Community-based organisation in the spotlight: Sisbros of Zion, Nairobi

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‘We strive to build an ecosystem where youth and young women unlock their potential to become the true agents of change within society,’ says Collins, one of the co-founders of Sisbros of Zion, a community-based organisation (CBO) in Nairobi.

Established by Collins and Roselyn in 2016, the pair lead a team of 75 mobilisers who engage with the youth in communities from low-income areas like Mathare and Kayole. To date, Sisbro has enrolled over 20,000 young people onto the Tiko platform who have accessed over 20,000 sexual and reproductive health (SRH) and related services. For Tiko and the CBOs we partner with, our aim is to effect and encourage long-term, sustainable change in the way young people think about and approach their health.

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Triggerise has recently launched Tiko Clubs in Kenya; fortnightly gatherings of teenage girls across the country where support and sisterhood are fostered. Along with 13 other CBOs in Kenya, Sisbro runs an active and well-attended Tiko Club. Members are upskilled, educated, and equipped to become more engaged in their own communities. Kicking off towards the end of 2022, Tiko Clubs are continuing into 2023 and beyond. So far, just over 300 Club members have attended meetings, and we have no doubt that this number will rise.

We connected with the pair of leaders to get more insight into their story and our history as partners:

What is your experience of working with Tiko?

C: Working with Tiko has created so much impact within the community that we operate in – to the extent that the community calls our office ‘the Tiko office,’ although there are other programmes that we also support. Since we started working with Tiko, we have seen 4,811 pregnancies averted through our CBO. So as an organisation, we are glad to be partnering with Tiko to support our teenage girls towards a common goal.

When the idea for Tiko Clubs came up, what did you think about it?

C: Most of the teenagers in our 15- to 19-year-old bracket need mentorship and guidance. When the idea for Tiko Clubs came, it was like a godsend for the teenagers who really needed some safe place to meet as peers, chat, mingle, share, comfort one another, learn from each other, network, and get the much-needed support that helps them overcome life’s challenges. As an organisation, the idea was another milestone achieved in supporting our teenage girls. We welcomed the idea, implemented it, and those who took part in the club activities are now like mentors to their fellow peers.

How is Tiko different from other organisations you have worked with?

R: Tiko is different from other organisations we have worked with because they provide our mobilisers and Tiko members with Miles, which they redeem to buy things. Follow-ups are a priority for Tiko too – not all organisations follow up with the clients they have served; once you’re given a service, that’s it.

Because of Tiko, our young mothers are able to look after their babies because many of them are mobilisers. So, after enrolling Tiko members, they get Miles and are able to buy food and supplies for their babies. The smile on their faces brings comfort to my heart; ever since they started mobilising for Tiko, their babies have never slept without a proper meal. The staff in Triggerise under the Tiko programme are just the best team to work with – they communicate clearly about what’s needed and we know how to deliver.

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What is your hope for the youth of Nairobi?
R: My hope for the youth of Nairobi is that we will reach an era when we no longer see unintended pregnancies and that all people will be treated equally; that those who are out of school will be able to go back and finish their studies and become someone important in the community; that an era of abusing drugs will come to an end; and that the youth will be able to express themselves without any fear of gender-based violence in their homes and communities. I hope young women in Nairobi will know that working should not be seen as something that should be left to men only, and that their voices matter a lot – they are the future.

Across every Tiko ecosystem in sub-Saharan Africa, mobilisers in CBOs like Sisbro are crucial in connecting young people with SRH services. In East Africa to date, mobilisers have enrolled 73% of all Tiko members – that’s over 950,000 young people. Through Sisbro, Collins’ and Roselyn’s passion for youth development is tangible. As a result of their dedication and commitment, young people in Nairobi will continue to pursue better choices and support one another to healthier, happy lives.

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