Youth Agenda Affirmative Action

Youth Agenda Affirmative Action

Monday, 31 October 2016


These are the chronicles of Anna and her published works. A humble, hardworking and innovative lady is born in a dysfunctional family that is characterized by violence, alcohol and lack of tender, loving care from her folks and siblings. Amidst all the chaos and drama that engulfed her environment, she found a guardian angel in school who offered her a shoulder to cry on whenever she was stressed due to the strange happenings at home. This guardian angel came to her in form of her class teacher, who in her own right, had investigated and found that her home was not a safe haven for Anna. She Intervened and decided to take the matter to the authorities, which saw the young Anna being taken from her home and then on, made a permanent home with her aunty, who took care of her until she attained a law degree in one of the most prestigious universities in Africa.
Anna, well aware of her background decides to delve in deep research and write, exploring the home environment, trying to explore whether kids are being taken care of and whether the parents are fit. As a brilliant researcher and writer, she publishes many articles and papers on the topic. 2 years down the line she gets married to Joe, who insists that she needs to change her publication name by omitting her last surname and including the husband’s name. Owing her love and affection to Joe, she obliges, which spirals to her losing the credibility in the world of publications. Some of the works that she had penned down were considered not to be hers anymore because of her changed surname.
Anna is discouraged. She has tried to talk to her husband about the issue but the husband has given her an ultimatum that if she tries to revert back to her maiden name, she’ll get a divorce.

This is a dilemma that Anna and many like her are facing. A man’s name changes not even after getting hitched to his significant other. Should ladies, involved in academics, be forced to change their names in their publications as far as marriage is concerned? Aren’t ladies also allowed to be authority figures in their areas of specialization? Be that as it may, they say “it’s still a man’s world.”

This is an issue that is experienced by women in the academia but is seldom highlighted as an issue. There’s a solution. Take an example of Janet Mbugua, a journalist working for Citizen is a good example to follow. When she got married, she hyphenated her husband’s name after her two names. Every work that she has published is still acknowledged under her new name.

So that a situation like Anna’s does not arise in future, single ladies in higher learning institutions should be sensitized about this contentious issue of changing names. Advocacy should be championed by women who’ve made it in the publishing sphere of influence to encourage young ladies to continue to publish even after settling down with a partner. Hyphenation of a name after marriage is seldom known among the African women; hence the need to spread the word on the issue; especially among the young, African women.

Monday, 10 October 2016

Tales From Lodwar

Now you Know I wasn't going to just Not tell you how fabulous Lodwar was, I mean aside from the fabulous Women leaders we met, Lodwar is just wonderful.

The team and I had a great time trekking about and discovering Lodwar, though I must admit almost half of it was from standing at a point and looking off into the landscape ;-)

My top things about Lodwar were:
1. The weather
If you love sunshine, well I'll tell you  Lodwar is for you, let me tell you what that sun does to you is equivalent to spending the day at the Spa! I kid you not.

2. The People
The people there are so friendly and open to everyone, and the culture that runs through the town gosh! Its absolutely beautiful. I just loved the way the women wore intricate beadery there is just no forgetting where you are when you are there.

3. Mlima Lodwar
This is the highest point in Lodwar, (it really isn't very high) but... the best part is they have their own version of 'Christ The Redeemer'  atop the hill. It's really what inspired us to want to go up the hill. If you want to go all the way up you better check with the catholic church first since they are the caretakers of the site

4. The Basket Market
The market covers a small area in Lodwar town but there is no shortage of lovely steals from this market. The Turkana women make the most beautiful baskets and woven crafts. From laundry baskets to friut baskets and mats you will be sure to find something just right for you.

For my short stay, that was as far as my explorations led me, but I hear Eliye Spring and the Lake Turkana Beach are a treat, I'll be sure to visit next time

Until the next exploration, stay fit and remember #VoteADada

Friday, 7 October 2016


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

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