In Celebration of Herstory: Wangari Mathaai Day -Nairobi Update Day 3
I am sitting in a large conference room at UN headquarters in Gigiri, Kenya. It is 20 minutes to the hour of 10am, and the space is all set to celebrate herstory of a phenominal woman, Wangari Mathaai. The history of Kenya cannot be separated from this female larger than life heroine who sacrificed her entire ernegies to save flora and fauna in the country, but mostly also, to prove to the denying world that woman is able to set and press for transformative agenda. On my way from the hotel I had the honour to strike a conversation with Harmony Amenya, the Greenbelt appointed driver who transported me and some of the women delegates in my group to this venue. He pointed to me Karura forest, a lush green natural preserve in the city centre where Professor Wangari Mathaai planted five million trees, and boldly stood naked in protest against the Moi government's will to cut down trees to build a 57 storey building. Professor Mathaai is to me a symbol of perseverance, courage and resistance, and of the success and honour that these will bring in the long run. I am greatly honoured to be part of this herstoric moment in Kenya. At a deeper level, that the Regional meeting I am attending coincides with this highly important herstoric moment is not a coincidence, but is of highly political significance. This for me is a reminder moment to learnt from for African women gathered here to push the agenda of stopping rape and gender violence in conflict. It speaks to the need for us to employ various strategies, both home grown and learnt from other spaces to confront our detractors. It also speaks to the need to never give up in the midst of the fight despite the threats, because only firm feet and strong hands can collectively stop a menacing river. We are indeed faced with concrete living testimony of the beauties of embracing the challenge to strategically forego our personal comforts and boldly stand to score for the gains of the collective. The women's delegation is today going to undertake advocacy visits to their respective embassies in Nairobi to push for the Stop Rape and Violence Campaign. Good luck women, and may the undying spirit of Wangari Mathaai go infront of you to guide you, and also behind you to protect you.