By Naomi Yakawich
Nearly 400 people participated in an intensive program on March 21 and 22 to advance the role of women in peacebuilding and promoting moral and innovative leadership capacities among students in Kenya.
Led by the women’s division of Global Peace Foundation (GPF) Kenya, the Peace Education and Service Leadership Training programs in Nairobi supplied school uniforms and sanitary napkins for young women and families under the Peace Begins in the Home Campaign. The campaign, initiated at the 2017 Global Peace Convention, uplifts the value of women in the home and their leadership in the community.
Through dialogue training and mobilizing community members in service opportunities, the leadership training program helped women and young girls identify the skills necessary to organize community projects and managing local resources to address the needs of their community. Pointing out the social and gender norms that devalue women, participants considered steps that needed to be taken to strengthen efforts providing leadership opportunities for women and girls. As a result of this dialogue, it became apparent that girls were in need of menstrual hygiene products and education. Sanitary napkins were collected and distributed in order to promote menstrual hygiene and it also allowed young girls to continue receiving their education at school. The outcome of the program saw an immediate increase of attendance of young girls at school simply because they were now given the proper and necessary products to excel in life and in their education.
Rebecca Wanga, a mother of five and a widow from Embakasi, shared her experience with the Peace Begins in the Home Campaign:
"My daughter passed very well in her KCPE (engineering) exams and I didn’t have money to take her to secondary school. A neighbor told me about Global Peace Women and how the organization was empowering girls and women. She offered to accompany me to the offices so that I could share my story. I was well received by the people at the office. After presenting my problem, the GPW director offered to admit my daughter at St. Thaddeus School-Komarock. She also offered to pay for her school fees through money raised from the sale of handcrafts. I’m really overjoyed because my daughter can now pursue her educational dream. I’ve also attended GPW meetings and I’m really empowered. I volunteer to assist other women going through challenges in my neighborhood. I believe as women, we can solve many problems that face us by coming together."
The Peace Begins in the Home Campaign helps women and girls recognize their unique value as moral and innovative leaders in their families and community. Trainings, workshops and meetings will be ongoing for women in the campaign to provide tools and resources for them to create healthy environments for their children and larger society.