Success Stories Archives - CREAWKENYA

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January 14, 2022by CREAWKENYA

Down the alleys of Leisha neighbourhood in Mombasa county, one of Kenya’s capital city, is where Evelyne Adhiambo Ngoto has set up her water vending business. The industrious 26 year old mother of one, is busy packaging the water into smaller cans for vendors who will collect them later.

Her working area is a beehive of activities. She has just gotten 7,000 liters of water from her supplier and she has to get down to business and ensure all her clients get some water before she closes shop. She is happy to have chosen the best business venture, since Mombasa county is always marred with water shortages making many households depend on her services to access clean water for house hold use.

“ I am always here by 8am after I have dropped my son to school. Most food vendors here are my clients so I have to get here in good time for their sake,” Says Evelyne.

Behind her enthusiastic baritone voice, is a woman who has battled many forces to secure her sanity and peace of mind. The Covid19 pandemic struck at a time when her business was struggling, worse still, she was not in talking terms with the father of her son. They had gone their separate ways.

“I was worried about my son, since I was not in a position to financially cater for his needs. The father was in a position to support the boy but I didn’t think it was his obligation to do so,” Chuckles Evelyne as she explains the steps she took towards finding a solution to her predicament.

The emotional burden weighed her down to the point of seeking counseling to help her cope with the drastic changes in her life. Through CREAW’s toll free line of 0800 720 186, she was able to access a counsellor and went through counselling. However, it was also brought to her attention that the she needed support with the son, hence the boy’s father needed to chip in to support him. A legal officer was assigned to her case to help summon the father of her child for mediation in order to come to agreements of how best they can co-parent.

“He agreed to pay for his education and health expenses. I felt a heavy burden lifted from my chest because I could now focus on reviving the business, which would help cater for our other basic needs like food, shelter and clothing,” Confirms Evelyne.

Like a stroke of luck had fallen on her side, Evelyne was among women who were supported through cash transfer amid the pandemic, to help cushion them from the adverse effects of COVID-19 on business. She was able to buy another 7,000 Liter tank of water and diversified her fresh water vending business.

“I have a bigger space at my shop, I wish to start selling fish and a grocery stall at the side to maximize on capital and the rent am also paying,” Insinuates Evelyne, as she looks to applying for Jasiri Fund, to allow her expand her business.

According to Evelyne, her water and Ice business depends on weather patterns and that on a dry season she makes a combine income of between Ksh 1500 and Ksh 2000, while on a rainy season she makes an average income of Ksh 800.00. She uses the profit to meet her basics needs and that of her son.

While government initiatives encourage enterprise development, most respondents, who participated in a study by the International Centre for Research on Women and Kenya Association of Manufacturers in 2020, reported difficulties in accessing those funds. Instances of sexual exploitation in exchange for credit facilities and compliance clearances were mentioned.

At the moment Evelyne has managed to pick up the pieces of her life and started living by herself, away from her mother whom she lived with when things fell apart. Her clarion call to women facing violence or any form of abuse: Stand up for yourself, there are others fighting for you, don’t let their efforts go in vain.

 

 

 


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January 14, 2022by CREAW

This year as the world marks the 30th anniversary of 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence (GBV), many women and girls are still grappling with the vice, with one in three women globally still experiencing violence.

Prior to the pandemic, violence was already a daily reality for many women and girls in Kenya with at least 41 percent reporting to have experienced either sexual or physical violence among other forms of GBV.

During the pandemic however, we have seen aggravated levels of violence against women and girls compounded by the preexisting gender inequalities.

Government data shows that GBV cases increased by 92 percent in the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic. Majority of these cases were perpetrated by intimate partners, close family members and persons known to survivors. It is a sequence that continues to go unabated.

It is a concern that Leticia Achieng, a survivor of intimate partner violence believes we must change to create safe households and communities for women to enjoy dignified lives.

In the Kibera settlements where she resides, it is not uncommon to hear screams of women being battered at night, or reports of incidences of women being killed by their spouses and some sustaining serious injuries that maim their lives forever.

“Taking lessons from my experiences, I believe communities must start by changing their mindsets and deal with the systemic inequalities that silences women and girls and enables perpetrators to thrive,” she says.

Across communities, a growing evidence show that gendered norms and power imbalances drives violence against women and girls. Evidently, men hold the preponderance of power in families, communities, work places, institutions and politics. The reality of this power imbalances, means that men are the main perpetrators of violence against women and girls, as well as boys and other men. To shift the narrative, Achieng believes it starts from home.

As a mother of two teenage boys, she says she has been intentional on how she nurtures and brings up her boys from when they were young. She notes that parenting young boys to grow up to men who respect women starts from home.

“I believe, good naturing starts from home and thus education must start when they are young, then they will assimilate the attitudes and actions as they grow up,” says Achieng.

“Bullying has become so rife in schools and parents don’t talk about it. When a child pushes, punches or smacks another, we hail them and excuse their violent behaviours,” she adds, noting that with good role modelling, we can change the path for our children and communities when it comes to addressing violence against women and girls.

Growing up, Achieng says she never saw her father treat her mother with respect. He was abusive to everyone in every way. I grew up knowing women should be submissive to men. The repeated forms of violence I faced made me realize that there is more to life other than being silenced by violence.

“Oftenly we caution women to dress ‘decently’ not to give the wrong impression, reason being, we are protecting them! I believe we must do better. It takes us all to teach our boys about consent and equal treatment of women in all spectrum,” she says.

In Kibera where Achieng lives, CREAW has been engaging communities in conversations to shift the narratives of male violence towards women and girls, issues of rape, defilement, femicide and other forms of intimate partner violence has been more prevalent during the pandemic. Achieng has been attending these community dialogues that she says has empowered her to challenge actions and attitudes that drives violence against women and girls in her community.

In the global arena and even here in Kenya, the wave of #MeToo and #TimesUp movements have amplified the voices of survivors to speak out on abuses and more so the everyday sexism that women and girls contend with at home, in the streets and just everywhere. With such widespread on violence against women, communities must be assertive enough and devise solutions to bring up men who respects and protect women and girls.

“I am raising my boys to respect women and girls but I know, it is not just the responsibilities of mothers but all in the community. I am raising my sons to use their power positively and the importance of equality,” says Achieng.

To address the various forms of violence against women and girls, CREAW continues to initiate and adapt interventions across communities. We are educating women and girls like Achieng to rise up and use their voices to claim their rights and demand for accountability from communities and authorities to prevent and respond to violence against women and girls.

 


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October 21, 2021by CREAWKENYA

When Center for Rights Educations and Awareness (CREAW) Kenya, spread its wingHaki s to Kitui county to support women and girls facing violence in the community, Dorcas Belinta, a widow and founder of Mosa vision group, was only doing little to economically empower her fellow widows in Kisasi village Kitui Rural Subcounty.  

Luckily, she was among 30 women picked from 14 active women led community based organizations in Kitui county to undergo a training on how best they can support survivors of gender based violence, as well as create awareness in the community regarding the vice. The training which is supported by CREAW in partnership with ForumCIV under the Haki Mashinani project is implemented in Kitui and Nyeri counties. It was based on the SASA model, which addresses violence against women, in community-based approaches and aims at changing the attitudes and behavior of men and women.  

 The four-phase process, developed by Raising Voices in Kampala, Uganda, mobilizes communities for a change in social norms. The primary goal of SASA! is to reduce violence against women and girls by exploring the balance of power in intimate partner relationships and in broader community dynamics. 

 “After the training we had our first community dialogue, where we invited the chief, 3 religious leaders and village elders. It was an open session of learning and unlearning what we thought was right as a community” Says Dorcas. 

 The primary school teacher, was encouraged by feedback she got after the meeting. She would get invited to have a talk in other community dialogues as well as enlighten her students more on issues of sexual and gender based violence. 

 “Previously, Mosa Vision group was doing table banking and outreaches in schools distributing sanitary packs, but now the training has built our capacity in addressing violence against women in the community” Confirms Dorcas. 

 The mother of three is now fixing her eyes on the political scene, as she feels political good will is another key in advancing the gender agenda as well as championing for the rights of women and girls. 

 “I want to be the next woman representative of Kitui County in the 2022 general elections. I understand the plight of widows and want to champion for their rights to own property as well as access property left behind by their late husbands. Widows here don’t have people who enlighten them on their rights” Concludes Dorcas with a smile.

 As a GBV champion, Dorcas notes that there’s an emerging trend of economic violence aside from sexual violence in Kitui County. As a widow, she relates well with women involved in matrimonial property succession and marriage, that were proving hard for them to handle. With her eyes focused on her political ambition, Dorcas is a woman on the move to make it better for fellow women and the next generation of girls. 


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October 19, 2021by CREAW

In 2013, Kenya enacted a Matrimonial Property Act that drew hope for the women of Kenya in their quest to own and inherit matrimonial land and properties. The Act reinforced equal rights as enshrined in the Constitution for both spouses when they own properties together and granted some new rights to women landowners. 

Despite the many monumental gains for individual women in Kenya, pastoralist women still have the long road to walk; their hope of justice to what legally and inherently belong to them is deemed by the cultural traditions and lack of awareness that stops many women from accessing their fair share of land and property, especially in cases of inheritance. 

*Naserian (not her real name) is the youngest wife among three other co-wives, her life has been marred with violence and for along time she did not have a voice in her own home. Her husband beats her up and does not consult her on any issue regarding land or the sale of properties. 

Recently, she met Jane Marsoi a renowned women’s rights activist at a community dialogue-teaching women on their rights and the power inequalities that discriminates on women. There, she learnt that she also had a voice over what concerns her life and that of her family. It is then that she took action! 

“By virtue of their gender, women’s property rights have been trampled- they are never consulted by their spouses when selling land,” says Jane while explaining to us that many women are helpless, it is depicted in the lack of awareness of their rights. 

“I was glad when Naserian approached me to help her; I explained to her the right channels to report to,” Jane adds. 

Naserian says she felt something was a miss when a stranger started farming on the family’s land. On inquiring, she was informed that the husband had sold the land without consulting her. When she confronted the husband, she beats her up till she was unconscious. She spent one week in hospital nursing the wounds. Undeterred, she resolved to explore the legal channel to access matrimonial lands. 

Together with Jane, they approached the area Chief who summoned the husband and gave and injunction to those who had bought the family lands.  

Today Naserian smile is noticeable, she tells us she got her share of the land and is happy that she can farm and provide food for her children and meet other basic needs. 

With the Matrimonial Property Act in Action, women now have equal rights to the land that is bought and sold in their name. In cases of polygamous marriages, each wife now has a right to a portion of the lands. The law also takes into account the non-monetary contribution in marriages- including domestic work, home management, childcare and farm work. 

And as Jane tells us, the teachings that CREAW has accorded the activists in the area have enabled them to brave through the societal ridicules to stand up to the male dominated Council of Elders in a bid to secure women’s rights to properties and transform norms and attitudes that promotes practices like FGM and other forms of gender based violence. 

As part of the Wajibika Initiative supported by the United Nation Trust Fund to End Violence Against Women, CREAW works with women-led groups to mobilize and rally communities on women’s rights issues. These includes, raising awareness among communities on the norms that promotes violence against women and engaging authorities to enact gender policies to cater for women’s equality and provide redress mechanisms on gender based violence. 


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October 18, 2021by CREAW

Huge win for survivors of sexual and gender based violence as Kenya launches its first ever policy for the National Police Service (NPS) integrated response to gender based violence. Launched on the 13th October 2021, the Policy is intended to steer NPS in the establishment, management and operations of one-stop centers dubbed ‘Policare’ and is intended to provide comprehensive support services including legal, psychosocial support, police and health to survivors of gender based violence (GBV) at no cost.


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July 4, 2021by CREAW

Getting into Kayole, an informal settlement within Nairobi, is not a walk in the park. The place is a beehive of activities, as everyone busies themselves with the hustle and bustle of eking a living. At the Masimba junction, we meet Raphaela Wangari, busy tidying up her shop. She has just received a new stock of eggs to add to what she had. Minutes later, her general store, commonly referred to as a duka, is a swam of activities as clients line up to buy basic commodities found at her shop.