Dorice

Dorice Achieng, 24, who hails from Uyoma is a mother of two aged nine and seven years old respectively. She was raised by a single mother after her father died in 1999 when she was five years old. The demise of their father left their mother to struggle to fend for her and her older brother. The father died while she was still young and hardly remembers bonding with him.
“My mother struggled to ensure she puts food on the table and takes us to school. Even though I was young, I noticed that she was straining to take care of us. No one was helping her and so when I got to form two, it was too much for her and I had to drop out of school. We were so poor the poor called us poor. By that time my brother had dropped out of school and moved away from home to try and get a casual job,” narrated Dorice
At 14 years she was forced to work in neighbors farms and do odd jobs to help her to compliment the little the mother was getting from the odd jobs. “An older woman, who was our neighbor, befriend me and kept asking me to get a married to salvage my family but I did not understand what she meant. Finally she asked me to go visit her and once there she asked me to accompany her to Bondo Town to meet someone who would take care of me and my family. Little did I know it was a trip meant to take me to elope with my estrange husband. The woman left me in the man’s house and he was very carrying and sweet to me. It did not take me long to get pregnant and have my first born at 15 years,” explained Dorice
All this while, she never told her mother and brother where she was. Her nightmare begun when she got the baby. The husband became openly promiscuous and would bringing other women in their home to spend the night in their bed. Whenever she tried to oppose, she would be beaten, verbally abused and chased out of the house. She describes her life as very dark and sad. Dorice believed that her destiny was to stay in the abusive marriage begging the husband to take care of her.
“I tried to reach out to the woman who had introduced me to him, but she told me to stop complaining and make the marriage work. I felt hopeless. I thought that was marriage and I stayed on and got another baby and things got worse. He could leave us hungry for days and it made me to go to my brother to beg for assistance. He gave me some food and 700 worth of Omena which I sold for profit. I also decided to leave my husband and took my two children to live with my brother. A month later, in 2015, I got my own place and luckily, I was enrolled in DREAMS where I was trained on Financial Capabilities, SASA, Gender Based Violence at Ajulu Salvation Church (Safe Space), All these made me to decide to work to be the best entrepreneur,” said Dorice
After three years, she finally had the courage to leave the abusive marriage but since she was unstable she would sometimes consider going back to the marriage hoping that the man could change. She says neighbours and friends discouraged her from joining DREAMS citing that it was an illuminati movement meant to exploit girls but she is glad she did not pay attention to them. DREAMS gave her hope and a belief that she can do anything she wants to do if only she puts her mind in it.
“I was and still am motivated by being called a DREAMS girl. As a DREAMS girl, I also got cash transfer of 4000 after two month which helped me in starting my potato chips business in Arero Village, North Sakwa Ward. After writing a proposal, I won a grant of 10,000 that helped me to expand the business. Currently, I have employed three girls who I pay 150 each per day to help me in my chips business. In a day I make a profit of 550 which allows me to pay house rent of 5,000, pay school fees for my children in a private school and live a decent life. In future I will open a restaurant that will be selling delicious and authentic African dishes. Long live DREAMS,” concluded Dorice.

Vivian Achieng

Vivian Achieng, is a 16yrs old born in a family of four. She comes from Uyoma, Kagwa in Rarieda Sub county. Her father died during her early child hood forcing their mother to relocate to her home land in Siaya with them. The mother was physically challenged hence Vivian being the second born and her elder brother were forced to do odd jobs to fend for the family. Later the mother passed on leaving them in the hands of her relatives.
"The passing of my mother came with lot of struggles and pain. I was forced to live with one of my auntie who could not allow me to play with her children saying that I would infect them with HIV. At one point, when I was in class six, she threw my younger brother and myself out of her house. I called my elder brother who at that time had moved to Nairobi slums to try and get a living for us. He sent me money that I used to get my brother to Magombe village in Bondo where he now lives with an aunty, "narrated Vivian
Vivian tells us that she decided to go live with her maternal uncle in Siaya in order to continue with school but was faced with many challenges. She would go without lunches in school and constantly reminded that her parents died of HIV. She was forced to do all the house chores while the rest of the children played. "My uncle did not make it secret that I was not welcomed in his home. He kept saying that he could not wait to have me clear class eight exams so that I leave his home, says Vivian
During Impact Research and Development Organization (IRDO) implementation of DREAMS, MHMC facilitators came across her during the sessions when she was at home having been sent home for school levies worth 6500/= which she could not raise. She was opting to drop out of school and rather be a house help to support herself and her brother. IRDO counsellors reached to her, offered guidance. After talking to the head teacher to let her be in class they approached Nyanza Initiative for Girls Education and Empowerment (NIGEE) that paid 4000/= to keep her in school.
"I scored 276 points in my KCPE exams and was sent away from my uncle's home. I went to live with my brother in Nairobi. I wanted to go on with my studies but did not know how I would. Florence from IRDO tracked me in Nairobi and took me to Sirembe Mixed School. She supported me with personal effects while NIGEE paid my school fee. I am so happy to be back in school and my aim is to study hard to enable me get to the university, " says Vivian

PrEP Ambassador

Goreti Akoth is a twenty-three-year-old mother of five. We met her and her husband George Agola, 37, in their home in Gulkoyando Village, East Migwen Sub Location, Migwen Location, Bondo Sub County going about their daily chores. Of the five children, two are her biological children with George while the other three are George´s children from his first marriage. They are small holder farmers and George doubles up as a public service vehicle driver whenever he gets an opportunity.
Goreti tells us of how she first met George and feel in love with him despite the fact that he physically looked unhealthy and stressed. The sister to George who organised their meeting had mentioned to Goreti that George´s marriage had failed and that the wife had left him with three children thus badly needed a wife.
"My suspicion that he was HIV positive brought lots of conflict and violence at home especially when I asked him to go get tested. He would become violent each time I asked for a test. With time he bowed to pressure and once tested was found to be HIV positive, " says Goreti
George tells us of how he became bitter after knowing his HIV status and thought Goreti will run way fearing infection since she was tested and found to be HIV negative. To his shock, Goreti promised to stay on and even agreed to have children with him. But the demons of violence kept coming up.
"God blessed us with two children who are HIV negative. The fact that we were a discordant couple was causing strain in our marriage. My husband was so insecure and bitter. It is until she joined DREAMS that things changed. In 2016 I met the DREAMS staff from IRDO visited her and enrolled her as a DREAMS girl. I met other girls and we were trained on SASA, Entrepreneurship and PREP," explains Goreti.
They shared of how Goreti’s mentor would occasionally counsel us and I realised gender based violence was wrong. Goreti also taught me about SASA and entrepreneurship and we incorporated what we learnt. She was called for training on PreP and it is that point that she came out and openly told her class members that she was in a discordant relationship. They say that now when George takes his ARVs she takes PreP.
"PreP was a dream come true and it saved my marriage and family. We are now strong together. The support I receive from my husband is tremendous. I sensitize groups in churches and chiefs baraza on what PreP is. I am no longer that naive and shy girl that I was before, all thanks to the DREAMS program. I also get to fly to major conferences in the country to advocate for PreP, " concluded Goreti.

Aron

Aron Aoko Moses is a 24year old male from Homabay County, Mbita Sub-County who works part time as a boat cleaner and sometimes joins different fishing crews to go for fishing. He is an O-Level graduate who volunteers as a Persons Who Inject Drugs (PWID) Peer Educator at IRDO Mbita Drop In Center (DiCe) His is a story that takes him through an emotional roller coaster as he explains to us how he got himself to injecting heroine and in the process lost his family.
Aron remembers his early childhood in Manyatta Estate, Kisumu County, where he lived with his mother and brothers while his father worked in Mombasa. He narrates of how his mother would constantly scold him and beat him up for not performing well in school.
“However much I tried to study, I always failed and my mother would beat me senseless,” recalls Aron One evening while preparing to play football, his uncle called him offering to give him a solution to his failing in school. He eagerly followed the uncle to his house. While there, Aron tells us the uncle mixed some powder (which he later on knew was heroine). He was 15 years old then and wanted to pass his KCPE so that the mother could be proud of him.
“Once my uncle was done with mixing the concoction and filled it in a syringe, he then tied my arm tightly while slightly hitting it. I almost backed out when I saw him carrying a syringe but he assured me that that was the only way to please my mum. He injected it and I passed out for hours. I woke up to go home feeling weak,” narrates Aron On seeing him, the mother took him to hospital, suspecting he was suffering from Malaria. The doctor could not find out what was ailing him and therefore decided to admit him upon further examination.
“My uncle came to visit me and when we were alone in the room he injected me with the concoction he first did and right away I felt well. I was later discharged and went back home. I kept receiving jabs from my uncle until one day, three months later, my mother found us in the act. She quickly intercepted the drugs and syringe while my uncle ran away. Mum took me to the doctor, curious to know what was being injected in me and the doctor told her it was heroine. She kicked me out and I became a street kid,” says Aron.
When in the streets, he missed the drugs and always strived to get it. Life was harsh to him and he opted to go home but was not welcomed. Instead the brothers tied him up and took him to the police station where he was locked up. During his court hearing, he managed to escape finding himself in Homabay.
In Homabay, he would do odd jobs and bought bang trying to get the high he used to get in heroine. Luckily, a well-wisher took him back to school and he did his class eight and did well. He later joined a high school and it is here where his addiction grew since he met some students who were also using and supplying the drug. Miraculously, he got a C+ in his KCSE. Once out of school he went in and out of prison due to the crimes he kept committing to fuel his addiction.
It was only after meeting a Dice Counselor who persistently tried to talk to him about the lethal dangers that he is exposing himself to that he decided to change his ways. He stopped stealing and even reduced his drug intake. He is now a peer educator who help other PWIDs stay away from practices that may expose them to HIV.
“Nowadays, I spent every day helping fellow PWIDs to fight HIV and drop the drug abuse all together. I should be dead by now but thanks to IRDO am here today to share my experiences so that no one suffers like I did,” concludes Aron

Ruth Rapando Odhiambo

Ruth Rapando Odhiambo is a 23 year old Prep Champion who hails from Mur Ngiya Village, South East Alego Ward, Alego Usonga Sub-County in Siaya County. She has been married for the last six years and lives with her 3 year old baby boy. Born in a family of seven, she had a rough childhood with fights between the mother and the dad which forced her to move from their native home in Mumias to Kericho.
The mother took a job of a tea picker in Kericho and used her little earnings to cater for her seven children. Two years later the mother died of stomach cancer leaving Ruth motherless at the age of 12.
“When my mother fell sick we went back home only to find my father remarried to a woman who did not want us. For three months, we nursed our mother but she was not getting better; she died. It was a very sad time for me. I cried my gut out but I could not bring her back. The cruelty of my step mum made me to go back to Kericho to stay with my sister who had been married there,” narrates Ruth
In Kericho, the sister took her back to school and when waiting for her Kenya Certificate Primary Education results she got pregnant.
“My brother in law asked me if I was pregnant and I said I wasn’t. For sure I did not know I was pregnant. When it was confirmed that I was pregnant, my sister asked me to leave. I went to live with my aunt in Busia but unfortunately the husband died and she could not take care of me. I started selling groundnuts to help support my aunt in providing for me. I gave birth to a healthy baby girl and took care of her for a year before I went back to my sister in Kericho. I gave the baby to my sister’s house-help to take care of her since my brother in law said they can only take me to secondary school if I get someone else to take the baby. So I joined form one,” explains Ruth
In form four, she got pregnant again and was chased away from her sister’s home. She went to live with a friend. Unfortunately, she lost the baby two weeks after it was born. She went back to school and managed to get a C+. In 2012, the father of her first born took the baby who was then living with Ruth’s other sister in Siaya. Ruth has never seen her baby since. At 18 years, she got married to her current husband.
“It is at my matrimonial home where I was enrolled as a DREAMS Girl by IRDO staff. I have been trained on Financial Capabilities, Life Skills, PreP, Family Planning and Communications for free at the safe space. The trainings have given me the hope that I had lost. I was dead in my marriage and felt so powerless,” said Ruth.
Currently, she is a PreP Champion who talks to other girls on the importance of staying HIV/AIDs free by using PreP.
“I realized most girls get lost just because they do not have someone to guide them. I have therefore made it my business to guide them. From the financial capabilities classes, I started a chicken project using a loan I got from our girl’s savings and loans group. Currently, I have 20 chickens. I thank IRDO for every opportunity they create for me to champion Prep; a drug that can help girls to avoid HIV infection, especially girls who are married like me,” concludes Ruth

Pius

Didacus Pius Odhiambo aka Man Poa Dida is a 48 year old father of four and husband of two who hails from Bumala Location, Busia County. He is a Drug and Substances’ Abuse Counselor at the Impact Research and Development Organization (IRDO) Drop in Center in Kisii. It is a Center that is funded by Global Fund HIV through, the Kenya Red Cross Society to cater to the Key Population. The goal of the project (Global Fund HIV) is to contribute to the reduction of new HIV infections and AIDS related morbidity and mortality for a HIV free society in Kenya.
Apart from being a service provider, Didacus also has a story to tell and a life experience to share. In 2003 while doing odd jobs his sickly, eight year old daughter Gloria Melody Nafula died of what was suspected to be from HIV related complication. “After the death of my daughter, the doctor asked me to go for a HIV test. I tested positive to the virus and felt like my world had come to an end. For hours, I was numb to a point of entering a vehicle in Busia, paying fare and then drifting to the unknown leading to forgetting to alight at my home stage at Bumala. I got surprised to discover this only when the conductor of the vehicle I was travelling in touched me to ask me where I was supposed to a light from. I was already at Sega almost ten kilometers away from Bumala. He was a very kind and understanding young man. He helped me out of the vehicle and even gave me some money to help me go back to Bumala. When I finally got home, I went straight to bed and drifted into very deep sleep. I slept for more than four hours or so. Later, I woke up, gathered strength and walked to the home of a mama I knew to be helping people living with the condition I had been diagnosed with. Her name was Mama Jane Okana. She is a volunteer Home Based Care Provider in Bumala location. Jane, a naturally gifted counselor helped me come to terms with the condition and also introduced me to a Support Group of people living positively,” narrates Didacus.
It is from here that he broke the news to one of his family members; his daughter Nimrodah Mercy who was very understanding, encouraging and supporting. His experience however and his decision to go public led to misunderstandings and separation with his wife.He later on married a second wife Anyango Odhiambo. Time heals wounds. He is reconciled with his first wife. “Being in the group encouraged me not to give up in life. I decided to go to college where I did a Diploma course in Counseling Psychology and later a Higher Diploma in the same. In August 2013 I secured a job with IRDO and am happy with the opportunity it has given me to interact with Key Population in a bid to fight HIV. The chance to touch the lives of others keeps me going,” adds Didacus.
As the world converges in Durban for the 2016 AIDS conference, one of its objective is to reminds us that all our gains will be lost if we do not continue to push forward and build a strong global movement to change the course of the epidemic. “For us to meet this objective, I believe, the people who are already HIV positive should understand, there is NO shame about being HIV positive,” concludes Didacus

Grace Akinyi Agutu

Grace Akinyi Agutu, a 39 year old mother of five children who hails from Okiro Village, East Asembo Location in Rarieda Sub-County. She is attending her first antenatal clinic visit during the Integrated Community Outreach in Nyilima. Being seven months pregnant, she was reluctant to attend clinic for she felt she was not sick and did not see the need for attending one.
“I was not sick and felt all was well making me to see no reason to attend the antenatal clinic. From my home to the nearest hospital is a 30 minutes’ walk and being pregnant, I did not feel like I have the energy to take the walk. I sat at home waiting for my due date, hoping and praying for the best. One day, a Community Health Volunteer (CHV) came to my home and invited me to one of their health outreaches in Nyilima Shopping Center; which is close to my home. She further told me the importance of attending clinic when pregnant and I felt she made sense and thus accepted her invite,” narrated Grace.
Integrated Community Outreach is a health camp which aims at providing medical care to the people who visit the site bearing different ailments. The outreach was organized by Impact Research and Development Organization (IRDO) in-conjunction with Amref Health Africa and the Ministry of Health of Siaya County.
Community Health Volunteers (CHVs) are members of the community who are trained on testing and treating malaria “Community Health Volunteers' activities in the community together with Integrated Medical Camp Outreaches are easing the burden on health facilities and are helping in getting people who would otherwise not go to the hospital to receive the much needed medical care. We are especially focused on testing and treating uncomplicated malaria cases in the communities across Siaya County, all severe malaria cases and pregnant mothers are referred to the nearest link health facilities for further management. The CHVs are trained by the program to handle various cases at the community level. All pregnant mothers should sleep under mosquito nets,” explained Francis Ouma, Project Coordinator, Impact Research and Development Organization (IRDO).
“I am glad IRDO saw the need to have these outreaches which have helped many of us in the community to fight malaria. Today I go back home with my net with confidence that my unborn baby is protected from malaria,” concluded Grace.

James Eleman

James Eleman is a 27 year old man who hails from in Naperebei Village, Nakwamekwi Location, Turkana Central Sub-County, Turkana County. He recently underwent male circumcision at Lodwar District Hospital and shares with us of his journey towards VMMC.
“I heard about Voluntary Medical Circumcision(VMMC) when I was in high school during a Health Talk Session by Impact Research and Development Organization (IRDO) Medics and Mobilisors. I wanted to go for it but was scared. Some students discouraged me from taking it saying it was not good while others went for it. I opted to not to go for it hoping it will be the last I hear of it,” narrated James.
After graduating from high school, James went on to volunteer in a faith based organization in Turkana Central. During this time he kept hearing of VMMC from some mobilisers who were using a Public Address System urging men who had not been circumcised to get circumcised. They told the public the benefits of VMMC and where they can get the service.
“With all these calls to go for circumcision, I was still scared of the unknown. I cannot really point out what was scaring me. Deep down I knew I need it having heard of its benefits that ranged from protection from HIV infection by 60% to penile hygiene. At one point the pastor I work for casually asked me to go but I declined,” explained James.
At IRDO VMMC mobilizers go through a vigorous training to sharpen their communication skills and people skills so that it can help them in their line of duty. Mobilizers main role in VMMC is demand creation. They try to get males who are above 10 years to get circumcised.
“One day, Naftali (IRDO Mobilizer in Turkana Central) approached me and explained why I should go for circumcision. The moment he was through with his talk, I asked him to take me to where I will get the service. I now realize that what I was lacking is that inter-personal interaction with a mobilizer to give me the much needed push,” said James
James said that he was well treated by the staff at the facility and would readily recommend VMMC to any man who has not gone through it.
“I am grateful to IRDO for bringing this life saving service to my people and I urge them to reach out to more people especially those in rural Turkana,” concluded James.

James Eleman

Cleophas Odumbe is a 36 year old father of four who hails from Mundekwe Village in Busia County. He was going about with his usual errands when he was approached by a Community Social Mobilizer with an initiative referred to as Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision (VMMC)
“I kept hearing about VMMC in the village but I never went out of my way to find out much about it. So when the Mobilizer from Impact Research and development Organization came to my work place, I decided to hear much about it. I opened up to him and told him I was not circumcised but would love to get it for the benefits he had highlighted were worth it,” says Cleophas.
He was picked and taken to Budalangi Dispensary where he underwent the VMMC procedure.
“I was ushered in the counseling room where the counselor gave me information on VMMC, counseled me on how best to prevent HIV, demonstrated on condom use and finally tested me for HIV. I signed a form, allowing them to circumcise me. I was then ushered to the next room, where the form was examined and I went through Sexually Transmitted Infection test and general physical examination. Finally VMMC was done on me and was advised to rest for at least 30minutes before embarking my chores,” explains Cleophas
Seven days later he went for review and all was well. If you walk in his village you might meet him in groups talking to them about the importance of Medical Circumcision.
“I am glad I went for the circumcision and I have made it my business to crusade for VMMC,” concludes Cleophas

Alice Auma Odhiambo

Alice Auma Odhiambo(not her real name) is a 40 year old peasant farmer who hails from Ramoya Village, Ndigwa Sub-Location, South Uyoma Location in Rarieda Sub-County. She is a mother of five and enjoys spending time with her family at their home. This was not the case in 2011 when she was diagnosed with HIV. “In January 2011, I tested HIV positive and I was given Septrin which was followed up with ARV’s in December 2011. It was not easy,” said Alice
In October 2012, Alice developed chest pain, sweating a lot, spitting blood stained sputum, she sought medical attention at Madiany Hospital, where sputum sample was taken and tested; the results were negative. The symptoms persisted and she was referred for a Chest X-Ray at another facility in Bondo.
“I didn’t have bus fare so Nurse Laura of Madiany Hospital facilitated my travel to and from Bondo. The chest x-ray was done for free and I came back with it. The Nurse looked at it and told me it showed that I had Tuberculosis (TB). I was given TB treatment that lasted for 6 months. I panicked and sought medical advice when my urine turned pinkish but I was told it is because of the TB medication so I relaxed. I thank John Mark, the Community Health Volunteer who walked with me during that hard time. He would visit me frequently to find out how I was doing and sometimes when I didn’t have money on me, he paid for my transport to the health facility. He encouraged me to take the medication without fail,” narrated Alice
On finding out she had TB; she was requested to bring her family for TB screening. Upon request, the husband took the HIV test he turned positive. He was enrolled to care (Nevirapine) which reacted on him leaving him with sores all over the body. He reported it to the hospital and his medication was changed. Currently, he is doing well. Alice was happy to share with us how she had gone through PMTCT and that all her children are HIV negative none has TB.
“Before TB treatment, my weight was 45kg and on completion of treatment it was 58kgs. I partly attribute this to the nutrition supplements of flour that I got for three months and the appetite the medication gave me. I tried to eat right and stick to the treatment. Currently, I am glad to say am 60kgs,” said Alice
She is currently on Isoniazid Preventive Therapy (IPT), which was started on 14th February 2017 to prevent TB infection. “I especially want to thank Impact Research and Development Organization who have facilitated John Mark, a CHV who has selflessly served the community and Wellington, the Community Health Assistant (CHA) who has been facilitating and educating us in most of the community meetings,” concluded Alice


Our Partners


CONTACT

Impact Research and Development Organization
Baring Road-Milimani
P.O. Box 9171-40141
Kisumu City
(254)-057-2020132
(254)-727-688550
(254)-738-772119
info@impact-rdo.org

SUCCESS STORIES

Dorice

Norah's Story
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Dorice

Beating TB
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Dorice

Empowered to Empower
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Dorice

Dorice, the Enterpreneur
read more .

Vivi

Hope at Last
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Goreti and George

PrEP Ambassador
read more .

Aron

Courting Death
read more .

Christopher Erick Masolo

The Bold Step
read more .

Ruth Rapando Odhiambo

Peer educator with a mission
read more .

Ruth Rapando Odhiambo

Fighting TB
read more .

Ruth Rapando Odhiambo

Financial Empowerment at Last
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Ruth Rapando Odhiambo

Ruth, the PrEP Champion
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Pius

No Shame Being HIV+...
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Cleophas Odumbe

The VMMC Crusader...
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Grace Akinyi Agutu

Fighting Malaria,...
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James Eleman

Through My Eyes...
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Alice

Managing Tuberculosis...
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Our Partners