Updated: Nov 2, 2022
"If not now then now now"
This was one of the inspiring quotes that came up during the Community innovations for gender equity event that took place on the 29th of September 2022.
This quote speaks deeply about the urgency to change the reality we currently live in. There are huge gaps in gender equality.
The main goal for this event was to sensitize the participants on these gaps, and the community-based innovations that have been set up to bridge them.
The first to speak was Richa Hingorani the global program manager of Girl Rising.
She first addressed some of the gaps we are currently facing post the COVID-19 pandemic which are:
According to the global gender gap index, 2022 gender parity is not recovering.
During the pandemic's peak, more than 11 million girls were at risk of never going back to school, with some studies showing this number as high as 20 million.
More and more women and girls managed caregiving responsibilities, had reduced access to sexual and reproductive health rights, and had poorer ability/skillset to navigate challenges and adversities.
What is their resolve? To “put girls at the centre and harness stories as the change agent” and:
Use their story-based curriculum to help adolescents build voice, agency, and confidence.
Use their story-based training, workshops and collaborations with educators to build more inclusive, equitable, aspirational learning environments.
Create a community Environment and use their stories to build empathy and understanding, empowering parents and community members to be strong advocates for girls' education.
Create a structural environment by collaborating with governments and the support of local organizations to advance local efforts to educate and empower girls.
Create a cultural environment by running media campaigns that use these stories to raise awareness with the broad public and change harmful social norms.
Girl Rising's mission is to use the power of storytelling to change the way the world values girls, their education and opportunities by:
Creating films, media content and educational resources that tell girls' stories and how educating girls' ripple effects transform families, communities and entire nations.
Collaborating with organizations around the world to support locally-led change that accelerates and strengthens quality education and greater opportunity for girls.
Activating change by inspiring individuals, from parents to presidents, to support action for girls' education.
Their work builds voice, agency and confidence in girls so that they can persist in their education; fosters a more inclusive learning environment that leads to improved education outcomes for girls, and changes attitudes and social norms.
Nairobi Metropolitan Service
Next Brenda Imali Psychosocial support, gender mainstreaming in government at Nairobi Metropolitan Service spoke about “Gender mainstreaming in government”.
Gender mainstreaming is a strategy for developing policies, legislation, programs,
projects, society and community's development plans from a gender equality perspective
to benefit both women and men.
It may also be defined as the process of ensuring that gender is taken into account in all
policies, processes and practices.
She addressed three levels of Gender mainstreaming:
At the legislation, policies, and strategies level
At the organization/department level
At the household/family level
She highlighted the approaches by the government to gender mainstreaming:
The NMS has come up with a youth-friendly service that deals with youth issues of both genders.
They make special arrangements in service delivery that will address the unique needs of either gender
They create employment for both genders in the youth-friendly centres.
They provide training for healthcare workers and professionals on dealing with both genders.
Another approach she highlighted was engaging stakeholders in gender mainstreaming.
She explained that mainstreaming gender requires service providers in government agencies to :
Assist young people in correctly understanding the true meaning and differentiating Gender, sex, gender roles and norms.
Using adopting a supportive behaviour and attitude towards gender sensitivity, responsiveness, equity, and equality and easily identifying gender needs.
Integrate gender issues into government facilities.
Our third speaker was Eric Mungai Founder and CEO, of Yazua Africa who addressed their approach to “Raising boys for leadership”.
He posed this thought-provoking question :
“How might we support young men to strengthen their leadership and entrepreneurial potential while innovating solutions for their communities?”
Their approach provides a viable answer to this question.
They create spaces where young men can learn, be challenged, and grow in their leaders! How do they do this?
By using experiential activities and processes like
Factory/ industry visits
Mentorship/coaching sessions by diverse mentors
What is the impact of their work?
Their first cohort has produced leaders in different fields: Accountants, Political, leaders, Police Officers, Footballers, Teachers, Talent Managers, Engineers, Doctors, Artists, Mechanics, Financial Investment Advisers, HR Directors and Acclaimed chefs.
Any society that thrives must have a strong social development sector that caters to the well-being of its youth.
Kenya's youth development agenda must be more than school enrolment; it must cater to the socio-eco development of young males especially.
He concludes with this powerful message:
“We are faced with a silent pandemic that continues to ravage our young bo: churn out angry, aimless, and dangerous boy. Our communities must have spaces for the positive development of boys.
If we don’t do something for the boy child, we will have done NOTHING for the girl child; and NO ONE WILL BE SAFE.”
The Malkia Initiative
Our concluding speaker was Jedidiah Lemaron Founder and Executive Director, of The Malkia Initiative who had this big-picture question:
“What if Maasai girls had power over their bodies and their futures?”
The mission at Malkia Initiative is to contribute towards enhancing equity in education by reducing barriers to transition and increasing engagement and well-being of adolescent girls and youth through:
Menstrual health and hygiene management
Anti-FGM and child marriage campaigns
AYSRHR information and education
Referrals for SRHR counselling and services
Advocacy for SRHR education reforms and inclusion
Advocacy for meaningful youth participation
What impact have they made so far?
Over the past 6 years, they have reached and supported over 20,00 girls across the county and beyond with Menstrual products and education.
Trained over 100 MHM ToTs in the county.
Supported and carried Campaigns against Harmful Practices.
Referred over 500 youths to healthcare facilities for SRHR services through social media.
EAC reproductive health bill.
East and Southern African Ministerial commitment to CSE Bill and SRHR(2021) to safeguard adolescents and Young people’s health and Future.
Their goals for the future are:
To develop a mentorship manual for Pastoral communities.
To plant more Pad Banks across Kajiado
Education scholarship fund for adolescent girls.
Commission the first social enterprise for girls and women.
The event proved to be a success as many in attendance expressed that they had learnt a lot more about current gaps and were inspired by the impact shared by the organizations that took part in presenting.
We look forward to more conversations and innovations about gender equity that will be showcased at our ReimagiED event in December!