Kibera Gender advocates call for shared efforts to achieve equality
By Judy Ndunge and Christabel Adhiambo
As the world marked the 2022 International Women’s Day, Kibera gender advocated have called on the community to ensure a world that is equitable, inclusive, and free from bias and discrimination against women.
In an event held in Kibra, stakeholders sought to deliberate on, among others, the challenges faced by grassroot organizations as they handle gender related issues. The forum called for partnership not only among the different organizations and individuals present at the event but also a shared responsibility among the genders in ensuring that gender balance is achieved.
Elssie Milimu, Program Coordinator at Creaw, emphasized on the need to offer same opportunities for men and women. “For a long time, gender equality has been seen as isolation of the boy child but we now need to make sure girls and women too have to get same opportunities in education, work and leadership among others,” said Elssie, adding that there is need to have more women leaders to fight for the rights of other women.
“Women are supposed to be celebrated every day of their life because of the work that they do,’’ said Victor Odhiambo, founder Garden of Hope, while speaking at the event organized by Kibera Gender Advocacy Network in celebration of International Women’s Day. The event was attended by Kcerts, Mad Sisters, Creaw International, Garden of Hope among other Community Organization in Kibera. Retrogressive cultural practices, gender stereotypes and lack of mentors were cited as some of the barriers to gender equality.
According to Deborah Odenyi, Program Coordinator, Girl Raising Kenya, lack of women empowerment and gender equality has a negative effect on the society itself. “A lot of women out there don’t know their rights. They have been suffering in silence since no one has given them the correct information and that should change. Girls on the other hand get into transactional relationships to get some basic needs like sanitary towels and this leads to unplanned pregnancies. Parents marry off their girls early because of poverty. The girls get no justice and sometimes forced to live with the perpetrators,” said Deborah.
‘”Gender equality is a shared issue that why it’s important to engage men in the community. The engagement of boys and girls equally would enable the transformation of their mindset. Sit down and identify mechanism for eliminating violence. The family is the basic unit of a society so we need to change structures within the household too in order to transform the society itself. Let’s also be loud in calling out perpetrators against women,” said Aisha Said Ibrahim, MCA Aspirant Makina ward.