“We are HeForShe, We are HeForShe” BodaBoda and Matatu Association representatives said in unison after signing up to be be HeForShe Champions on 19th November 2016. The sign up which comes two years after H.E President Uhuru Kenyatta officially launched the campaign in Kenya was very significant since in 2014 just before the President launched the campaign, there had been a series of assaults against women and girls in the country which was been conducted by matatu operators. In November that year, incidents had occurred in Nairobi and Mombasa where women have been stripped naked in public spaces, filmed and posted on social media because of their dress orientations.
‘’We are launching an amazing campaign #HeForShe today. All our efforts are meaningless unless YOU and ME take responsibility” said the President while calling all Kenyans, Men and Women to stand for gender quality during the 2014 launch. “You and I have a responsibility, to safeguard the rights of women as we are all equal”, he added.
Some 54 percent of almost 400 women interviewed by Kenyan advocacy group Women’s Empowerment Link (WEL) (2015) said they had experienced gender based violence, defined as physical, sexual or psychological harm, while using public transport which is dominated by men. “There are more than 170,000 bodaboda riders in Kenya who are between 15-35 years” said the PS State Department of Gender Zeinab Hussein. The BodaBoda association’s chairman Isaac Kalua says on average about 14.4 million people are riding boda bodas every day signifying the importance of Bodaboda in the transport industry.
The bodaboda and Matatu Association launch graced by Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Public service youth and gender affairs, Mrs. Cecily Kariuki, PS State Department of Gender Zeinab Hussein, and UN Women Deputy Director Karin Fueg among other government officials took place a few days before the start of 16 Days of Activism on Gender Based Violence.
‘’GBV is not a women’s affair but an issue that affects both men and women in the society.’’ Highlighted CS Ministry of Public service youth and gender affairs Mrs. Cecily Kariuki. The CS applauded the leaders of the Bodaboda and Matatu associations for standing up for empowerment and urged them to sign up as champions of gender equality. ‘’I expect you to sign up as champions, reporting GBV cases whenever they occur around you, display the jitokezee 1195 message while at work and undertake customer care training for your members explained Mrs. Cecily Kariuki. She reiterated that any culture that diminishes women in any way should be banished and discouraged.
UN Women Kenya Deputy Director Ms. Karin Fueg in her remarks challenged the audience by saying that more still needs to be done to end gender inequality. ‘’Gender equality is not just a women’s issue but rather an issue that concerns everyone in the society,’’ reiterated Karin Fueg. She explained that by signing, the associations join the global campaign towards ending gender inequality and reaching out to boys and men as change agents of gender equality.
From L -R: CS Ministry of Public Service Youth and Gender Affairs Mrs. Cecily Kariuki and UN Women Kenya Deputy Director Ms. Karin Fueg
Matatu Owners Association Chairperson Mr. Dickson Mbugua pointed out that the sign up marks the continuity of the association in fighting against GBV and echoed the associations full support to the campaign and its course to achieve gender equality. He however pointed out the need for adequate funding of partner organizations for the campaign to be successful.
PS State Department of Gender, Mrs. Zeinab Hussein before leading the champions to sign up expressed the efforts of state department to turn the members of the associations into champions of gender equality and use them to end GBV in the society. ‘’If GBV is shunned, ladies would venture into the transport industry,’’ she reiterated. Mrs. Zeinab highlighted the need to educate the members of the associations to end GBV sand added that road courtesy would bring down carnage no the roads. ‘’Abusive language in the transport sector lays an emphasis of GBV in the country and therefore it should be discouraged at all costs,’’ she urged the members of the associations present.
‘’Bodaboda association has rolled out a training programme for members to end GBV,’’ highlighted BodaBoda Association of Kenya Chairperson Mr. Kevin Mugadi. Mr. Mugadi highlighted that GBV is orchestrated verbally in many instances in the sector before promising the associations commitment to the seven principles of the campaign through signing up as a champion. Mr. Mugabi nominated his excellency the president to be the patron of the bodaboda association.
Make a commitment today at: HeforShe at: www.heforshe.org
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