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

Monday, 9 October 2017

Understanding Self



It is high time that as young women, we begin to understand ourselves as we face life. Sometimes we never know what life is all about unless we face the truth. Just as fire is covered by smoke, and mirror is obscured by dust, just as an embryo rests deep within the womb, wisdom is hidden by selfish desire. We need to let our own being to be explained by us. We are the only ones who can describe ourselves best. We face challenges in life and think that we have no purpose being alive and in the end, find ourselves cursing the day our mothers gave us to the world. We really need to be our own self best encouragement before we get external help. Although, it’s never out of knowledge to ask for help but it’s stupid to never ask for help when you have sisters and mentors to hold your hand  whenever you feel like breaking down.

Article by
Miriam Wambua
Group 7 Camp Beneficiary

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Camp Diary of a Shy Girl to a Confident Young Woman: Part 5


At fifteen, I wasn’t sure about what I wanted in life. In the last exam, I had managed to score a C. that was the best I could produce. I was comfortable. Besides, I wasn’t the last one in the class and I was smart. I had managed to score 334 marks out of 500 in the Kenya Certificate for Primary Education (KCPE). Most of the people I was in high school with hadn’t achieved that much. I was part of the ‘elite’, or so I thought.
I joined camp a little bullied girl. I was bullied for all reasons varying from my weight, or my stand at refusing to join the Christian Union when everyone was a fanatic and was being attacked by ‘evil spirits’ in school. At some point, I was even branded as a follower of the ‘illuminati’ or whatever that was. Being in a catholic school, this was a very serious issue. It didn’t matter whether it was a stupid rumour. Whatever was being whispered in regards to this following was the truth. My classmates would threaten me by saying they would report me to the principal. That would have been the end of my high-school life. I would remember how my mum worked hard to provide for me and my siblings. How she would cross Kenyatta highway with two small buckets of water to water the plants to sell, how at some instances, she was almost hit by cars and the drivers would haul insults at her for being careless while crossing the road and I would feel so low. I tolerated how they treated me because I didn’t want to see my mother’s efforts go to waste. Besides, we had been through enough with my mum through primary school. I remember how she would wake up at four in the morning, prepare and take me to school. When it rained, she would walk through stagnant water with me on her back since we lived in a swampy area. We would get to town at around five thirty and she would go to her garden then, to water her plants. The thought of these tough times made me not wish to bother her with what I was going through in school.
I started the mentoring camps a beaten girl. Broken. I would share my story with my sisters during the evening sessions. No matter how small it seemed then, sharing eased the pain a little bit. The support system was amazing. We would spend the whole night encouraging each other to be strong and to remember what kept us going for so long.
During one of the sessions, I shared my grades. The facilitator looked at me then and told me I could do better. She even promised a prize to anyone who improved their grades. She later on asked me what I wanted to do with my life and I told her I wanted to be a doctor. She looked at me straight in the eye and told me that I wouldn’t be one if I continued scoring those poor grades. She later asked me what motivated me and what set my soul on fire when doing things. I told her my mum’s story and how I wanted to get her out of that job. She told me to always think of her whenever I felt like giving up.
I didn’t become a doctor but I am very happy where I am now and am glad to say that Resource Center gave birth to the person I am now. I came to realize afterwards that I didn’t want to be a doctor after all. I wanted to pursue social work and do amazing things and change people’s lives like how RCWG did to mine.
For that, I am truly grateful.



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







Monday, 10 July 2017

CALL FOR APPLICATIONS


INTERNSHIP OPPORTUNITY
The Resource Center for Women and Girls (RCWG) is an organization based in Kenya, and works with young rural-urban girls and women from all parts of the country. The RCWG uses their prestigious empowerment and mentoring camps as a tool to promote personal transformation and empowerment among these girls. Our aim is to facilitate the development of the knowledge-base, so that young girls are better prepared to be not only agents of change in their communities, but also to participate in transformative leadership and the development of Kenya and of the African continent as a whole.
As an organization, we are made up of a small team of committed women who believe in leaving legacies for the next generation. We work with consultants from our networks, we train and mentor young rural-urban girls to develop awareness about themselves, and become potential key players in facilitating transformative change.  We therefore work to enhance their understanding of their human rights, social environment and to be more conscious actors in that environment. Our main goal is to invest in young rural girls and women as part of the process of maximising the potential of African societies to reproduce themselves. We want to transform our rural communities so that girls are afforded opportunities to learn, stay healthy and be agents of change. To this end, we are building a critical mass of informed girls (later women) who will be the agents of change and trailblazers in and for Africa.
We are looking for Interns who are willing to grow with the organisation, share in the mission and vision of the organisation and be part of this critical mass. 

Eligibility
  • Candidates must be young Women between the age of 19-29
  • Candidates must be willing to commit to a minimum of 4 months
  • Candidates must be an Alumni of the Prestigious Mentoring and Empowerment Camps of the RCWG
Apply
To apply, the following documents are required
  • Updated CV
  • Motivation Letter detailing why you should be considered for the Internship
  • Cover letter
Applications should be submitted to info@resourcecenter.or.ke