Every year on March 8, the world recognizes and celebrates women empowerment and gender equality as part of the International Day of Women. This year's theme, "Pledge for Parity," sought to mobilize both men and women to contribute to efforts to help women and girls achieve their ambitions, advance gender-balanced leadership, respect and value differences and develop more inclusive and flexible cultures. Global Peace Women is committed to uplifting the innate value of women and their unique contribution to positive social transformation.
Prior to the commemorative day, on March 5, 2016, Global Peace Women Kenya in collaboration with St. Thaddeus Child Care Society marked the occasion with a gathering of 50 women and 40 teenage girls in the Komarock slums. The event was attended by 15 mentors and speakers from Peace Ambassadors Kenya, the Global Education Fund and the Association of Media Women in Kenya (AMWIK).
The event engaged the women in discussions on their unique role in peacebuilding and development from the family to community level, highlighting feminine values as a strength to contribute to social transformation. In her remarks, Ms. Joyce Nyaruai from AMWIK challenged the women to take up more leadership roles in their communities. “The Kenya constitution acknowledges the need for gender parity and gives room for women involvement in leadership. It is now upon us to embrace opportunies and support each other to remain effective in our positions of leadership,” she said.
The teenage girls had an open forum with the mentors, who guided them to dream big and nurture good morals and values as a foundation for success. Ms. Misco Mungai, coordinator of Global Peace Women Kenya, encouraged the girls to ask questions on areas they seek guidance on. “We are providing you a platform to receive guidance on how to achieve your set goals in life as you pass through adolescence. I encourage you to take advantage of it and create a good foundation for yourselves, guided by universal values and principles," she said.
The girls discussed topics including self-esteem, reproductive health, adolescence and relationships, career choices and talent identification among others. I learned to base my choices on values and beliefs rather than what my peers are doing or what seems fashionable,” reflected Elizabeth, a student at St. Thaddeus School.
All participants received grooming and toiletry items donated by Global Peace Women International and the Chandaria Foundation. As an ongoing effort, Global Peace Women Kenya will engage the girls in mentorship with university students to support their character development. The women will be guided through a self-evaluation process using the Poverty Stoplight Tool to identify weaknesses and empower them to transform their families and communities.