing to economy in old town, only women are on the forefront in doing businesses to look after their families. Drugs are easily available and accessible the peddlers sell drugs to young kids.
Education disparity- a larger number of youths in the hood are school dropouts, so they don’t feel appreciated or being engaged because of their educational background, they always withdraw themselves with others whom have gone and finished school, they have created social class between them 1.the learned and unlearned.
Many parents don’t know how to nurture artistic talent, how can parents help their artistic children?
Yes, they think nurturing talents is a waste of time and resources, they feel like talents is committing a sin, and with talents they will not make it in future. They have to believe in their children, get them exposed in other areas.
What are the challenges you face with the organization?
Lack of enough resources to sustain projects- we have a long term project in Old town, we train teens football 4 days per week, they wear jerseys which they need to be clean, we have a community volunteering coach whom the organization is not able to pay, members of the organizations are all volunteers so they need to work somewhere and earn daily bread then give back to the community by demonstrating their skills in the field work.
A focus on the short term projects- it when we abide by the rules given to us by donors, we cannot exceed or reduce from a short term projects, because that’s what the donor wants. Every short term project is specific and has its own time-frame.
Difficulties in programs approach to the community- our people are the hardest to deal with, whenever you engage them in anything they resist but later they will murmur and complain, when you initiate a project they will insist it goes to opposite cultural norms and beliefs by giving false ideologies, the organization is a women lead and men in the hood feel threatened and outdated seeing women taking lead, whenever you engage them they boycotts our projects.
What do you hope to achieve?
A peacefully community where youths, community and business partners has peaceful coexistence and trust each other whenever they meet
We want to see youths navigate their time positively and contribute fully to community development as equal partners.
Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?
I hope to move into a position very much like these one, but with more an impact to women, children and youths, I’d like to find myself in a position to mentor others in community development industry, putting my experience to use in ways that help others achieve what I attained.
Trying is always enough. ~ Patricia Briggs