“The cultural elders are like a small Parliament in my village,” she mentioned. “They haven’t gone to highschool, however they’ve a lot energy. All the choices come from them.”
Historically, girls aren’t allowed to handle elders. Ms. Leng’ete realized she had an opportunity to counter custom after the elders despatched her to a workshop on adolescent and sexual well being run by Amref, a Kenyan well being group.
She informed the elders that she had an obligation to share what she had realized with the entire village. It was her first bargaining chip, and it — virtually — labored. They gave her permission to handle the youthful males, however none of them stayed to hearken to her.
“No lady had been brave sufficient earlier than to problem the established order, to problem males,” Douglas Meritei, a type of males, remembered.
She stored making an attempt, for 2 extra years. She made such a nuisance of herself that the previous males informed the youthful ones to sit down along with her. However solely three would speak along with her.
Ms. Leng’ete refused to be discouraged. “I believed, ‘Nicely, final time I had zero, this time it’s three, that’s not so unhealthy,’ ” she mentioned.
Progressively, extra of the youthful males got here to speak along with her, she mentioned, and step by step the matters expanded — from H.I.V. prevention to teenage being pregnant and its well being issues, to early marriage, to highschool attrition and, lastly, to the lower.