The world celebrated International Women's Day (IWD) March 8 with the global call to action:
#ChooseToChallenge, calling on all of us to forge a gender-equal world.
Kenya Works chooses to challenge inequality every day. We marked the month of March as Women's Month to celebrate women's achievements, raise awareness against bias and take action for equality.
Read on to learn the highlights of the month's events!
Celebrating the Far-Reaching Benefits of Women's Employment with the Kenya Works Makini Pad Production Team
Kenya Works Makini Pad Initiative employs 34 women in the production of our renowned pads, supplying 25,000 girls with reusable sanitary pads and Menstrual Hygiene Management education every year. We gathered with the team on IWD to celebrate their contributions.
"The team shared experiences, cheering each other and giving out testimonies on how their work has strengthened them economically and personally," said Benjamin Makori, Kenya Works social worker. "With each day's work, this team lifts girls across our country, supporting dignity, self-esteem and securing futures with every Makini Pad and hygiene talk we deliver. We wanted to honor that contribution," he said.
Women's economic empowerment is central to realizing women's rights and gender equality. And, the benefits of women's employment extend well beyond women and girls. It is a central tenant of country empowerment in developing economies.
Psycho-social Support for Homa Bay Girls
Taking action for equality is a daily activity for educators. The extended at-home learning situation in Homa Bay prompted Kenya Works Consultant Kenedy Omundi to focus on girls' psychosocial support this month for the girls in the Kenya Works scholarship programs in his region. "I was deeply concerned about deteriorating level of performance and happiness and was on a mission to find out why," Kenedy says.
Together with his colleague Cathy Osiro, a psychosocial counselor, they scheduled a day to gather the girls to talk as a group then and provide individual counseling sessions. "By close of the day, the girls opened up and narrated their ordeals ranging from sexual advances and social issues inhibiting their ability to study well at home," he said.
As a result, Kenedy has worked with families to guarantee safety at home and arranged for a group learning environment while schools are not in session. "They will now be taking their studies at Moriah Resource Centre where Kenya Works has put up a library for the scholars. I have undertaken to monitor closely the scholars to ensure their safety by initiating dialogue with the people they live with. During the holiday we will have more of such talk," he added.
Lifting Women of the Gataka and Kware Communities with a Focus on "Me Time"
Miale ya Tumaini hosted events for women in Gataka and Kware, the two communities the center serves.
"We chose to celebrate IWD by looking at our own attitudes and beliefs, choosing to challenge ourselves so we may challenge inequalities out there," said Diana Wambui, executive director at Miale ya Tumaini.
"On an ordinary day, most women in our communities rise early to prepare children for school, warm leftover food for breakfast if there is any, walk to the next construction site to look for casual work, then hurry home to make supper. They fetch water from the vendors or from the river especially now that the road is under construction and piped water is disconnected. This is the story day in and day out."
The events encouraged women to take time for reflection and self-care -- to rejuvenate and refill -- in order to aspire and inspire.
Kenya Works Community Works Holds Workshop on Positive Parenting
& Parenting as Partners in Nyando
Organized at the request of past participants, Kenya Works Community Works returned to Nyando to deliver a 3-day human rights-based workshop.
KWCW is an ongoing program taking action for equality by teaching skills that reduce domestic violence through partner communication, positive parenting and building community support for changing norms.