COVAW is recognised by Ford Foundation.
On Friday 26th April, COVAW was selected from amongst hundreds of grantees in Kenya to host the new Ford Foundation’s director of Gender Rights and Equality, M/s Surina Khan who oversees the Ford Foundation's work in three global human rights initiatives namely;
- Protecting Women's Rights
- Reducing HIV/AIDS Discrimination and Exclusion
- Advancing LGBT Rights.
During her visit to COVAW M/s Khan was impressed by the expansion within the organisation as well as the issues that the organisation is currently addressing in its quest to eradicate all forms violence against women in the Kenyan society. M/s Khan was taken through the exponential growth that COVAW has seen in the one and a half years under the helm of the current Executive Director Saida Ali.
One of the successful projects funded by Ford Foundation is the online platform, a tool that uses crowd mapping to track violence against women in every part of Kenya. This tool was used during the just concluded March 4th General election, as a way of reporting cases of women’s rights violations as elections in Kenya have become new sites of violence.
In the violence that followed the announcement of the disputed 2007/2008 presidential election, there was little documentation in terms of the magnitude of women’s rights abuse and the gaps in accessing crucial services as well as justice. Available data has been inconsistent and unreliable. To mitigate this, COVAW launched the platform as a credible and reliable source of data to map hot spots and prevent further violation of women’s rights. This information has been used to ensure that in case of a violation, the survivors are directed to the available service providers in their area. These services include the police, hospitals where they immediately get the critical Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP), short term antiretroviral treatment to reduce the likelihood of HIV infection after potential exposure, especially during rape and psychosocial counselling.
The fact that Ford Foundation selected COVAW to host M/s Khan for lunch is an affirmation that the organisation is clearly on the right trajectory towards creating a world where women’s rights are respected, promoted and protected by all. We are proud that Ford Foundation recognises the tremendous work that COVAW has been doing in Kenya for the past 20 years.
As an organisation we value the partnership and look forward to a mutually enriching relationship with and Ford Foundation.
The state of the Nation on March 8, 2013
The Coalition on Violence Against women (COVAW) would like to commend the country on the peaceful manner in which they have conducted themselves in the run up to, during and after the general election. Today marks the International Women’s Day, a day when the world honours, hails and celebrates the economic, political and social achievements of women past, present and future. COVAW joins the rest of the world in congratulating the women who have worked tirelessly in ensuring that the gains we have made in involving women in the socio- economic and political processes are not rolled back. For all the work you have done, we hail you as our ‘sheroes’. However, today, 8th March 2013, is a sad day for Kenyan women.
First, the number of women that have been elected to the National Assembly has dropped by 27.3%. This is excluding the constitutionally provided space for forty seven (47) Women County Representatives who shall sit in the National Assembly. It is such a shame that our neighbours in Uganda and Rwanda, are way ahead in terms of women’s’ political participation yet Kenya is considered an economic 'giant' in the East African region.
We need acknowledge the attitudes which continue to propagate a belief that a woman does not deserve more than what she has apparently been ‘given’. Women are recognized as an essential part of any nation’s governance and leadership structures: hence the provisions within the Kenyan Constitution that ensure women leadership within the Parliament. However, a recent advisory opinion delivered by the Supreme Court of Kenya stated that the two-thirds gender consideration within Kenyan democratic structures would be subject to ‘progressive realization’. This presented a huge draw-back in the struggle to ensure women representation in governing bodies and institutions. It cannot be lost that such a decision had a huge impact on attitudes and beliefs of political parties and the general public. This situation acquiesced the current situation whereby only sixteen (16) women have been elected to the National Assembly.
Historically, gender constructs have subjugated women to second class citizens; women being deemed undeserving of being in key leadership positions. In society, women have continually been denied equal access to education and financial assistance; a matter which has crippled their ability to participate in governance and democracy. This is why all Kenyans need to embrace the concept of gender equity which has born the advent of affirmative action.
Second, we are all witnesses to a reality wherein there are no elected women senators and governors. This surely cannot be condoned by men, women, girls and boys in our Republic. There needs to be coordinated action and engagement of all stakeholders in order to ensure that this current reality is not replicated in the next general elections or thereafter.
Nevertheless, we strive to focus on several positives on this International Women’s Day. We hail and applaud the many Kenyan women like Martha Karua, Charity Ngilu, Jacinta Mwatela, Agnes Pareiyo and Esther Passaris who offered themselves for various elective posts. The courage to push onward till the end in a political field still deeply rooted in patriarchy is commendable. We continue in the struggle.
Survivors of Sexual and Gender Based Violence in the 2007 post election violence sue the Kenyan government
On 20th February, Eight survivors of sexual violence committed in the wake of Kenya’s December 2007 general elections took the government to court over its alleged failure to protect them or investigate the crimes committed against them.
COVAW's Executive Director Saida Ali was interviewed by the media present at the Hgh Court when the petition was being filed. She explained that the survivors are suing the government for non-action both in terms of protecting people from violence in 2007.
Here are some of the photos of the event.
The Coalition on Violence against Women (COVAW) spearheaded the ‘One Billion Rising’ activities in Nairobi on 14th February, 2013. The event took place at Central Park, Nairobi. 197 countries in the world participated in the global event to raise awareness on the rising cases of Sexual and Gender Based Violence across the globe. The global event brought together One billion men and women, young and old who danced and rose up to demand an end to violence against women.