What We Do
Our 1-year UNSCR 1325 ‘People2People’ initiative in the Rift Valley, Kenya in 2010-2011following the Post Election Violence in 2007/2008 trained 20 women leaders to become Forgiveness and Reconciliation Counselors. It enabled grassroots women in the communities most at risk (i) to reach across party and tribal lines to secure peace and security; (ii) to play a decisive role in conflict mitigation; (iii) to grow the inner development to help individuals and groups re-humanize each other, foster empathy and mutual understanding, build trust and create healthy relationships, as a basis for long term reconciliation. 20 rural women activists, each conducted their own community peace intervention project in Nakuru, Kericho, Borabu, Sotik, Kisii, Burnt Forest, Mt Elgon, Pokot and Turkana, and were assisted with training and mentoring about fear management, forgiveness, project planning and accountability, and media strategy. The community impact was considerable, with 5000 confirmed beneficiaries and independently verifiable outcomes. The women leaders trained still substantially contribute to the cohesion and security of their communities. Some of the trainees help us in our training programmes, others have become Board members of Feminenza Kenya.
Honouring ourselves through updating understandings of gender roles and responsibilities
The fifth Sustainable Development Goal for the United Nations and its members is Gender Equality.
Our primary aim is to establish gender respect: to honour the strength, richness and nobility that is inherent to both genders; responsible partnerships. There is no value in assaulting communities with facts and figures about the benefits of equality and better gender relations. Our core work is help men and women to pause, update perceptions to a point where both genders are cherished; realising that understanding and partnership is more effective than continuing ignorance and brutality in the long term.
As one example: In 2006, NGOs in Kisii in Western Kenya, with Feminenza’s assistance, conducted a programme in certain villages to cause men to review all of the tasks undertaken within the daily activities of their villages, and to identify (for each task) whether it was men or women who had been required historically to undertake those tasks. At the end of the process the men realised that the women carried a much greater burden; they responded by agreeing to handle more of the farming burden, and taking seriously for the first time the need for a well in the village, to ease the load of the women. There was a direct reduction in rape, violence in the home, alcohol abuse and juvenile delinquency following these sessions.
In 2009 to 2011, following the post-election violence in 2008 (Kenya), UN WOMEN asked us to select, train and develop 20 women leaders who then went onto establish peace, foster restorative justice, facilitate reconciliation in the 17 communities more impacted by the post election violence. The women reached across party and tribal lines to secure peace and security; played a decisive role in conflict mitigation; helped individuals and groups re-humanize each other; fostered empathy and mutual understanding, formed platforms which sustained healthy inter-community relations; a basis for long term reconciliation. The community impact was considerable, with 5000 confirmed beneficiaries and independently verifiable outcomes. The alumni from this project continue today to assist with cohesion and security of other communities in East Africa. Read our report: Feminenza’s Forgiveness and Reconciliation Counsellor Training Pilot (2010-2011) in Kenya, report to UN WOMEN.