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INTERSECT COALITIONS

KENYA

" There is a power within each of us that will reveal the truth should you ask for it."


- Bartholomew, Reflections of an Elder Brother

On a first visit to Kenya Cookie Edwards and Sally Fisher held a Coalition Building Session in Nairobi. We were hosted by Equality Now and UN Habitat who invited organizations dealing with HIV/AIDS and Violence Against Women and Girls. The rudimentary working of the Nairobi Area Intersect Coalition was adopted and a Task Team organized. After several meeting a strategy for the way forward and plans for initial activities are being designed. Keep watching this spot for more information.

From World YWCA : Real Life Stories from Across Kenya on the Challenges Faced by Young Women and Girls as far as HIV  Prevention is concerned :

Story 1 : She was only nine and doing a kind deed to a neighbor, but that didn't matter to her attackers. In September 2003 Mary Wangui came home from School and decided to draw water for an elderly woman in Waguthu village, Kiambu District of Kenya. That was the last time she was seen alive. Two days after she went missing her badly mutilated body was discovered in a nearby coffee plantation. Mary's father was the first to see her body when she was discovered. "Her clothes were torn and her mouth had been gagged with a large piece of cloth. Her nose and ears were stuffed with coffee berries, Says Mary's mother. Mary had been assaulted from both the front and the back and her private parts were completely mutilated. One of her arms was also broken. Mary's mother was unable to take in what she saw, she called her neighbors who went for the suspect (a known drug addict and his nephew with reputation of chasing young girls and boys in the village and behaving inappropriately with them) they were craving for his blood but the police arrived faster and arrested the man.

Story 2 : "My husband had just inherited his late brother's widow. He had died of AIDS. I talked to a friend of mine, a counselor who advised me to ask him to use a condom or abstain “ Says Ms. Otenyo, who is now estranged from her husband. "My husband would not hear of it, he accused me of unfaithfulness, beat me up badly and raped me."

Story 3 : 12 Year old Margaret was removed from school and forced to under go FGM, her schooling stopped from that day as she was then given out to a school teacher as a house help. This is what Margaret directly reported -"One morning I came out of the bathroom to find the teacher's husband waiting for me at the door, he had claimed to be sick and did not go to work, he grabbed me and took me to his bed room where he raped me" at this point she broke out in tears... "Later, I was taken to the hospital but only after I promised not to tell the doctor the truth. I lied that a boyfriend had raped me. The lie haunted me and I later told the activists who contacted the federation of women lawyers, the man was then jailed.

Agnes Pareyio (center) is organizing an Intersect Coalition in the Narok area. Narok is a town in the midst of splendid rural scenery. Here the needs are entirely different from those in the city and so women here will have an opportunity to craft their own Intersect Coalition.

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