The story of the Phoenix is fascinating. As the story goes, the mythical bird is glorious, beautiful and awesome. One of its kind. It lives eternally, going through a never-ending cycle of death and rebirth. When the phoenix grows old, 1000 years, it builds a special nest. It then stands in the nest and is consumed by fire. From the ashes a new phoenix is born, and from those ashes, a fledgling phoenix rises – renewed and reborn to live another lifetime. Just like the Phoenix, COVAW’s herstory is a depiction of the growth and progress the organization has and continues to go through in this journey to end violence against women.
The Coalition On Violence Against Women is a registered non-profit making women’s rights non- governmental organization. COVAW was founded in 1995 as a response to the silence of the Kenyan society to addressing violence against women. COVAW works to promote and advance women’s human rights through working towards a society free from all forms of violence against women.
COVAW was founded in 1995. in a workshop that identified two critical areas that no organization was dealing with- Violence against Women and the lack of women in decision making processes and that there was a need to form a Coalition that would address the same. This saw the birth of the Coalition on Violence against Women, which is now a registered non- governmental organization with the Government of Kenya.
COVAW was established as a membership organization. The membership was drawn from professional and individual women and men who are committed to the eradication of violence against women and the advancement of women’s human rights in general. At the time, COVAW strived to offer and effectively manage personalized services on a voluntary basis to it’s beneficiaries in addition to the services provided by COVAW.
The main aim from the start was moving the issue of violence against women from the private to the public domain- “Breaking the Silence” on Violence against Women. Since inception, COVAW has continued to be instrumental in placing violence against women as a crime and a human rights violation in the public domain and has successfully spearheaded the 16 days of Activism campaign towards women having the right to be free from violence, the right to self-defense and the right to state protection. COVAW then moved to the next level and is currently addressing the root causes of violence against women by focusing on breaking the cycle of violence against women. COVAW believes that people have the capacity to learn and change their attitudes towards women. COVAW (K) beneficiaries are therefore women and girls.
Our mission is to build social movements opposed to and committed to eradicating violence against women. A greater part of this work includes strengthening the voice and impact of women leaders as champions of change at the community level, linking the local to the national/ regional policy processes and ensuring women access to services and justice in as far as ending violence against women is concerned.
The clarion call “Movement building for social transformation” for COVAW is a major rallying call for the organization and its prominence is reflected throughout our current strategic plan 2012-2017. Our focus on building cutting edge campaign strategies and the continued work to re-invigorate community activism, ensure women access justice, be a knowledge well on matters of VAW and use social media to build a solid platform for those engaged in work to end VAW means that there are opportunities to expand our engagement with key constituencies, to further sharpen our analysis and vision of possibilities for COVAW’s strategic role in the coming years.
Our Theory of Change is that through working in partnership with community based organizations a critical mass will develop and work towards the eradication of violence against women. Using rights -based approach, COVAW believes that women are violated and vulnerable to violence because of unequal power relationships in the society. Therefore through building effective partnerships with women led community based organizations violence against women will be eradicated.
Based on these our core Values are:
COVAW’s four strategic objectives are as follows:
We are recognized as a bridge-builder, for our uniqueness in addressing our core business, and as responsive and agile to strategic priorities of our core constituencies.
As we move into this important and new phase in COVAW’s history, the organization itself has significantly grown, matured and consolidated. With over 20 fulltime staff, COVAW is set to test and model innovative approaches to feminist organizational strengthening and recognize that there is room for improvement and learning.
Please join us in this journey of continuous efforts to ensure that violence against women is recognized as a human rights violation and a policy issue that require serious attention from all.