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Our Budget My Body My Choice

Stories matter. Many stories matter. Stories have been used to dispossess and to malign. But stories can also be used to empower, and to humanize.

- Chimamanda Adichie –

Many a time I have always wondered aloud silently about where my life is headed. A decade ago I was a young teen mother with no dreams whatsoever of reaching my potential and even the change that I see around. Tubal ligation was the only way out for me and it took a very elderly nurse at Marie Stopes Clinic in Nairobi to dissuade me from taking that crucial step at a stage in my life where many SRHR Advocates would term as “Child Bearing Age”

Yesterday I turned 30 years old amid a series of workload and programme activities that had been long overdue. My joy is that I was able to empower and share knowledgeable transferrable skills with over 30 participants from Lwala Community in North Kamagambo where am currently stationed. At 30 Years, Edith empowered 30 community members with budgeting and customer care skills. What I learned from my “Customers/ Students” as they actively participated in the training and challenged each other at plenary sessions made me realize entrepreneur skills still influence our social lives especially rural women in budgetary decision making processes.

I am still a single mother at 30, yes I brood enough times as to when I will be able to add another child in my nest. African society literally looks down upon an unmarried mother who at the same time continues to bear children with different men. Aren’t the choices I make in life mine? As a woman am I not motherly enough to have another child just because am husbandless? I have been in the dating scene for a while now and unfortunately I tend just not to find that right man that can be involved in raising a child wholly in an enabling environment that can provide a haven of a “normal family” as society dictates. Am at crossroads as to whether I shall achieve my goal of having a baby come late 2013.

My budgetary processes are quite clear in relation to my basic needs. I get to pay bills in time , save as I desire, pay debts that I have incurred in due course, join investment clubs as well as buy that which I fancy without being limited by another person. Unlike the rural un empowered and vulnerable woman who is given pocket change by a drunkard husband to feed a dozen children and himself in the next thirty days of a month. This woman is literally raped in her matrimonial bed since she was paid for “Bride Price/ Dowry” hence copulation is no longer a sweet thing but a burden with terms and conditions of not getting pregnant. Is this really fair? How can a vulnerable woman be denied to utilize family planning methods easily accessible to her from the local health centre say she is exercising her Sexual Reproductive Health Rights?

Indeed, sexual well-being is integral to human development, underpinning all the major health and development goals. As rates of HIV infection continue to rise, and women’s and men's sexual and reproductive ill-health threatens international development targets, there has never been a more pressing need to make positive connections between sexuality, health and human rights.

Close your eyes and spend some time thinking about some of the stereotypical conclusions experienced in your life, community and those close to you and then set out to learn more about them. Help them make a very conclusive positive change that will propel their lives to the next level.

Let you and I be the voice of this woman that has not been involved at household level to participate in budgetary processes. Share ideas and pointers on how we can break this cycle of impunity imposed on women by their dearly beloved ones.

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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jap21's picture

Hi Imbolokonye

Congratulations! I am awed at your self esteem, your power, your honor and of course, your inner strength.

I do not see a reason why you should get married or bear another child, if that is not what your want.

I am guessing you have a boyfriend right now, and let me tell you, many times it is better to have a boyfriend who cares for you but lives away from your home, so that he does not get to offend or make your kid unhappy.

There are very few man who will open their lives to making a good living with their wife's prior kids. Do not think it is impossible, but if you can, stay away from giving a stepfather to your child. When your child is grown up and leaves for the university, you will have enough time to bring a man into your life without hurting your child : ))

Live it up girl! You are lucky to have everything your need covered by yourself, so don´t waste your time trying to decide wether you should do what society says or not. (Of course you shouldn´t, hehe).. Be a little selfish, make yourself be the happiest you can be.

Cheers!

Jackie

Jacqueline Patiño FundActiva
Tarija - Bolivia
South America
www.jap21.wordpress.com

amirchima's picture

Stereotypes

Often time we find ourselves on life paths that do not represent the real us. We essentially do what is socially acceptable and think not only it is right, but the only way or the best way. I love how you question what is right vs. wrong for you. The beauty is there is no one answer. Each of us has the potential to look inside and make that decision independently. Thank you so much for illuminating this. It takes a mature view to see this and often can take time to develop this outlook. You are very lucky to have such perspective at such a young age.

Awareness is a tool that can be used to bring about such change. Thank you for making us all more aware!

Pushpa Achanta's picture

Your story

Dear friend,

Thanks for your candour. I agree that every person's body and life's choices and decisions are her/his basic human right. But as most are denied these, we must assist them as much as possible.

Let's continue claiming our entitlements, exercising our will, fulfilling our responsibilities, realizing our aspirations and supporting those who are doing or struggling to do the same, without hurting others.

Love and best wishes,
Pushpa

binapatel33's picture

Congrats

Dear Imbolokonye

Your courage is powerful and you are the hope for so many women in your community and around the world who face similar issues. I can only imagine what you go through as a woman and single mother. However, your desire to succeed, to bring hope and happiness is very clearly presented. You are a great role model for your child. Keep up the good work!

Bina

Kind Regards,
Bina Patel
hc Mediate, LLC
www.hcmediate.com

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