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.