Kwale: Tusahau Tofauti Za Kidini Uwiano Uimarike

As the world commemorates the 16 days of activism, an international campaign to challenge violence against women and girls which happens from the 25th of November to the 10th of December, the Kwale Women of Faith launched their network and held a free medical Camp. IRCK under the project of “Freedom of Religion and Belief” has been supporting activities in Kwale County for the last one year.This project seeks to increase respect and protection of religious minorities by strengthening, sensitization and connecting duty bearers to claim at both county and national levels. This was re-emphasized by the IRCK chairman Fr. Mutie in his speech, ‘despite the differences in scriptures, people are confronted by the same problem that only can be solved by joining forces’. Miriam Khasbai one of the Executive members of the Kwale Women of Faith said parents must make sure children go to Madrasa, churches, temples and other schools to learn religion better. She said not teaching children from the young age affects their morals later as adults.  “The scenarios of people accusing and fighting over belief issues are actually caused by insufficient data,” she said, adding that everyone should study and be tolerant of each other’s religious beliefs.

A procession led by ACK Kwale brass band matched for 3KM through the town to Ukunda grounds from the chief’s camp. The People from all walks of life took advantage of the free medical camp which was in partnership with Teens Watch and Afya Pwani. The Teen Watch Centre is a community based organization that was registered in 2002 by the ministry of gender, sports and social services. Over 14 nurses from the Kwale County government, Afya Pwani and Teen Watch volunteered for the activity and saw over 40 people get tested and screened for cancer. “The turnout was good, we had more women than men come in for the cancer screening’, said one of the nurses. The free medical camp entailed cancer screening, family planning, HIV test and counseling.

“We should use the platforms that we have to campaign and advocate for the elimination of all forms of violence against women”

The Kwale Women of Faith Network Chairlady advocated for women rights. Thanked each of the women for the role they played in fighting for the rights of women. “We should use the platforms that we have to campaign and advocate for the elimination of all forms of violence against women”, said Emmaculate Sharon Chairlady Kwale Women of Faith Network. The country has been experiencing a wave of violence which has seen women being abused and violated, which the IRCK chairman asked men to add their voice in the fight for women’s rights. He said it was a worrying trend that is being witnessed in the country where there are constantly stories of women being victimized, abused or murdered. He said that we need to go back to our morals.

The Kwale Women of Faith network has raised possible solutions to issues that face women in Kwale County like creation of motivation forums and capacity building workshops in order to build confidence and empower women, creation of women platforms to advocate for their issues, encouraging young girls to complete their education for a better future, being more vocal in fighting for the rights of others in the community, having open dialogue with community leaders and national and county government on creating more job opportunities and access to funds and entrepreneurial opportunities and continuous civic education on platforms for public participation. Religious leaders need to be more proactive in guarding against misinterpretation of scripture and radicalization and have more interfaith dialogue on religious tolerance.

By Mary N. Ndulili

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