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BRAVO ! WOMEN AMBASSADORS OF PEACE-AND A VOICE AGAINST GENDER BASED VIOLENCE

During the campaign against violence against women, various articles categorically indicated the agony women in war and conflict areas go through. In my previous article on violence against women assylum seekers, i indicated how women are displaced, raped, infected with disease, killed, sexually harassed, and incur all manner of loss including property and family members. in most cases little is done in the conflict areas, and society expects political leaders to bring about change. Not so for the women who are members of rural women peace link(RWPL) IN kENYA.

RWPL was formed in 1999 as a network of grass root women' organization oerating in areas affected by armed conflict in western Kenya, across 11 administrative counties in kenya-uasin Gishu, Nandi,West pokot,Trans nzoia, Bungoma(mt. Egon),Baringo, laikipia, samburu, Elgeyo Marakwet, KISUMU AND kakamega. Her core business is to contribute to holistic development of women in conflict prone areas for peace, development and their positive contribution to their communities.peace building and conflict mitigation, women economic empowerment, leadership and governance,women human rights, mentorship and girls education support are her cor activities. RWPL has partnered with both local and international organizations working in the same core areas, and has;equality, empowerment, teamwork,sharing information, diversity, and respect as her core values. Among her main objectives are ;to strengthen women networks/committees for effective implementation of activities at the grass root,promote good governance and women participation in leadership.

In an interview with Mary, one of the co-leaders during the Uasin Gishu RWPL team meeting, she gladly said that as a network, they actively participate in campaigns against gender based violence. Mary said they work with women leaders from communities where Female Genital Mutilation is still an active practice to create awareness of the implications of the practice to women. they rescue girls who run away and do mentorship and give education support to girls who flee FGM and forced early marriage.girls are supported in primary school through to college level.

Through peace activities, women members of RWPL ensure that their is sustainable peace achieved by their full participation at all stages of the conflict transformation. women in this network believe that women participation in decision making and community development improves peace situation and ensures adequate provision of their basic needs, education, and health services in poor rural settings.
RWPL has been instrumental in standing in solidarity with women who have suffered ethnic clashes, cattle rustling, post election violence, and internal conflicts.

world leaders need to acknowledge such rural initiatives and network them so that more people can become ambassadors of peace , and many women who become victims during violence can enjoy peace in communities.
congratulations RWPL for the good work you are doing in the troubled communities in the mentioned counties. a big thank you for being a safe space for our daughters who flee FGM and early forced marriages. thank you for giving our girls a second chance, and a chance to shape their own future through education. thank you for saying no to violence against women and girl children in Kenya. Kenya needs more of you as we enter into the campaign mood and await general elections in march 2013.

This story was written for World Pulse’s Ending Violence Against Women Digital Action Campaign.

World Pulse believes that women's stories, recommendations, and collective rising leadership can—and will—bring an end to gender-based violence. The EVAW Campaign elicits powerful content from women on the ground, strengthens their confidence as vocal grassroots leaders, and ensures that influencers and powerful institutions hear their stories.
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Comments

Sharontina's picture

Hats off to RWPL

Along with you i too congratulate them for their efforts and activities and appreciate their ventures in shedding light on the major issues affecting women.

Keep up the good work for a noble cause and wish you all the best.

Love.

Merlin Sharontina

EK. Chemorion's picture

ASANTE! (THANK YOU)

Sis Sharontina,
Thanks for taking time to read RWPL involvement in peace and the fight against Violence against women. I must say I am thrilled with what they do. I am not ashamed to strongly identify with them!!
Asante.

EK Chemorion

Women of the RWPL are to be highly commended indeed for their efforts in helping women and girls improve and upgrade their lives. The fight against violence in any way, shape or form including the devastating effects that female genital mutilation or forced early marriages has on a young girl's self esteem as well as her health cannot be ignored. No longer should society stand by and let such negative practices destroy the future of our African societies i.e. the youth. The positive work that RWPL is undertaking and its advocacy in speaking out for such vulnerable members of Kenyan society cannot be overemphasized. My African sister, EK Chemorion you too are to be highly commended for featuring the positive role of RWPL and informing the world about the plight of women in your country. Keep up the great job!

BMBracewell

Wendyiscalm's picture

Ubuntu

Hi E.K.

I read your article with great interest and hope. It reaffirms my favorite word in the universe:

Ubuntu: I am who I am because of who we are together.

Keep it coming everybody. There's power in people.

Wendy Stebbins

Wendy Stebbins
Founder/CEO
I AM ONE IN A MILLION Non-Profit Organization focused on helping street orphans and vulnerable children in Livingstone, Zambia Africa.

Hannah Cynthia's picture

values become actions

Wow, this is great to read. Thank you for sharing this!

I'm so happy to hear about the actions being taken by grassroots organizations; it's lifts ones spirits. I agree with the words and statements that you used. You wrote: "women in this network believe that women's participation in decision making and community development improves peace situation and ensures adequate provision of their basic needs, education, and health services in poor rural settings", and I believe this is true in all communities--women must be involved in decision making at all levels. Like you mentioned, these peace ambassadors need to be recognized by world leaders as powerful representatives potential political agents. They are already making changes at a grassroots level.

Globally, women are underrepresented in the political arena. They have a weak voice in public policy decisions made by the government. In the US, women make up a dismal 17% of congress. Yet women are community leaders; they are more likely to vote and be activist and agents of social change. I hope to seen more women officially recognized and respected for their skills as policy makers and peace and community advocates. The work of these women is emblematic of their values, values I share along with women around the world. Their efforts reaffirms these values and encourages everyone to be conscious and critical of decision makers in our communities. It is my belief that articulating these values will empower women and mobilize women's rights activists.

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