RWPL EMBRACES “SMART GROWTH” APPROACH

As a social justice organization, RWPL has over the years grown to spread her wings beyond an anticipated capacity. From a small organization operating in a backyard room to an increasingly expanding NGO in the Kenyan context, we endeavor to embrace a universally recognized organizational development approach in tandem to changing needs and demands. “Smart Growth” is the tool we have chosen as a developmental and discovery model that will enable us to benchmark our capacities now and for the future to achieve a balanced and sustainable growth in terms of resources and strategic influence. With assistance from one of our partners, Hivos, RWPL staff and board members went through a 2-day organizational self-assessment workshop on 3rd and 4th September 2013 to reflect on key organizational capacities as well as the life stage of the organization and were all able to share insights on their accelerators (strengths) and inhibitors (weaknesses). At the end a forward looking action plan was developed and will be implemented with assistance from external independent consultant from Hivos.

The facilitating consultants Ellen Sprenger and Sarah Forde are welcomed to the RWPL office by Rhoda Litoroh

RWPL board and staff pose for a group photograph after the training

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NATIONAL PEACE SUMMIT ON GBV

The National Peace Summit was finally held in Nairobi between 29th and 30th August 2013 at the Safari Park Hotel Nairobi, bringing together over 500 delegates drawn from peace platforms across Kenya with the running theme: "From Private to Public domain: The Gender Based Crisis in Kenya". Key speakers included women senators to professionals drawn from a variety of backgrounds around GBV in Kenya. Survivors of GBV also shared their experiences during the forum. RWPL was represented by a high calibre team from Nandi, Trans Nzoia, Bungoma (Mt. Elgon) and Uasin Gishu. On Day One participants discussed major regional peace and GBV issues which were highlighted during the national forum on Day Two. In summary, representatives of county peace platforms under the auspices of PIK, CSOs and actors in GBV sctor identified critical actions to push forward a comprehensive approach in transitioning the GBV agenda from the public to public domain to:

  1. strengthen GBV advocacy interventions and partnerships among GBV actors across the Counties;
  2. develop a database on reported GBV issues in Counties to track trends and inform policy making in the County governments;
  3. declare GBV a National Disaster to compel the national government to compile research and data, establish a national GBV fund;
  4. establish rescue and rehabilitation centers;
  5. lobby for enforcement of existing laws addressing GBV across County governments

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North Rift Delegates at the National Summit in Safari Park Hotel Nairobi

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GBV AS NATIONAL AGENDA: TOWARDS THE NATIONAL PEACE SUMMIT

The PIK Programme funded by USAID through IRC in partnership with RWPL has been running for one year one and draws to a close. Peace Platforms have been established in 4 Counties of Trans Nzoia, Uasin Gishu, Nandi and Bungoma (Mt. Elgon). Between 13th and 16th August 2013 RWPL convened special County Peace Platforms (SCPP) to prepare for the National Peace Summit slated for August 29th to 31st, 2013 in Nairobi. The SCPPs discussed the milestones achieved, challenges encountered and prevailing priority gender-based violence (GBV) issues in the respective counties. The SCPPs were also important in lobbying respective County Governments to commit resources and County budgets towards GBV prevention and mitigation. These would form the basis for discussions at the NPS towards formulating a national agenda to tackle GBV.

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Bungoma County Rep. Hon. Kipkut addressing members at the Bungoma (Mt. Elgon) forum in Cheptais

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An administrator contributing during the Trans Nzoia SCPP in Kitale

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Uasin Gishu forum participants keenly follow proceedings in Eldoret

Thirteen women representatives attended the Nandi SCPP held in Kapsabet

Results-Based Organisational Strengthening: Contributing to Positive Change

RWPL staff capacity training forum on 4th and 5th July 2013 discussed integrity (Fraud and Procurement) an integral part on RWPL staff strengthening process aimed at sensitizing them on individual accountability not just at work but also in the endeavor to nurture a sense of responsible citizenship wherever they are. Staff defined fraud and their roles in identifying and dealing with it both within and outside working spheres. They also discussed more on best procurement practices based on practical examples in the organizations. RWPL has established policies hinged on standard operational procedurs (SOPs). The training was facilitated by a procurement expert consultant from CHF Kenya.

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Another significant activity took place on 2nd and 3rd July 2013 involving a pool of consultants appointed by USAID to develop a GBV monitoring and evaluation tool that will be used worldwide. As an organization, we are not only proud to be part and parcel of this process but also believe this process will is fundamental to adding value to the war against GBV and all forms of human rights abuses against women and children. The 2-day “GBV Toolkit Simulation Workshop” with RWPL on 2nd and 3rd July 2013 involved addressed planning for a results-based change; analyzed risks, threats, vulnerabilities, and capacities adapting theory of change; conducted a stakeholder analysis that involved designing an effective M&E framework; selecting and refining indicators and inputs into logframe matrix; identifying sources of data; adaption of situational analysis collection tool. The toolkit is currently being tested in Kenya, Malaysia and Ghana. RWPL staff and network representatives from peace platforms participated and as active partners and crusaders against GBV, we have no doubt that our contributions made a difference.

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Participants make contributions during GBV Toolkit simulation workshop in Eldoret

SYWP Chapters Exchange Tour to the North Rift

The final leg of the exchange programme between RWPL networks and the SYWP chapters took place between 23rd and 28th June 2013. A representation of 30 grassroots women drawn from the SYWP chapters toured various programmes starting with an orientation at the RWPL office. The visitors had a chance to visit Burnt Forest area to share resilience stories with 2007 post-election violence survivors and how RWPL had collaborated with various partners in bonding warring communities in the area through construction of a USAID funded peace market programme; USAID funded ICT/record management project at the Eldoret Law courts and RWPL collaboration through the functions of court users committee (CUC) in dealing with GBV; the Eldoret Education Centre to appreciate an agricultural empowerment programme; and Mt. Elgon where they had an opportunity to meet and interact with widows, ex-militia reformed groups and girl survivors during a focused group discussion. The visit enabled both RWPL and SYWP to exchange information regarding areas of strengths and weaknesses and how they can collaborate further in improving their lot.  

Jubilant women during the orientation meeting at the RWPL office at the start of the visit

A visit to the Burnt Forest Market to appreciate peace dividends

Hon. Charles Mbogoh, the Chief Magistrate at the Eldoret Law Court not only hosted the visitors at his chambers but also took time off in the afternoon to share more and field questions regarding the justice system and linkages among CUC partners in addressing GBV

Visitors being taken around the Eldoret Law Courts to appreciate the use of ICT in efficient running of the judiciary justice process

Attending a women’s bunge in Turbo to appreciate women’s empowerment and awareness raising

Sharing experiences with a GBV survivor at Cheptais in Mt. Elgon

We salute the Rural Women for the far they have come as an organization. We in SYWP have gained alot in terms of how we need to work and collaborate more with our chapters. The strength within the RWPL lies in its networks. We also appreciate their involvement in peace work in Burnt Forest. That must have been a challenge bringing warring communities together. Our chapters in Tana Delta can surely learn from that. Finally, we are also happy the CUC here is not only real but functional. This is one example we must emulate at the coast.

- Naima Achieng, Board and Founder Member, SYWP

USAID/IRC Partners Retreat: Reflecting on the Peace Agenda through the Peace Initiative Kenya (PIK) Programme

RWPL has partnered with the International Rescue Committee (IRC) under USAID funding in PIK programme through establishment of peace platforms in Nandi, Uasin Gishu, Trans Nzoia and Bungoma (Mt. Elgon) Counties. Peace platforms are convening bodies at county level representing gender based violence (GBV) and peace actors to dialogue, review, monitor and raise awareness at the community level  especially in the period before, during and after the March 4th General Elections in Kenya. This is in partnership with Peacenet, COVAW, Suati Ya Wanawake Pwani (SYWP), Well Told Stories, African Woman and Child (AWC) and FIDA. Major milestones in the programme include strengthened collaborations among various actors in tackling peace and GBV issues and the empowerment of community stakeholders in exposing and taking actions against emerging cases in GBV.

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Participants at the PIK Reflective retreat held in Mombasa between 18th to 22nd June to interrogate the gains, challenges and milestones of the programme.

We have only been talking about peace in Kenya in as far as elections are concerned. We need to pay more attention, however, in ensuring there is peace among women and peace in society prevails in order to deal completely with cases of GBV

- Jebiwot Sumbeiywo, IRC Chief of Party

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The peace story is incomplete until we have solved the constant problems of gender-based violence in society

- Joyce Muchena, PIK National Coordinator

 

Documentary on FGM Features at British Parliament

Recently an FGM documentary filmed by the RWPL in one of its areas of intervention was screened in the House of Lords in London in the British Parliament. The event was a big success as part of an international advocacy to fund raise towards awareness raising and sensitization at an international level. The project is implemented in partnership with TANA and has involved communities living in West Pokot and Mt. Elgon Counties of Kenya.
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Women Grassroots Network Exchange Visit to the Coast

RWPL sponsored 20 grassroots women to an exchange visit of the Coastal area. The exchange visit took place between 19th and 27th May 2013 and involved a visit to the Sauti Ya Wanawake Pwani Organization (SYWP). The three-pronged exchange objective was aimed at sharing experiences, challenges, best practices, areas of success and cross-learning from each other as part of strengthening women networks movement in interlinking the organizations through peer learning in areas of gender based violence. The elaborate programme involved visiting the SYWP chapters in Likoni and Taveta where they had a chance to discuss through focused group discussions, visiting economic empowerment programmes and reflective sessions on learning spheres. The RWPL network leaders were accompanied by RWPL staff and some local administrators from their areas.image

Orientation meeting with SYWP officials upon arrival at the Sai Rock Beach Resort

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Chief William Tarus of Kesses Location who accompanied the participants making his contribution

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Leah Sapan from East Baringo making her contribution at Likoni Dongo Kundu meeting image

Visiting an IGA in Taveta

This visit has been an eye opener to us upcountry. We have been able to exchange with our fellow women on issues affecting us moreso on GBV. WE have alot to learn in terms of dealing with this vice and are grateful to the PIK programme for enabling us to have such an excursion. We feel very empowered and motivated to continue with our work - Mrs. Batuli Juma, Bungoma (Mt. Elgon) Peace Platform

POKOT COUNTY WOMEN ASPIRANTS’ ROAD SHOW

RWPL in partnership with the UN Women is implementing the “Kina Mama Tuamke!” project under the gender, governance  programme (GGP III) that is aimed at promoting devolution by engaging women and youth in the changing political culture in Kenya. RWPL has provided platforms to enhance the visibility and raise the silent voices of local women in conflict situations. A road show campaign for 6 women aspirants was organized on 28th February 2013 during which the women candidates had a chance to meet potential voters in the three constituencies of Kacheliba, Kapenguria and Sigor. The road show incorporated all women candidates irrespective of their party/political affiliation and was aimed at introducing the women candidates to the voters in the respective areas and to promote and propagate harmony among the candidates towards a peaceful campaign.

Historic Commitment by Pokot Council of Elders in Supporting Women’s Empowerment and Leadership

In defying traditional stereotypes where women have not been recognized  in leadership, the Pokot Council of elders sitting at Makutano at the Gazeto Resort on 21st February 2013 broke away from tradition by endorsing six women aspirants and also in signing a petition pledging to continuously work with women now and in future. Sixty elders from Kacheliba, Kapenguria and Sigor led by their Chairman assured the women candidates of their support and thanked the RWPL and the UN Women for the unique and pioneering initiative to promote women’s empowerment in Pokot County. During the ceremony, all the women aspirants who turned up were given time to outline their candidature and what they intend to do in transforming Pokot County.

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Elders signing the historic petition

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Lizah Akinyi, RWPL Programme Officer explains details of the petition before the signing and below one of the aspirants promoting her agenda

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The Pokot community are late-comers in terms of development owing to misguided leadership, misplaced priorities and retrogressive culture. We welcome this idea to include our daughters in improving development through their participation in leadership and pledge to work in solidarity with them

A frequent update of our activities here at RWPL