Tuesday, 17 July 2018

THE CUT


She tried calling out to her mother
But she could listen to none of it
Hoping to get assistance from her sister
But she was ignored

Thoughts, dreams haunted, threatened her
She could not bring herself to the facts
In school she had learnt about it
Advised to report if any tragedy
Would occur back at home

Fear was in her she thought of her families
Reputation and not hers
She had to come up with a plan
It was the next day and there was no backing off

Her father was so happy and had a suitor
For her
She wept on the inside and faked a smile
On the outside
The preparations were set

Soon after the cut she would get married
Such she had not desired
Big dreams she had
And was afraid they were finally nullified
By her own father

They matched to the river
Where the cut was to be done
All her other colleagues were excited
For her she was trembling

When it was her turn
She thought for a moment
‘Spread your legs’
She denied, looked in her father’s eyes
They were filled with rage
She run away to sort for help
Never to go back to the people
Whom she loved betrayed her





Article by Joy Mwende
Mentoring and Empowerment camps Alumni.

Tuesday, 3 July 2018

A PRETTY DREAM



I was born with a beautiful dream,
I didn’t know I had it,
Until I realized my potential, ability and passion,
I really want to achieve and live it,
It’s just a pretty dream!

How can I show how much I love and value it,
How can I share about it,
The more I think of it the more I want it,
It’s like and addiction,
It’s just a pretty dream!

As the sun rises each morning and shines all day long,
As the sun sets so beautifully in the evening,
The more it becomes attractive, beautiful and addictive,
The more thirst quarters my desire over it,
It’s just a pretty dream!

My dream is to become a feminist who influences change,
My dream is to live like a trailblazer,
My dream is touch the lives of many young girls and women through my story,
My dream is to become a strong pillar in my family.
Oh! It’s such a pretty dream,
I am the pretty dream!





Article by Edith Nene
Mentoring and Empowerment Camps Alumni.


Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Rural Spaces to Global Spaces: The CSW Experience!!


For CSW 62 theme, ‘Challenges and Opportunities in achieving gender equality and empowerment of rural women and girlsmeant that it was important that the Resource Center for Women and Girls be part of this space being that rural girls and rural-urban girls are the priority and focus target group of our work.                                      
Prior to the CSW, women’s organizations organized, convened and put all efforts and hard work to ensure that the voices of the very people the theme targeted were represented in the CSW space and that no one would be left behind and to achieve this, was to ensure that women and girls living in rural areas attended the CSW. This is because they are best placed to articulate their issues drawing from their own lived realities.
However, the outcome of this effort was not positive as there were very many cases of young women and girls from rural areas whose visas were denied, on the grounds that they were unmarried, had no previous travel experience, their age, employment status, etc. This was just another one of the many barriers that continue to inhibit the full realization of the rights and empowerment of women and girls.
As a young woman who lives in the rural area in Eastern Kenya and works with Resource Center for Women and Girls in Machakos, I was among the few who got a visa and was lucky to have had the chance to travel to New York for the CSW. I looked forward to connecting with other young women and learn about their contribution to the empowerment of rural girls and women and the women’s movement in their countries. I attended several meetings, side events and parallel meetings. In every session I was in, some questions and reflections kept recurring in my mind, ‘how will my presence and participation in these spaces change the life of the rural girls in Machakos?’ How do we ensure the conversations in the meetings, caucuses, side events, negotiations, etc. make sense to that one girl back in Machakos, walking to school more than 5km every morning or missing school because she lacks sanitary towels and is afraid of the embarrassment associated with menstruating?’. Are the groups we represent in global spaces aware that those spaces exist? How do we increase their participation in those spaces?’ Why is it that some organizations always have the same people in the global spaces? What changes have they brought to the communities they serve by attending these spaces for more than 10 years?
These questions among others need answers, NOW! In forums like the CSW, you find characters, tribes, countries, etc. from different continents are represented. It is a very colorful and beautiful dynamic to be part of. Women from distinct walks of life coming together with one agenda: WOMEN! This reminded me of the Mentoring and Empowerment retreats of the Resource Center for Women and Girls, behind our bright pink gate you can’t miss in Machakos. There’s always excitement, great vibes, bonding and the manifestation of sisterhood when women of diverse cultures, tribes, race, etc. congregate in the same spaces. The energies are fiery and feisty!
The trading of business cards at the CSW, that sometimes accumulate dust in our offices, the powerful exchange of information, the laughter, the tears, the matches, the sisterhood and the solidarity. All these things together are what make CSW what it is. So, what makes the CSW what it’s not? In my opinion, it is the government delegations who use tax payer’s money to travel to New York, attend the opening sessions and go for shopping sprees. It is these delegates who make a fuss because they do not have a D badge (Delegates badge which allows access to closed meetings and VIP entrance free from security search) yet they never attend the sessions and discussions critical to the development of their countries. It is the lack of or minimal representation of the people who should be present the most. It is the lack of financing for women and girls’ organisations to attend spaces where they build capacity, network, learn and grow.
All things considered, the CSW is a platform I think that every young woman should attend at least once in their career because one is exposed to an array of good ideas, best practices, re-energized and most of all a pool of mentors, at least I know I did.

Article by Ivy Nyawira
Alumni and Team Member
RCWG!




Monday, 16 April 2018

BELIEVING IN SELF


An innocent young girl
Not knowing a thing about the world
Very gullible to the things of the earth
Everything she experienced was new to her

She was so excited to join high school
She joined a great school
Not her dream school
But still a prestigious one

Little by little
Her eyes were opened to the world
She didn’t like it one bit

Her hopes of the wolrd being free
Was torn down into bits
The world was judgmental
People didn’t stop being haters

This crashed her world into tiny things
Her heart breaking badly
But she could not believe it
The world wasn’t what she thought it was


Girls terrorized girls
Fellow girls spread rumors
They all tried to demean one another
One way or another

This didn’t break her though
She strived to be strong
To be bold
To be her

The world changed around her
But it didn’t change her it built her tremendously
It is true
What doesn’t kill you
Makes you stronger


Article by Doreen Mbinya
Mentoring and Empowerment Camps Alumni




Friday, 23 February 2018

THE JOURNEY OF A YOUNG WOMAN IN POLITICS



I wake up every morning with anticipation, waiting to see how the day will unfold, and what it has in store for me.

The last few weeks weren’t necessarily good, in fact the happenings made me feel small, and that I couldn’t make a difference in the society, as if I have to walk a million miles to achieve my dream, the dream to become the first female president of the republic of Kenya.

To achieve my dream, I had decided to go out to the world and lay a foundation for my already set plan. What I hadn’t realized is that nothing comes easy and that the well set out plan would have to go through a few hiccups in order to just make a single step.

I had previously met an agent of my area Member of Parliament during the August 2017 General elections and seeked his advice on what to do to nurture my political leadership ambitions. He promised to introduce me to the member-of-parliament himself for mentorship purposes but before that, I had to go to his political party to get more information and also to register as a member. He advised me to go to the youth offices of the political party.

On the D-day, I set out very excited and couldn’t wait to sit down in the evening to review the happenings of the day. I started off at the offices of the political party office. When I got there, I first looked like a confused person as I seemingly didn’t fit in that environment. The guards were hesitant to let me in but I eventually convinced them to let me in. I proceeded to the reception desk and asked to be directed to the Youth officer. The receptionist told me to go to the fourth floor.

I was anxious while entering the office but I built up my confidence and walked in. I took a seat and started to explain the nature of my visit to the Youth Officer, I was out to seek information. I explained to him that I initially wanted to run for a youth representative seat in my constituency and that I was very confident that I could immerse a large constituency to vote for me. He smiled. I didn’t understand why he did so but I thought he was very impressed by what I had told him. This built my confidence even further.

He told me that I was in the right place and explained to me the party’s constitution, the membership and the programmes that the party was currently following up on. I was excited because most of the programmes he mentioned were meant to target the youth and women. I asked him to invite me to the next workshop, seminars or summits they would hold concerning the same. He encouraged me to keep my fire burning and to follow up on my dreams.

I left the office feeling better, as if I had made a great stride. On my way home, I realized one thing, I didn’t get the information I had wanted. Instead, I was a member of a political party and had just received a summary of the constitution. I didn’t get the information on my goal, to become the youth representative of my area.

I decided to go to the District Youth Officer. I got lost a few times because many people didn’t and still don’t know that the office existed. When I finally found the office, I was amazed, it was in the furthest corner of the district offices premises and it seemed that no one ever visited the office. In fact, the youth officer even remarked that they usually don’t get people coming to make inquiries and the most visited office was the youth fund office. Basically, what he meant was that a high percentage of the youth were actually not aware about the existence of the office, that there is a law that states that they could elect a person to represent them in the National Youth Council or that there is actually a National Youth Council.

He gave me the background information about the Youth Council and gave me a very interesting point. The Youth Council elections had not been held for the longest time, specifically since 2013. The terms of the elected persons is that, you have to run for a period of three years. After the completion of the term, the candidates could vie for office for a second term and if they had already been in office for two terms they could not run for office again.  I asked him whether there was an existent Council and he said yes. I wondered how that was possible since there hadn’t been elections.
I left my contact details with him and asked him to contact me once there was more news on when the next elections would be held.

Thereafter, I headed to town to meet a student leader in my school. He was also a member of the stated political party and had really been resourceful in giving me information. When I got there, the conversation changed. It became more of a social meeting rather than a serious business meeting. He talked about himself all through and asked me why I wanted to venture into the men’s world. He told me I was doomed for failure and that if I wanted to make it in the political arena, I would have to make a lot of ‘friends’ and ‘invest’ in my friendship with him. He had already objectified me and created a stumbling block for me; Sexual favours in exchange for mentorship and networking opportunities.

I declined the proposal and that’s how my communication with the individual ended. I didn’t let this weigh me down and decided to take up a new approach; getting a mentor among the present leaders.
I went back to the agent who had directed me to the political party to follow up on his promise but he told me that the member-of-parliament was not open to offer mentorship to people since he had to concentrate on the job he was elected to do.

I looked up among my friends for contact details of people who could help me out and I got phone numbers and email addresses of some leaders. I sent constant emails, made various phone calls but never got a response. Thereafter, I went on social media and websites of most of the politicians trying to contact them but that wasn’t fruitful either.

As I was not successful in these methods, I asked a friend to add me in a particular youth leadership group which he did. From there, I started getting updates about Youth Leadership trainings. The main problem was, the only postings were about how the trainings were but not links for applications to be part of the trainings. I would ask some of the people in the group about the application processes but I never got a response.

At some point it became frustrating as I saw that most of the doors were shut. Most of the leadership programmes I had applied for didn’t give me hope either as I would not get a response or if I did, they were acknowledgement of receipt of the application.
I have not been able to reach these people but I am hopeful that with time and with my continuous efforts, I will finally reach my destination. I am still applying for youth leadership programmes and am hopeful that eventually I will receive confirmation to attend the trainings.


Article by Esther Wambui
Mentoring and Empowerment Camps Alumni
Group of 2015 


Monday, 23 October 2017

Risk of Sexual Violence Around Kenya’s Repeat Election

Human Rights Watch research confirms that, once again, there was sexual violence against women and girls during the most recent post-election violence in Kenya. I interviewed over 50 victims and witnesses in Mathare, Kisumu, Bungoma, and Dandora. They told me about rape, gang rape, attempted rape, unwanted sexual touching, and beatings on their genitals, including by members of security forces and militia groups and civilians.
Some survivors urgently need medical treatment and counseling. Many were unable to go to health facilities because they were afraid of retaliation or stigma or did not know where to go. Given that the police themselves were the attackers in some cases, few reported these crimes.
Since the 1990s, Kenyan elections have been marred by serious human rights violations, including killings, maiming, and destruction of property. In 2007-2008, over 1,000 people were killed and half a million displaced. Sexual violence against women and girls, though less visible, has been a part of these abuses and just as devastating for victims. Men and boys, to a lesser extent, have also been targeted.
The patterns of election-related violence in Kenya suggest that there is a real threat of sexual violence in next week’s repeat election. The Kenya government needs to be ready to take urgent measures to protect women and girls and to ensure that any women and girls assaulted have access to medical treatment and can report crimes and get help from the authorities.
The government needs a credible plan to ensure that sexual assault victims get timely and quality post-rape treatment. This need is more urgent because of the ongoing strike by nurses, limiting available health personnel and facilities. Information for communities on where victims can get post-rape care, including free treatment, is crucial.
Kenyan authorities have failed rape survivors. They should take measures during the upcoming elections to protect women against rape, including by government security agents. They should ensure that there are clear codes of conduct and disciplinary procedures in place, for example, with respect to police, and raise awareness and speak against sexual violence. When rape happens, offenders should be investigated and prosecuted. Women have a right to vote without the fear of sexual violence.
 Article and Research by Human Rights Watch

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Happy International Day of the Girl!!



I am extremely proud to be a Girl. I admit that it always comes with challenges and setbacks because our culture and society don’t seem to embrace the fact that we are all equal and seem to think our major role is reproducing and taking care of men.
Every few days of the month, we are often declared unclean and dirty. People actually think it’s just about bleeding but don’t think about the pain involved in menstrual cramps. Most of us dread this period and we always seem to forget the most beautiful thing about being a woman, that is, we are creators. We have the ability to give birth to new generations. We carry those little things in our wombs for nine months, give birth and nurture them into what they might become in future.
Another thing that makes me proud to be a girl is the fact that I can multi task. My parents don’t know this but whenever they gave me multiple chores to do at the same time, they were training me to become a great manager and a person who can handle many tasks at the same time.
The various challenges that come with being a girl don’t make me feel any less of a human being. They motivate me to become even more, to prove to the world that just because I was born a female doesn’t mean am less and that I can do anything I set out to do. I plan to get out there, and make a name for myself.

Article by Esther Wambui
Mentoring and Empowerment Camps Alumni