As I descended down to Lodwar Town, I can tell you for a fact I had no idea what to expect. All I had to go on were the statistics from the baseline we conducted and tales from other colleagues journeys. Before you ask me what I'm going on about, let me back up and start from the beginning.
Last year, Youth Agenda went on quest together with its partners Oxfam & FIDA-Kenya; as the 2/3 gender representation went raging on in the country, we sought to tackle the issue of underrepresentation of women through a different angle. We hoped to create space for the Kenyan woman to be represented through election; if women were elected to legislative seats we would not need to resort to back up plans to meet the constitutional requirement right? its brilliant! I know!
|Going over how to get equality in representation #VoteADada|
Now, your probably going to ask me why we are fretting about it if its as simple as that, or why are we even bothered with 2/3, heck I even get asked why we need to have women representation or better yet what have the women who are there done for us? I'm going to give you a few facts:
Fact #1- Women are equal to men insofar as leadership is concerned
Now before you gentlemen chant 'off with her head' let me break it down. Traditionally we have different roles- boys herd sheep, girls fix up the home, in 2016- We ALL go to school. We are both socialized the same way, put through the same system and line up side by side at graduation so, see? Equal.
Fact #2- According to the Kenya Bureau of Statistics, women in Kenya are approx. 60% of the population, I think that alone warrants some form of representation where decisions are being made.
Fact #3- In Kenya, 93.7% of men vs. 6.3% have been elected since Independence! That's 2,115 men against 142 women.
Fact #4- I have never, not once been asked why should I vote for a man (as opposed to a woman). I am a firm believer that we should vote for a politician man or woman based on what they can do for me and my community- tricky in this Kenya, I know but still I hold firm to that belief. However if in doubt and you truly want to compare please feel free to check out Mzalendo to find out what your current elected & nominated members of parliament have been upto.
Back to Lodwar, So we have this campaign to get women elected #VoteADada which we launched in Nairobi back in August, now we were in Lodwar to launch in Turkana county. For those of you who know about Turkana politics, you know its not very gender balanced: There are NO women elected in Turkana county, No MCAs, No Senators, No Constituency MPs, No Governor, Nothing! The only person left to represent the women of Turkana is the County Women Representative, and if you have followed legislative proceedings, then you know that 1 representative really not a lot to go on.
Based on that you probably think that the people of Turkana are fairly unreasonable right? I mean ONE woman? WRONG, as I mentioned earlier, we did a baseline in the county to find out they think of women in leadership- 85% of Turkana's are perfectly happy to vote for a woman! Well imagine THAT! For us this means the time is ripe to present women candidates to the electorate.
On my way to Lodwar, I thought to myself, I maybe we can find one or two women seriously willing to take up the challenge, I couldn't have been more wrong! i didn't find one or two... I found 80! 80 women willing to step forward and represent their people and provide sound, good leadership. I must say my mind was blown... and listening to these women I couldn't help but think someone should shine a spotlight on these women and amplify their voices because we could all learn a lot from them.
|80 Women Aspirants in Turkana|
Their resilience, and hope & dreams for their community is a testament that women too can provide good leadership, and the burden for change they carry is akin to a mothers hope and dreams for their child.
The women of Turkana have pledged to #VoteADada, will you vote for them?
|Turkana Women Aspirants|