PMA empowers female data collectors who work in their communities to collect high-quality family planning data which is used for decision-making by an increased range of stakeholders to inform policy and programs. During one of our training sessions in Machakos, Kenya, we spoke to some data collectors who talked about their experiences working on the project. Read their stories.
Building skills towards empowerment
Growing up, I stood out among my siblings as social, outgoing and as the one who likes to create conversations and make new friends. As a woman, I have always looked for a chance that will allow me to interact with other women from my community, support each other and share ideas. When PMA came along I grabbed the opportunity. I enjoy engaging with the women to listen and learn from their experiences and to eventually improve my life.
Joining the project has come with great returns since I have increased my knowledge, skills, and experience as I work in partnership with the project staff, and the respondents I interview.
Sometime back the local leadership in my area was looking for a suitable candidate to represent the community at our sub-location. Through my PMA role as a data collector, I had gained popularity with the people at the community level, which made them nominate and confirm me for the post of area Assistant Chief. As I grow in this accomplishment as a young woman, I am now able to support other women in my community as I always wanted. I remain grateful for PMA and the doors it has opened for me and my family.
PMA has empowered me financially
I have worked as a PMA data collector for the last seven years and my life has transformed for the better. Having been brought up in the village, I desired to have a job for myself that would help me support my family. As a woman without an income-generating activity, I struggled to meet basic needs for my family and when the opportunity to be an enumerator presented itself, I did not hesitate to apply. PMA has empowered me economically such that the money I have earned from the project helped me clear my pending debts and I have opened a business that generates additional income for the family.
While interacting with the community as a resident enumerator I have enhanced my social skills and built relationships with other enumerators and the women I interview. Through the training and continuous mentorship, I have also acquired knowledge on sexual and reproductive health and expanded my network. I appreciate the opportunity PMA offers to women to be financially independent and to be able to take charge of their lives.
Turning an ordinary girl into a skilled data collector
Coming from a little-known village in Western Kenya, daily survival was a struggle for our family, and therefore having a better life with a sustainable source of income was a dream I had since I was a child. Having joined PMA, things have changed for me and my family because I can meet basic needs, thanks to the pay I receive from the project. The money I have earned from the project has also helped me clear my university fee balance.
My engagement with the community has enabled me to explore my potential and learn new skills. During data collection activities, my knowledge of technology has expanded as I have learned how to use mobile technology to collect family planning data.
While working in the project, I have met new people with whom we have shared business ideas and how we can generate income to improve our lives. My work has also made me travel to many health facilities and communities which I would have never gone to if it wasn't for this opportunity. I feel empowered to achieve more and even mentor my siblings and enumerators coming after me.
I relate better and my social skills have improved
Since I was young, it was not easy for me to engage with people around me. I kept a lot to myself for fear of being judged because I had low self-esteem. Applying for a job in the project was an opportunity to challenge my inner fears and uncertainties. I remember the first time when I went to the households to conduct the interviews it was difficult to get myself to speak freely with the respondents.
Through frequent trainings I have received from the project, I can actively engage the women in the community, which has helped me build a good relationship with them. Most of them know me and whenever they need someone to talk to, they contact me because they know I will listen.
My newfound confidence has attracted these women to me, I have earned respect in the community and together we support each other. Someone once said, there is nothing more beautiful than a confident woman. I always believe that when women support each other, incredible things happen. Thank you PMA project for giving me all these lessons.
PMA sheds light on a young village girl
Although family planning can be seen to be a common term known everywhere, it is not. I come from one of the marginalized communities in Kenya that harbor a lot of misconceptions about family planning.
Through training, I have gained in-depth knowledge on family planning and I now know the facts, advantages, and importance of family planning. I am also able to comfortably ask FP questions; a subject that is considered taboo in my community.
As I interact with the women, they have developed a lot of interest in knowing more about family planning and what options they have. Because of the good relationship I have developed with the health facilities in my community, I gladly refer them to the nearest facility where they get comprehensive FP information. When I return to these communities, I realize that the women are happy, contraceptive awareness has increased and they are always thanking me for supporting them in their reproductive health journey. How I relate with the women from my community has improved and I can see light at the end of the tunnel. Without a doubt, information is power.