Friday, 22 February 2008

Appeal for the Jumuiya Women Group based in Eldoret, Kenya

My name is Dorcas Koskey, the chairlady of Jumuiya Women Group based in Eldoret and working with many women groups and individuals within the town and immediate environment. I was recruited by Wesley Chirchir as one of the people promoting peaceful co-existence between the many tribes in our region. To say the truth we have done a lot in terms of persuading young people to down their tools of war. We have told them to await for peaceful resolution of the presidential election in KENYA as the common man cannot be able to solve this problem, as it is requires a political solution. I am writing to you to say thank you for the phone credits I have received through Wesley. However I wish to point out a serious problem affecting young girls and women in general arising from the present violence. Some women, both Kalenjins and Kikuyus, including Luos have been evicted from their homes and now living in the cold with their children. The girls especially are supposed to be in school now, in fact as from Monday the 14th January 2008 but the worst thing is that they do not have money to purchase uniforms, meet their transport costs and indeed even buy the basic necessities like sanitary pads, soap and other requirements. The fact is that most of their houses were burnt, looted and vandalized by hooligans. Now they are unable to afford many things including the basic items required. So far we have identified about 65 of them who are truly vulnerable. They require items that all of them computed will amount to US$ 520.

The Girl Child Project
Arising from this dire need, our organization has decided to address this problem by establishing a GIRL CHILD PROJECT whose aim is to provide a permanent approach to addressing the many challenges faced by the girl child in our region. It has grown out of the recognition that the girl child is in many cases very vulnerable to unforeseen circumstances like the recent violence and skirmishes. Now we are told that girls are now being turned into sexual slaves by the men in the states, while others run the risk of engaging in illicit sex if not well taken care of. Indeed our concern is based on the notion that they will not be able to exploit their full potential as a person due to all kinds of cultural practices and believes that still prevail in many parts of Kenya. Still many others are still being forced to undergo the FGM. Taking into account that this is an issue requiring long term concerted efforts, our women group intends to establish an endowment component aimed at growing in perpetuity, funds to direct towards holistic girl child initiative, while also having an on-going grant making component which make funds available to initiatives that are focusing on curtailing this problem. This project has been necessitated by the following reasons:
  • Present violence which has put the girls into very compromising situations.
  • Lack of support from any quarter of society including the government to address their present plight.
  • Grinding poverty in the slums and in the make shift centers where the internally displaced persons (IDP) have been placed.
  • Unequal access to education.
  • Lack of enforcement of the children’s act and other relevant legislators.
  • Late entry into school due to taking up extra chores at home especially with the spread of the HIV/AIDS pandemic.
  • Being viewed as assets for marriage purpose.

Projects to be supported by the fund
The fund will support projects that facilitate girls to exploit their full potential throughout Eldoret and its immediate neighbourhoods. These include projects that:

  • Support the girl child to get education through provision of scholarships.
  • Support mentor ship and counseling support to girls, particularly those in difficult circumstances or come from the remote parts of Kenya.
  • Brings out the best in girls, beyond academic excellence.
  • Address retention of girls in schools such as improvement of hygiene and sanitary conditions.
  • Sensitize communities about the perils of gender based discrimination.

Getting Involved
The fund welcomes individuals, civil society organizations, donors and corporate bodies who identify with this cause to explore meaningful ways they can be engaged in supporting this cause, through discussions with our group. Below is a run down of some of the ways in which different groups may be engaged in supporting this cause.

How Can You Contribute?

  • Individual gifts
  • Our friend
  • Our sponsor
  • Our fund champion
  • Corporate bodies

How will your contribution be recognised?
Recognition of contributions is commensurate with the amount of gift. Acknowledgements will be made yearly in the women’s group annual report and other women’s group published materials.

Profile of Jumuiya Women Group
Jumuiya Women Group is an advocacy and lobbying organization which was founded in 2001. It aims to achieve its goals by promoting networking, collective vision and action among different actors working towards development and the transformation of the unequal gender relations in our society. The group stands committed to the development and empowerment of women and girls.

The objectives of JUMUIYA WOMEN GROUP are to:

  • Promote and ensure women's access to power and decision making positions in our local area.
  • Improve the economic conditions of women, girls and other marginalized groups by lobbying for financial services to be extended to them.
  • Advocate for equal opportunities and rights for women in all sectors and increase women's access to, and control of resources and benefits.
  • Advocate for the elimination of defilement, rape and other forms of abuse and violence against women and children.
  • Collect and disseminate information on priority and other issues of concern to women.