Organizations in Kisumu County have teamed up to implement programs to curb violence against women during the electioneering period.
Women and young girls have been the hardest hit by aftermaths of election ill practices while those who have been courageous to vie for any political seat have been met with all kinds of violence.
Joseph Oduor, the founder and director for Leaders for Leaders Champion Organisation, Kisumu County said that few women have come out for leadership positions as most of them are still reluctant and fearful due to violence meted on them.
He said as an organization they are working with women in the region by developing their leadership skills, training them on how to speak like leaders to handle issues in the community.
“We tell the community that men have been tried and tested but its high time we include women in decision making,” he said,
Oduor insisted on working together as a country for peaceful elections and warned against leaders who fight and incite each other to escalate hate and violence.
He said that due to stigma against women aspirants, they have been facing a lot of challenges in advocating for women rights in the political arena
“Another challenge that women who want political positions face is lack of financial resources and as we know it is a major contribution to politics today, people vote for you when you give them something,” Oduor stated.
Leaders for Leaders’ Champions have come up with a forum dubbed husika whose aim is inclusivity and they use the forum to champion for peace during and after the electioneering period.
As an organization, they have elected a young woman as the project manager so as she interacts with other girls in schools and informal settlements, they can gain confidence.
Nancy Okoth, project manager at Plan International said the project is to amplify the voice of young women so that they can be given a chance to air their ideas and leadership.
Okoth said they are working with men in this project to support the girls and young women as in most instances of violence against women, the perpetrators tend to be men.
“We have put in place policies to ensure women rights are not violated as they campaign for certain positions and we trained law enforcers like the police on how to handle cases regarding violence against women,” Okoth confirmed
They have also sensitized and trained women and girls on how to actively participate in the election while staying safe.
Okoth reiterated that although they are advocating for women in leadership, most of these women are not educated and budgeting for issues concerning girls is challenging as inadequate funds are provided.
By Evangeline Mola