I’m Luvuno. I’m 15 years old from Kwale County in Kenya. When I’m at school I live with my cousin, and when it is holiday I live with my parents.
I enjoy going to school – I like the environment, my teachers, and my fellow pupils. They are all very supportive. For some time now, I’ve also been a girl advocate for Plan International – something my parents and teachers really support me with. They really like it.
Standing up for others
As a girl advocate I have to present the other girls that cannot stand for themselves. You need skills to be a good advocate for girls’ rights – you have to unite girl advocates, being together, and be ready to support the other girls who aren’t in our position.
Being a girl advocate I’ve been able to share my ideas with people in my community, but I’ve also been supported to meet the First Lady of Kenya, Margaret Kenyatta. We gave her a memorandum about the problems we are facing and the ways in which we want her to help us. She is ready to help us.
Poverty and early marriage
Girls in my community face very big challenges, and one of the things I advocate for is girls’ education. Girls are often absent from school. Poverty forces girls into early marriage and early pregnancy, which keeps them out of school.
It affects a lot of girls. There was a girl in my community who was neglected, her rights were not respected. Her family are very poor, and they told her she was to get married. She was about 16 years old at the time. When I heard about it, I spoke to the girl, and then to my teachers. They called the girl’s parents, and I tried my best to make them understand the importance of education, especially for girls. Luckily the parents agreed. She is now in school, she is safe.
The importance of education
It’s difficult to make girls understand that they have to get an education. But education is very important, because educated girls can become leaders, they can develop their own goals for what they want to be when they grow up. Girls must be educated and be able to participate in decision-making and become leaders for Kenya because without educated girls societies are like rivers which are dry, with no source.
Since being a girl advocate I have found that my friends are interested in my work and they support me. We have made a club in our school for girls and we are advocating for girls. In the past, boys were the best performing pupils. But now if you come to our school girls are taking the top positions.
When I finish school, my dream is to become a lawyer. But I’d also like to build a house where I’d be helping the children with disabilities.
Guest post by Luvono, 15 years old, from Kenya.