Polycom was started in response to the sexual violence and exploitation faced by young girls in Kibera informal settlement in Nairobi. There was a particular case when a 39 year old man had a sexual relationship with an 11 year old girl that spurred the organisation’s founder, Jane Anyango, into action. She wanted to help girls to understand that they need to take care of their bodies until they are ready. She started by educating girls to understand themselves and make informed decisions concerning their lives, particularly their bodies. The organization was later registered as Polycom Development Project (PDP).
Polycom is located in Kibera informal settlement, working with 15 schools to reach out to adolescent girls and 5 organized groups to reach out to girls who are not in school. Our work is summarized under one word “G-PENDE” (which means to love yourself). It is about promoting self-worthiness and appreciation among girls. The programmes have recently been extended to include out of school girls and young women aged 16 to 25 years. Every year, Polycom recruits fresh school leavers as volunteers who are trained on psycho-social support to carry out school counselling sessions and to oversee the G-Pende safe space sessions.
Our mission is to empower young women in Kibera through access to education, sports activities and sanitation to be able to manage their lives positively and develop a voice to influence policy and decision makers on issues that affect the lives of girls.
A country where there are empowered, liberated and confident women contributing effectively to the development of their communities.
Polycom’s definition of key words:
Empowered – people who are educated, know what they want, making informed decisions
Liberated – free to make their own decisions, free to be who they want to be, free to express themselves to anyone (especially parents and teachers in the case of girls)
Confident – able to confront challenges, able to speak up for themselves, with high self esteem
- We know that Kenya, and the world, would be a better place with more empowered women
- We believe that for a girl to succeed in life she must first appreciate herself
- We believe that for girls to become empowered they must have safe, sharing spaces where they can discuss their issues
- We believe that sport provides a place where girls can reach their potential and expand their ambitions
- We think that engaging with different stakeholders in the community and beyond will help us bring about sustainable change, because we cannot create change alone
- We give opportunities for leadership to our beneficiaries (girls) before anyone else
- We believe that we need boys on our side as we try to empower girls and that boys and men have a critical role to play in empowering girls
- We believe in team work
- We value hard work and persistence in everything we do
- Our organization does not tolerate corruption of any form. We work with integrity, accountability and transparency
- We do not discriminate against anyone on religious, ethnic, gender, dis/ability grounds