Silence isn’t helping
My personal story is drawn from my experience working in the field of development and it goes thus;
July 2011 to July 2012 I was volunteering with a network organization (North West Association of Development Organizations (NWADO) with over 50 member CSOs. In experience and best practice sharing sessions, these organizations will share challenges their beneficiaries face and what solutions they were bringing to them.
They will talk about deteriorating conditions under which children schooled, limited classrooms and teachers with very poor sanitary conditions, women suffering because they hadn’t the right to own land and how micro-credits given to these women improved living standards for their families, high rate of HIV/AIDS among women because of ignorance, illiteracy and polygamy just to name a few. But the unfortunate thing is these stories ended in the experience sharing sessions; you couldn’t find these stories online. Then I started thinking of a possibility of having an online platform where these challenges and best practices could be shared. This is when my quest for online reporting began.
October 2012 I started work with Community Initiative for sustainable Development (COMINSUD) as Project Coordinator for Democracy and Empowerment of Women program. The program which started since 2003 has created Local Governance centers (LGCs) in 27 sub-divisions of the North West Region and hopes to extend. Within this program, members of the LGCs are expected to identify, monitor and report human rights violation issues within their communities.
February 12 to early March 2013 I was out visiting LGCs to follow – up on the implementation of their action plans. In their reports you find very annoying cases; girls repeatedly raped by relatives and neighbors, girls whose parents aborted their baby without their concern, Maltreatment of widows, (denied the right to re-marry and forced to marry husband’s brother, had to sleep on the floor for months, not permitted to go out for a whole year after which in most cases property is seized and can’t be justified because they lack marriage certificates).
When I came back I said to myself some things need to change and silence wasn’t going to do it. So I started thinking of a way to get these stories out to the world. Knowing that I couldn’t do it alone, I started a Young women Leadership forum which I hope to take to all sub – divisions of the Region and choosing young girls because they are the most vulnerable. Through this program I intend to train young women as peer educators and on using the internet most especially blogs and facebook to tell their personal and community stories and have these stories linked to more reliable and international platforms. So I started my search, then I came across World pulse and the program Voices of the Future and I said to myself this is an opportunity to get my dream come true, to break the silence so I applied and I look forward to passing knowledge gained to these young women.