By sharing knowledge, two organisations hope to be able to provide better care to orphans and vulnerable children and adolescents in local communities in Kenya and Rwanda.

The Centre Marembo Organization in Rwanda is dedicated to helping vulnerable young girls who are victims of gender-based violence by opening the doorway to a good life. The Port Florence Youth Initiative in Kenya focuses on teaching young people skills in various fields in order to equip them to make good choices in life.

Sharing their approaches and activities will allow both organisations to gain greater knowledge and insight, which in turn will improve the services they offer in their respective countries.

Ten-month exchange

The two organisations have signed a two-year agreement and are currently in the first round of the exchange, which is being funded by Norec, the Norwegian Agency for Exchange Cooperation. In September, two participants from each organisation started a ten-month exchange at the other organisation.

Programme advisers Ingebjørg Lingaas and Tor-Øyvind Rand from Norec visited the Centre Marembo Organization in Kigali, Rwanda, in September and briefly met with the two new exchange participants.

“The exchange was in its third week when we visited. It was wonderful to see how Lilian and Brenda from Kenya had already found their bearings,” says programme adviser Ingebjørg Lingaas from Norec.

Participation in various programmes

Although the exchange had only just begun when Norec visited, Lingaas and Rand got a good impression of how the partnership works.

“Lilian and Brenda from the Port Florence Youth Initiative have already made themselves at home in Rwanda. The Centre Marembo has a lot of different programmes and Lilian and Brenda are involved in three of them,” explains Lingaas.

These include a sewing project in which women are taught to sew unique designs in order to sell their own products. The different creations are on display in a separate showroom, where they can also be purchased.

“It’s very exciting to see how the Centre Marembo works. They have a range of programmes that provide vulnerable women with knowledge, which in turn makes them more independent and safer,” says Lilian Adhiambo Owaga.

“We can already see that much of what we are learning here is knowledge that we can take back with us to Kenya and use in our own programmes,” says Brenda Anne Awour.