Thousands of women and young girls in the country live in poverty as outcasts, rejected by their husbands, family and the community because they suffer from the devastating consequences of obstetric fistula. Expectant mothers with the condition are at risk of delivering still-borns.
Football Kenya Federation Women Premier League (WPL) side Wadadia is giving hope to victims of obstetric fistula and sexual abuse in the country through conducting sensitisation programmes during their football matches.
The Women And Development Against Distress In Africa (Wadadia) is the brainchild of Fistula Foundation Programmes Director Habiba Mohamed who doubles up as Wadidia's patron. Wadadia's theme is "Kick Fistula Out of Africa."
The non-profit organisation empowers marginalised women including fistula survivors to advocate for their sexual reproductive health rights and socio - economic well-being.
The goal of the programme is to reach out to a wider public and increase awareness on obstetric fistula. Wadadia's awareness campaign is making an impact. Women experiencing uncontrollable leakage of urine and faeces are urged to seek free screening and treatment at select fistula treatment centres in the country. Fistula is both preventable and treatable.
The 15-member Wadadia team, which comprises some survivors of obstetric fistula, finished eighth on the log last season. The team is determined to perform better in the new season.
"Obstetric fistula is the most devastating and serious of childbirth injuries to an extent that it has been labelled the most frightful affliction of humankind. To help curb this, I started Wadadia FC alongside the late club chairman Yusuf Omenda as a way of giving hope to survivors of fistula through sports therapy," Habiba said.
In an interview with Nation Sport at Nabongo Grounds in Mumias town on January 30, Habiba said that the football team which was started in 2012 redefines the role of the youths and particularly young girls in the community.
"The team brings together beneficiaries of our programmes as a way of supporting them to get psychological support through the play therapy. Through the team, the players have been able to recover their self-esteem and fit well in the society," Habiba said.
She reiterated that they have noticed changes in the lives of fistula survivors. Habiba said they have regained confidence and have started interacting with other people in the community. They also participate in tae-kwondo, music and drama.