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“Mama Shwari” Women Champions of Violence Prevention in Kisii, Kenya

Kisii Community Safety Audit 2010 on crime and violence generated the local communities/ women priorities and concerns into Community Safety Plan 2011-2015. This process created a Community Gender Based Violence Prevention Model encourage women to strength their families as the cradle for prevention of violence.

Photo of Rapudo Hawi
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This will advocate resilience and transform women experiencing abusive and violent relationships into role models for violence prevention within the family level. 

It will also explore new communities strategies that provide 30 women likely to become violent at the family level to access information and access to programs that help them keep their children safe and healthy. The experience will greatly influence their families into a cradle for non-violence.
 
The evidence of transformation process shall be based on what the participating women are doing to turn around their families and their profiles providing more concrete indicators of change at a later stage in the initiative. In the process, there will two (2) volunteers facilitators assisting them to  transform their situation through eight joint family sessions, support groups and family visitations.

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Photo of Andrew Adallah

This is great. I have worked in Kisii areas and evidently, women dis-empowerment is key concern. A program that ultimately intends to cause sustainable change on the GBV status in this region has to focus on giving women a voice, a voice which they must progressively gain through awareness on their rights and participation in economic empowerment.

Photo of Bernard Oluma

The focus on women has the following rationale:

Women rarely have ownership and control over land. Even where there is formal recognition for women’s ownership and/or control over land, actual control is still in the hands of male family members. Women and minority groups rarely sit in the governance institutions (traditional or formal) that make decisions on land. And where they do, the power relations with other members hinder the effective articulation of women’s requirements and issues and their participation in decision-making. Lack of literacy often causes women’s lack of power in these spaces.

Most women (and many men) in rural communities only have insecure land tenure. This makes women more predisposed to dispossession. We have seen an increase in land dispossession of widows and orphans due to the HIV and AIDs pandemic. Land held in trust for rural populations by central or decentralised governments, or in communal or public land is most susceptible to land grabs. Land is being grabbed on a large scale for biofuels production, food production for export and the carbon market or extractive industry ( like Soap Stone in Kisii), with women particularly affected.

Patriarchal practices subjugate women within families and communities. In all forms of land tenure systems, communal, private, public or as commons, women’s rights to land are often limited to access, which is often only at the whims of and subject to maintaining a good relationship with male relatives. Many national constitutions and laws including Kenya, treat matters of land ownership, inheritance and transfer and property sharing in marriage and divorce under personal law. This perpetuates discrimination on the basis of culture. Moreover, there is threat of real and potential violent backlash where women assert their rights to control land.

To address some of these challenges, we need to support rural women in Kisii to have improved access to and control over land, including supporting its sustainable use. At national level, we will lobby and campaign for changes in attitudes and practices to support women’s ownership of and control over land and natural resources. We will lobby the state to protect common property resources (such as water and forests) from privatization. At the international level, we will work with allies to ensure support for adoption of international land governance guidelines that support women’s rights to land and common property rights.

Photo of Bernard Oluma

We need to create a power balance between women and men by focusing our attention to women empowerment projects that will enable them generate income. This will balance the already unequal power and men will see women in Kisii more as equal partners in raising their families and not as objects for domestic violence.

Our analysis of poverty and inequality places women’s rights as central to achieving change. Thus women’s rights must be at the heart of our support and campaigning. However, far too often this doesn’t happen meaningfully.

Sometimes the campaign story is “about women” without bringing the underlying differences between women and men into the heart of the campaign. Likewise, adding in a gender perspective after doing the main analysis leads to including phrases like “especially women and girls”, and it remains an add-on to the campaign’s aims and approaches.

We need to integrate and ask questions at each stage of the campaign design and planning, including: Is gender integrated in the background analysis? Is this well reflected in the goals and objectives? Is it considered within the power analysis? Are women’s organisations strong in the alliance?

Photo of Buoga Omondi

This idea should leverage on socio-economic empowerment platforms. That is one of the sustainable ways of transforming lives of women in tackling domestic gender based violence...

Photo of Rapudo Hawi

Thanks Jared, I take note to build up the idea into such a benchmark for women with capacity to provide basic needs for children and family, that's important

Photo of Caleb Wanga

wonderful ideas

Photo of Rapudo Hawi

ideas always graduate into concepts that support community women engagement to deal with new emerging violence that risk their lives

Photo of Bernard Oluma

This project needs support from any right thinking Kenyan

Photo of Rapudo Hawi

i agree that it will help new thinking beyond Africa with community support

Photo of Caleb Wanga

Write a commentnd be replicated in all communities

Photo of Rapudo Hawi

thanks Caleb for response

Photo of James Makini

This is excellent Hawi. The job you are doing is awesome.

Photo of Rapudo Hawi

Thanks James Makini for the great innovation you are doing with one hen campaign; i would love to share with the great work and your insights will be welcomed

Photo of Maureen Oduor

Hawi I think this is a real ground breaking Idea, i like the location of the project and the target group. I love the fact that its beneficiary centered, and bottom up approach of intervention, Am sure its a wonderful move to save our girls and women!

Photo of Rapudo Hawi

Thanks Maureen, i believe in ensuring that women remain are custodians of violence prevention in family . i look for lessons and experiences to build up this process.

Photo of Victor Onjoro

This is wonderful Hawi,the advocacy should cut across the Nation for the communities to be more Gender sensitive and reduce Female Gender Manipulation by engaging in productive initiatives!
This shall be a strategy towards having a socio-economic empowered community where productive values are prioritized by both male and female genders!

Photo of Rapudo Hawi

thanks Victor, we are entering a crucial stage of idea engagement. I look forward to your comments.

Photo of Stella Cecome

This is a great initiative that needs to involve more women within Kisii and beyond. Gender violence is an issue of concern within Kisii region and needs to be addressed. Involving women in family transformation is a noble idea because if we achieve safety and prevent violence within the family level we shall equally achieve community safety and eventually lead to global safety.
Support for this initiative will be a great contribution to promoting and protecting women rights.

Photo of Rapudo Hawi

Thanks for being in the important drive for change in the community; it needs to be further reshaped and conceptualize so as to deliver expected outcomes.

Photo of Victor Onjoro

This is wonderful Hawi,the advocacy should cut across the Nation for the communities to be more Gender sensitive and reduce Female Gender Manipulation by engaging in productive initiatives!
This shall be a strategy towards having a socio-economic empowered community where productive values are prioritized by both male and female genders!

Photo of John Onditi

This is a good initiative on GBV and need implementation,not only in Kisii but also notorious neighbors around there.

Photo of Rapudo Hawi

I salute your comment on transforming implementation of this initiative beyond Kisii. I also that Usalama forum has been engaging with other communities in Kerugoya, Eastleigh, Mtwapa on other modela based on the idea. I believe in conceptualization and refining the idea as we continue

Photo of Meena Kadri

Welcome, Rapudo – it's great to have you join us on this challenge from Kenya. We're especially liking the notion of using facilitators on this initiative, to work *with, not for* these women. Hope to see more of you across conversations on this challenge...

Photo of Rapudo Hawi

Meena great to hear from you and the inspiration you draw for mentoring people. We believe in women taking leading in transforming their families as the cradle of hope to fight against violence. Thanks again

Photo of Ken Odary

This is great Rapudo, the journey we started is certainly on track.

Photo of Rapudo Hawi

Thanks Ken Odary for your compliment and being associated with this intiative. Now we can see the idea we initiated in the community growing. The time to discuss and shape the idea has just started, please keep contributing

Photo of Bernard Oluma

Very good initiative Hawi Rapudo particularly targeting GBV ! Kisii is a region with high number of GBV in Kenya

Photo of Rapudo Hawi

Thanks Bernard, It is an idea that building will require a lot of resilience and capacity to put mechanisms that help families appreciate women in Kenya.