Upcoming events in Kenya, Tanzania & online

There are several interesting events coming up in the next few weeks that we’d like to share with you all:

On now until Saturday 11th November

East African Student Film Festival at Daystar University, Nairobi

Featuring the stunning short film called Giza (Darkness) where Isack Abel, a young man from Tanzania, expresses his feelings about the fight against killings of people with albinism.            You can watch the film on you tube here

For more information about the Film Festival, please click here

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Friday 10th – Sunday 12th November

Fourth UDADA Women’s International Women’s Film Festival at Kenya National Theatre

More information here

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Friday, November 10th (6pm) to Friday November 17th

The National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (NGLHRC), Kenya, invites you to its first art exhibit, ’27,’ opening .

At Shift Eye Studios, Argwings Kodhek Road, Nairobi (near Yaya Centre) click here for google maps link

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Tuesday 14 November – Thursday 16 November

INTRAC is hosting a FREE online event in partnership with ICD Uruguay, Peace Direct and Y Care International as part of International Civil Society Week (ICSW) 2017.

Join us to share experiences and build momentum to rethink partnership, strengthen capacity for sustainability, and ensure a responsible approach to planning for aid exit.

For details and to register, please click on this link

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Thursday 23rd – Saturday 25th November

Africa Facilitation Conference in Arusha, Tanzania, organized by Tamasha and IAF (International Association of Facilitators)

Click here for more details

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Weds 29th November  6.30-8.30pm

Film screening of “Thank You for the Rain” (film on Climate Change set in Kitui County) at Alliance Francaise, Nairobi

Click here for more details

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The #Me Too# Campaign on Sexual Harrassment

In support of the #me too# campaign:

  1. Lupita Nyong’o: Speaking Out About Harvey Weinstein by Lupita Nyongo

‘I hope we can form a community where a woman can speak up about abuse and not suffer another abuse by not being believed and instead being ridiculed. That’s why we don’t speak up — for fear of suffering twice, and for fear of being labeled and characterized by our moment of powerlessness’. Lupita Nyogo

Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/19/opinion/lupita-nyongo-harvey-weinstein.html

2.       Our story of rape and reconciliation by Thordis Elva (TED Talk)

I was raised in a world where girls are taught that they get raped for a reason. Their skirt was too short, their smile was too wide, their breath smelled of alcohol. And I was guilty of all of those things, so the shame had to be mine. It took me years to realize that only one thing could have stopped me from being raped that night, and it wasn’t my skirt, it wasn’t my smile, it wasn’t my childish trust. The only thing that could’ve stopped me from being raped that night is the man who raped me — had he stopped himself’. Thordis Elva

Source:https://www.ted.com/talks/thordis_elva_tom_stranger_our_story_of_rape_and_reconciliation/discussion?utm_campaign=social&utm_medium=referral&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_content=talk&utm_term=global-social%20issues#t-199673

3.     Violence against women — it’s a men’s issue by Jackson Katz (TED Talk)

‘But there’s so many men who care deeply about these issues, but caring deeply is not enough. We need more men with the guts, with the courage, with the strength, with the moral integrity to break our complicit silence and challenge each other and stand with women and not against them’. Jackson Katz

Source:https://www.ted.com/talks/jackson_katz_violence_against_women_it_s_a_men_s_issue

4.     Street Harassment by BBC

Harassment in public spaces is something that most women have experienced or will experience’

Source:https://www.facebook.com/BBC100women/videos/vb.948946275170651/1545931298805476/?type=2&theater

 

 

Happy International Women’s Day

Happy International Women’s Day everyone – this day was first marked in 1909 and is rooted in the desire for socialism and equality for all women.  March 8th marks the day that women marched in Petrograd, Russia, which sparked the 1917 revolution.

To commemorate the day, we present a series of articles and information; and the sad reality is that, despite progress in many areas of life, we are still faced with gender inequality on a global level and in all walks of life.  There is much work for all of us, both women and men, to eradicate all forms of sexism in our daily lives, within our institutions and systems, and in the broader society.

Firstly, to motivate everyone, some inspiring quotes from African women activists are here

For those in Nairobi, Kenya, there is an event today to celebrate International Women’s Day from 12 – 6 pm at Freedom Corner, Uhuru Park with Arts Performances, Exhibitions and Dialogues on on Inequalities and Barriers to Development.  FREE ENTRY!

This year’s theme is “BE BOLD FOR CHANGE”.  Today’s Daily Nation celebrates some bold Kenyan women HERE

Here are some articles, largely focused on sexual and gender-based violence being faced by so many girls and women and several, although not all, about Kenya.  Please click on the stories to read more:

The Real Reasons Women’s Don’t Report Sexual Harassment

Hope for Survivors of Political Violence

No Bed of Roses: The Kenyan Flower Pickers Fighting Sexual Harassment

Is Your Dress Really Your Choice?

For more about International Women’s Day and its’ history: please check the following:

https://www.internationalwomensday.com/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Women’s_Day

http://www.history.com/news/the-surprising-history-of-international-womens-day

 

“A feminist is anyone who recognizes the equality and full humanity of women and men.” Gloria Steinem

 

Why Silence should never be an Option in a hellish Society

by Rasna Warah

We live in strange and scary times. The president of the world’s most powerful nation is using Twitter to send out 140-character messages (full of spelling mistakes, I might add) to the world.

Yes, Donald Trump, who has an army of communication and public relations experts at this disposal, is physically typing angry messages on his Twitter account – and the United States security apparatus seems quite unperturbed by this bizarre recklessness. (Why doesn’t somebody just take away his phone and disable his personal Twitter account?)

Many Americans are anxious and frightened about their future under an impulsive and unpredictable president, whose national and foreign policies (which seem to be formulated on the spot without any consultation) are being articulated via social media.

To understand this weird new social order, Americans are turning to literature — George Orwell’s novel 1984 about a dystopian authoritarian society hit the bestseller list in the United States this month.

In an article titled, “The Madness of King Donald”, the journalist Andrew Sullivan explains this angst. He wrote: “I think there is a fundamental reason why so many of us have been so unsettled, anxious, and near panic these past few months. It’s not so much this president’s agenda.

That always changes from one administration to another. It is that when the linchpin of an entire country is literally delusional, cynically deceptive, and responds to any attempt to correct the record with rage and vengeance, everyone is always on edge. There is no anchor any more. At the core of the administration of the most powerful country on earth, there is, instead, madness.”

It seems that the inmates have taken over the asylum not just in America, but in many other parts of the world as well. In the Philippines, the president has given citizens the licence to kill drug dealers, and yet he has not suffered any sanctions from the United Nations; on the contrary, citizens have lauded his policy, and hundreds of people have been murdered as a result.

Western countries, whose military actions in Iraq, Libya and Syria contributed to creating an unprecedented refugee crisis, and also gave birth to terrorist organisations, are now refusing to take in these refugees. Instead, many are looking to stop refugees from entering their countries altogether.

Yet these same countries were among the first to reprimand Kenya for threatening to close down the Dadaab refugee camp.

Kenya has not escaped the insanity that is becoming increasingly common around the world. Recently, President Uhuru Kenyatta posted a photo on Twitter of him doing a jig with dancers on the State House lawn at a time when the country is experiencing a severe drought and patients in public hospitals are dying because there is no one to attend to them.

Meanwhile, union officials representing striking doctors were jailed for a month (but later released on appeal) for disobeying a court order, yet Ministry of Health officials have not been reprimanded, investigated or sacked for allegedly stealing or misusing billions of shillings that could have gone towards increasing the salaries of these doctors.

It is easy in these crazy and confusing times to feel disoriented. People’s coping mechanisms vary from depression to detachment. It is no wonder that there is voter apathy in Kenya. As one young man at a discussion I recently attended said: “If after having fought for 20 years for a new constitution, we can still rig elections or choose leaders who are bad for us, then what is the point of voting?”

Unfortunately, this detachment or apathy may embolden those who seek to silence the voices of reason. The language of silence, as Yvonne Owuor reminds us in her novel Dust, is more potent and destructive than the language of vocal protest because it normalises the abnormal.

Sometimes silence can be a precursor to something more ominous. When people are subdued and silenced after experiencing years of poverty, corruption, disappointment, discrimination or humiliation, they experience violence at the deepest spiritual and emotional levels, says Ugandan activist Kalundi Serumaga.

This violence can manifest itself physically, either through self-destructive behaviour, such as alcoholism, or through violent rebellion, like the one witnessed in France’s poor suburbs last week when youth went on a burning spree.

Which is why silence must never be an option in these uncertain times.

rasna.warah@gmail.com

Originally published in the Daily Nation, Monday 20th February 2017

Men still call the shots despite Women’s progress

The odds against women in Kenya remain stacked high despite the enactment of laws and interventions aimed at ensuring gender equity.

Women and girls make up more than half the world’s population and their socio-economic contributions and leadership are central to achieving sustainable development. As the world marks International Women’s Day on March 8, the focus will be on building momentum for effective implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), designed to end poverty and hunger.

Of particular interest on this day are goal number five, on the social, economic, cultural and political achievement of women, and goal number four, on ensuring quality education and lifelong learning opportunities.

Nation Newsplex took a look at how far women in Kenya have come in achieving some of the key targets of the 2030 Agenda.

Below are facts on gender inequality in Kenya, sourced from the Kenya Demographic and Health Survey 2014, Ministry of Education, UN Women, International Women’s Media Foundation, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) and the World Economic Forum (WEF).

How many girls complete basic education?

About two in three girls who join Standard One do not complete Form Four, which is way below the key target of ensuring that all girls and boys complete free, equitable and quality primary and secondary education by 2030.

How well are women represented in decision making?

More than five years since the Constitution was promulgated, women’s participation in political processes and representation in decision making has remained muted. Not a single county governor is a woman, and only a quarter of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s cabinet consists of women.

In the National Assembly, 65 out of 350 seats (19 per cent) are held by women, despite affirmative action measures that guaranteed women 47 seats in the 2013 General Election. Kenya’s supreme law requires that no more than two-thirds of people elected or appointed to public bodies consist of one gender.

The Senate, with 18 women senators out of 68, also falls short of the two-thirds gender rule. Every female senator made it to the upper house through seats allocated solely to women in the Constitution and through nominations by political parties to represent special interests.

In the public service, a third of principal secretaries (15 out of 41) are women. The county assemblies met the two-thirds gender rule, although it was forced on them by electoral laws. In the case of the other legislative bodies and Cabinet, Bills were to be passed and policies developed to operationalise the rule.

Which socio-cultural practices hold back women?

Nearly half (45 per cent) of women age between 15 and 49 and 44 per cent of men aged between 15 and 49 have experienced physical violence since 15 years of age.

The main perpetrators of physical violence against women are husbands, whereas the main perpetrators against men are teachers and parents, according to the 2014 KDHS. Twice as many women as men have experienced sexual violence at least once in their lifetime.

Elimination of all forms of violence against all women and girls in the public and private spheres, including trafficking and sexual and other types of exploitation is one of the SDG targets.

One in five women aged between 15 and 49 have been circumcised. About 28 per cent of women aged between 20 and 24 were circumcised between the ages of five and nine, compared to 17 per cent of women aged 45-49. Another key target of SDGs is to eliminate all harmful practices, such as child marriage, early and forced marriage and female genital mutilation.

What is Kenya’s global rank on gender inequity?

According to the 2015 Global Gender Gap report, Kenya is ranked 48 out of 145 countries in the global gender index that considers the gap between men and women in economic participation (salaries, job type and seniority), political engagement, access to education and health (life expectancy, mortality etc.).

Kenya dropped 11 places on the overall rankings last year, mostly due to a decrease in both the wage equality for similar work and a reduction in women in the Cabinet.

What is the situation in the workplace?

In media companies, the ratio of men to women is 2:1. Women journalists also experience uneven access to the various occupational and managerial levels of the industry.

In the education sector, women make up 20 per cent of women school principals even if almost half of all primary school teachers are women.

How much do women contribute to the economy?

Women are responsible for 70 per cent of crop production, 50 per cent of animal husbandry and 60 per cent of marketing. Despite their huge contributions their efforts usually go unrewarded and unrecognised.

According to UN Women, agricultural activities undertaken by African women are typically characterised by a lack of resources and support such as credit, agricultural inputs, and the technologies necessary to increase production.

By Dorothy Otieno, Published in the Daily Nation, March 6th 2016