A vibrant mixture of activities were used to break the silence on sexual violence in Kenya’s tea producing heartland, as part of this year’s 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence.
A packed schedule of artistic performances of song, dance and poetry were held alongside staged cooking and cleaning exercises to address stereotypes and conflict inside the home.
In Kenya, responsibility for everyday tasks, like cooking and cleaning, are traditionally defined by gender. Men performing these tasks, alongside women, breaks this stereotype and fosters conversation among the community on important social issues related to conflict and violence. Elias Omondi, 34, is a team leader responsible for welfare in North Village inside the Unilever Tea estate in Kericho. Helping to design the tasks, he explains what lessons are to be taken from the activities:
“Teamwork and respect for the individual comes out in these tasks. But it is also the need for communication – communicating allows people to share problems and they can be resolved accordingly. In a relationship, one party may not understand the other’s problem, this can lead to frustration and potential conflict.”
The village of Chagaik, nestled inside the plantations of Kericho, hosted a series of performances from young and old. Messages were carried through all the performances speaking to the theme of this year’s campaign “Orange the World: Generation Equality Stands Against Rape”. The campaign in Kericho and Bomet culminated in an organised march through Kericho Town to the Unilever Tea Estate. Backed up by a brass band, boda boda [motorcycle taxi] drivers and supporters of gender equality movement, it led the crowd to a final series of performances including a fashion show, trade fair, more song and dance with prizes to the most outstanding performances.
For more photos from our 16 Days of Activism activities and other events, visit the Gender In Kenya Flickr account.