The Role Models and How Storytelling has Impact!

The power of Nancy's story to transform and inspire is because she articulates the desire coming from within the grassroots itself. After being finally saved from the Knife in 2010 by a local West Pokot group called Abandon the Knife, Nancy made a public pledge that she would be an example of change. Since then she has encouraged many others to follow her. Even at school she begged her classmates to resist!
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Like ripples from a stone thrown into water, each girl can impact other girls and as ripples join other ripples a movement for change becomes unstoppable. We believe the story of the transformation of both Nancy and her tribe can have a domino effect in the region and beyond, spreading the message and inspiring others to follow, girl by girl, village by village, tribe by tribe and beyond. Nancy A One Girl Revolution is about this change - one girl at a time. Leading to a girl revolution!
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Storytelling is the most powerful tool to shift social norms within cultures with strong oral traditions. The use of tales of inspirational characters recounted through drama and song as tools for transformation and education is part of what makes us human. Nancy’s story is living proof that uncut girls do succeed! Her story can:
  • Dismantle taboos to speaking out and break down the silence which hold these practices in place.
  • Inspire opinion formers to speak out.
  • Inspire role models and shift the social norms within the community.
  • Inspire young girls and parents to know their legal rights to say no.
  • Promote health education and knowledge so death from ‘cutting’ or complications in child birth are attributed to the real cause FGM - rather than superstitions such as being “cursed” or caused by “promiscuity"!
  • Promote equality and education for girls, which empowers all.
  • Demonstrate that uncut girls like Nancy are successful and happy!
  • Prove men will marry uncut girls. (Men's support for abandonment is essential as shown in the film).
  • Inform girls who want ‘the cut’ and have the knowledge to make an informed decision and know where to find help.
  • Encourage Governments officials and local chiefs to stand firm.
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Tipping Point

Nancy believes her tribe is at a tipping point and with support, she hopes her Tribe will abandon these abusive practices by 2020 - just a few years away! She wants to work with NGO’s with her story (the film) in the hard to reach places few NGO’s visit in order to amplify her message and spread it far and wide to reach every girl she can. We want to support this as a crucial part of our impact campaign.

The impact of abandoning FGM is way beyond saving the lives of individuals from terrible suffering. ‘Cut’ girls are sold, at around 12 to 14 years old, to older man for a ‘bride price’ of cows, often too young to bare children safely, which leads to extraordinary suffering. The husband will own her and may have a few wives already. With little choice she will be expected to produce up to 8 children, even if food is scarce and education unaffordable. She produces food for these children in a small shamba but any earnings that exceed this her husband owns, leading to little incentive to be more productive. Many women are forced to cut trees for firewood to sell for charcoal, adding to the environmental degradation and climate change. The expansion of populations as a result of the practice of polygamy has huge impacts. The empowerment of women and greater gender equality is a way to reduce these impacts, as well as improve gender relations!
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Nancy's Education

Nancy is now educated thanks to the generosity of a charity founded by the British Suffragettes (CGEF) as well as donations raised by Sara’s family, friends and supporters. Nancy has now left secondary school and gone to college, so The Madrinha Trust are kindly sponsoring her teacher training course.

Role Models

Nancy’s impact began when, once saved, she ensured no girl was cut in her home area. She later appealed to the students at her secondary school to have the courage to resist pressure during “the cutting season” and went on to work with community groups to save other girls too. She is now working with UMOJA Development in West Pokot. Her son Kevin, often accompanies her!

Now a little older Nancy and her husband Sila are redefining gender relations! Sila is supporting Nancy’s desire to continue her education at teacher training college, and campaign, despite being a mother - unusual in her part of the world.

Gertrude, is a friend of Nancy’s who was saved by the same local Community group and has also been educated by the Commonwealth Girls Education Fund (CGEF) as well as donations from Sara’s family and friends. We are committed to funding her until she’s completes college! Gertrude tells her own story of being forced to be cut and having to escape from home in order to save herself. She wants to be a nurse and spreads the message to resist whenever she can!

Every girl Nancy saves has become an ambassador for change and it is our intention that the NGO’s and community groups work with these brave girls when working with Nancy’s story. For it is their pioneering spirit and courage which helps others to make the decision to say NO!

Above is Lydia (in blue) and Ida (in red) are two of the girls Nancy worked particularly hard to save. Their stories are told in the film. They too are at secondary school funded by CGEF who recognise that empowering these girls with education amplify’s the speed of change in the communities.

Emily Kosia’s story, another role model is told in the film too!
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Courage in the Face of Fear

The decision not to be cut is very challenging. It is not easy to follow one’s heart when it can mean social rejection! It takes extreme courage and the girls need real support. But it is only by pioneers wiling to face this task that social norms can be be changed forever.

The 5 Day Empowerment March

Christmas Holidays 2015

Pic In 2015 at the start of the cutting season Nancy helped lead a 5 day walk. Moving from market town to market town - sharing their story to the assembled crowds to promote the abandonment of FGM and demand equality for girls. Gertrude, Ida and Lydia the other role models walked alongside Nancy. This march was founded by Father Murunga, a local Catholic priest and was sponsored through the kindness of a British charity A Penny A Day topped up by a donation of a Nairobi businessman and some Chiefs in the area.
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A Role Model at International Conferences

In 2014 Nancy’s made a speech at the First Ladies Forum at the United Nations in New York, afterwards she sneaked into a photographed with The First Ladies next to Mrs Kenyatta the Kenyan Presidents wife! (Back right!)
Nancy was then invited by UNFPA and UNICEF to the conference to ‘End Child Marriage’ in Lusaka, Zambia. Small sections of her film were shown at the UN’s Zero Tolerance Day in New york 2016. The Commonwealth Secretariat are screening her film at an event on the 25th of November.
Nancy’s story is already having a pilot test in girls clubs c/o DFID’s programme implemented by Adam Smith International working in the NE of Kenya.

Nancy is not alone, there are many unsung hero’s along the way, because it takes a truly collective effort to change things - but few match her passion, talent and dedication for the job. Which is why she received the BJHRF Award for Courage in 2014 and a show of solidarity from Bianca!

Nancy - A Feminist Heroine

There are very few feminist heroines (whose lives are recorded) in such remote places. This film will make the millions of women who live far out in the African rural villages more real and visible. It could change how girls living in mud huts and rural villages are viewed forever. All the key moments of Nancy’s life during the last 6 years are captured on film as events unfold, giving it the drama, jeopardy and excitement of a fictional film. Yet it is a true story.

Nancy was a girl with nothing, yet she demonstrates strength, wisdom, intelligence, faith and is self empowered. Showing her life in intimate detail makes it possible to see beyond statistics and understand the individual women. Nancy’s story is so archetypal she build bridges across culture and continent.

There is also much need for more hopeful and inspiring stories with African female heroines - stories that the younger generation can relate to and Nancy’s story is exactly that.

Her story can also play in the classrooms and communities where FGM is practiced in the West for I believe Nancy’s story is part of a worldwide awakening - the rebirthing of The Feminine in response to the need for a new consciousness triggered by the social and ecological crisis of our time. In Anne Baring’s Magnus Opus “The Dream of the Cosmos” she says “The recovery of the feminine principle has been like the excavation of a precious treasure.”
Pokot women are the keepers of the family, the community, and the natural environment. The feminine values of compassion, intuition, connection and relationship (embodied within men too ) can be lost when women are subjugated to brutality - loosing touch with their own feelings, they cannot share or connect fully with others. The huge impact on children and male and female relationships is incalculable, as well as the economic development of the community as told in the film.

Yet Nancy is not unique, her success is her courage to follow her own heart as her truest guide and trust this inner guidance. She inspires us to realise the potential we all have within us to stand up for a better world. Her story connects to people across the globe as it inspires women and men to have the courage to live the lives they wish for, and her message of women’s empowerment echoes amongst women around the world. We hope her story will amplify and inspire change and becomes a movement to unlock even more significant cultural change.

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