Tag Archives: violence
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Help Kick FGM out of Kenya

1 May

Help Kick FGM out of Kenya

Dear Friends,

Please visit the Link below and support our efforts to eradicate female genital mutilation in Kenya. By giving $20, you safe the future of one girl.

 

Thank you in advance,

 

Wanjala Wafula

Founder/CEO

Coexist Initiative

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GBV community forum

8 Jan

GBV community forum

I am hosting an anti-gender based violence community forum meeting with elders from five communities in Kajiado County in Kenya

I GOT THE POWER

17 Dec

 

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By Wanjala Wafula

During the 50th independence anniversary celebrations in Kenya, one insolent speaker took the archaic line of undermining women and other men who were not directly involved in the confrontations with the colonialists. He hailed the male freedom fighters without even giving credit to thousands of women who prepared food, hide the fighters and carried ammunitions for the fighters. The saddest thing is that all the dignitaries’ including twelve presidents and thousands of other high profile guests cheered him on.

I took to the social media to protest and in about an hour, over two thousand tweets supporting me had come through. I totally refuse to accept and be part of this pervasive perception of men having undue social and economic power. I will forever stand up against the falsehoods propagated by those not aware of the burden of negative socialization that is driving millions of men and boys into self annihilation across the globe.  I submit in this piece that men and boys are truly deprived in numerous ways.

I have vehemently insisted in the many pieces I have written on this subject that both women and men have the power only that they do not know they do and even if they do, they do not know how to use it. Defined in its rudimentary form, power means control over one’s life. If this be the accepted definition, then neither women nor men had power in the past as women’s role was to raise children against all odds, provide food for the family and literally be a slave to the man and his friends and family. On the same note; men’s role was to go to war with enemies imagined or real, acquire wealth through all means, live a care free sexual life and practice customs and traditions that exposed him to all the dangers. I submit therefore that neither women nor men had the real power they were socialized to envisage.  I affirm that Men’s blunder is their pretense of imagined might whereas women’s vitality is their veneer of weakness driven by negative socialization and maintained through negative masculinity, patriarchy, cultures, traditions and practices.

The egocentrism that continues to dominate the gender debate is only to the detriment of the men and the boys. While men and boys continue to bare the yoke of assumed manhood, millions of girls and women across the African continent are being re-socialized to balance continued existence with individual and collective fulfillment.  They are replacing the long held perceptions and socialization processes with the gusto to excel and succeed. They are beating the men at their own game yet our efforts to wake-up men from the darkness they continue being put by the negative socialization are met with ridicule and scorn. No one is socializing boys to become men of substance who pursue individual and collective goodwill. The few of us trying to break the ice are scoffed at by both women and men. I dare say that boys and men will soon be decades behind girls and women psychologically and socially. I even predict that in the next decade, men will be gradually more behind women academically and economically. If you doubt my prediction then I invite you to take a flight under the captain-ship of proficient Sophia Rita of Kenya Airways.

I do not want to sound like a doomsday prophet for the male gender of which I am. 
I believe in a world where all people, women and men, boys and girls find value in what I have always
called gender coexistence. I believe in a world where we all find value in things that make each of us
better than a world where we step in the way of others simply because we were socialized to do so.
I detest women’s movements that heap blame on all men or a men's movement blaming all women for their
woes. I have for years now been preaching a gospel to men and boys. I have urged them not to be silent
bystanders. I continue to tell them that when they see an incident taking place, on a bus, or in public,
they should never ignore it. This is my pledge for which I live.

I have always been an advocate of what I have always called a gender evolution movement. I characterize a gender evolution movement as one that promotes a switch from the rigid roles of our past to more elastic roles for the future. I see the gender evolution characterized by a generation of men and women who are imbued with the power to undertake and foster blissful, improved, cruelty-free relationships. I have seen former perpetrators of violence against children, women and even fellow men transform into persons who treat others with the decorum they deserve. I have seen them play a key role in raising children and I have also seen them compliment roles with their spouses. I know the gender evolution is possible.

I join my friends at the gender violence prevention network in advocating for sustained understanding and dialoguing among partners. I encourage all people around the world to listen to their partners. I request them to have a conversation about what they want in their relationships or family. I besiege them to question the power imbalances in their relationships and share their problems together. I strongly encourage them to value sons and daughters equally as all children are bestowed with diverse talents and endowments.

I insist that we all have the power to stop gender based violence. If it were a malady, we could easily call it a pandemic. If it were an oil leak, we’d identify it as a catastrophe. If it was an economic  meltdown  it  would  be  a  presidential  election  pledge. But  it  is happening  to  women  and  even  men,  and  it’s  just  an everyday  affair  being  treated  with  all  the casualness.  It is called gender based violence and it manifests itself in numerous forms and    cuts across    all    social,    academic, economic,    racial    and linguistic demographics. It is rape at home and on dates. It is the beating or the blow that one out of four African women receives in her lifetime. It is the perennial sexual harassment at work and sexual abuse of the young and old.  It is  murder  that  is  swiftly swept  under  the  carpet  or  the  depravity  that women  and  other minority  groups  face.  It is founded on masculine constructions and guarded by rigid and obsolete cultures and traditions.

GBV has far reaching consequences for women, men, families and communities, including increase in HIV infection, physical and emotional suffering, negative impacts on children, weaker families and communities and economic costs that hinder development and decrease our ability to fulfill our potential as individuals and communities. In my fifteen years of activism and advocacy, I have never felt as much hope as I do today. Men and women are taking action together. The world is paying attention. We are all saying enough is enough. Those who ignore this force, do so at their own detriment

When we balance power in our relationships we can prevent violence against women and girls. We can transform our own lives and our communities when we redefine power positively and change the ways in which we relate with others. I know we all have power but how are you using yours?

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The  writer  is  a  Founder  /  CEO  of  The  Coexist  Initiative,  a  not  for  profit  synergy  of  men  and  boys community‐based  organizations  committed  to  eliminating  all  forms  of  Gender  based  violence  in  Kenya. Visit    http://www.coexistkenya.com    or    email    Wafula@coexistkenya.com‐    facebook‐wanjala    Wafula‐ skype: coexist.initiative.  Tel:  +254712653322

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Our Wikigender page

29 Oct

Our Wikigender page

Our Wikigender page

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Child Marriage conference in Dar-Es-Salam Tanzania

21 Sep

Child Marriage conference in Dar-Es-Salam Tanzania

Group Photo: I am seating on the ground in a red Africa outfit

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After the shooting, violence stays with the kids

11 Aug

After the shooting, violence stays with the kids

For reasons violence should never have a place in our lives and society

One Moses Okoth

8 Apr

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Wanjala Wafula

It has come to our attention that an individual called Moses Okoth has been maligning the Coexist Initiative as an organization and me as a person in diverse forums and providing spiteful references about us. For starters, I have only had one meeting with the said individual and this was after he was referred to us by the moderator of the Menresources list serve in South Africa. The main objective of the meeting was to help him with fundraising ideas and contacts because he wanted to host an event he called “walking a mile in her shoes”.

I convened the meeting in one of the down town restaurants in Nairobi and invited representatives from the gender department and the ministry of health. Moses came to the meeting accompanied by one of his friends. Please remember that this was the first time I was meeting Moses and I allowed him all the time to sale his ideas to the prospective donors. I have never again had a meeting with the individual. During the meeting he shuffled and meandered around the subject at hand.  He roamed from buying shoes to manufacturing ladies pads and the list was endless. He was not compelling and at some point I was mortified to have invited my key contacts to the meeting. The body language from the donors was that of revulsion and boredom and any coherent person did not need to be told.

I incurred the cost of the meeting and we parted ways promising that I would be in touch once we had word from the donors. He later shared a document with me via mail and it was about the same event and I will not bore you either. A few days later, he started sending me text messages expressing aggravation and at some point wanted the Coexist Initiative to fund the inane ideas he could not elaborate himself. We disregarded the individual on the instructions of numerous people who are in the know about him.

Recently, he sent me a text message affirming that his current employers had asked him for reference about the Coexist Initiative and that he had given a bad reference just because we did not fund his wild ideas. I called him back and he lashed out all the vulgarities. Today, I received a message from him asking for connection on a certain listserve which was hastily followed by the insults annexed below from him.

I will not waste my time anymore on him. We live at a time when triviality and non issues dominate certain person’s minds at the expense of the antagonisms facing the world. For us at Coexist, eliminating gender based violence is our calling and we leave the side shows and emotions to those who opt.

Regards,

Wanjala Wafula

Founder / Director

Coexist Initiative

His messages

Grow up…and use internet at times..i reacted to this message

Automatically….your email address just happens to still be in my

mailbox..GOSH i have nothing in common with you and the last thing i

would ever want is to even think of contacting you…Am so so so so

sorry!This was a HUGE BIG STUPID MISTAKE……….Pole!

 

I do have the text messages you sent me and told me to go to hell and that you dont have time to talk to me…I should go and learn things the NGO way and am wasting your time..that after taking a proposal we did …..not having any courtesy to talk or call back…spending all our time by having a meeting to tap into our thinking then NOW you expect me to hear what you have to say…?After an  error in a Netlog message that i sent BY Mistake..GO ahead Mr. Wafula,tell the world! and i insist GROW UP…If you are executive officer in an Organisation that is meant to be having a certain code of conduct do it by action! 

I still do have the time…i still insist that it doesnt matter what you do….is it that you want to threaten me…proof something or make me look bad? I really i am NOT interested….whether a fight….who you are or what you can do..I did report you and said i DONT want to work with someone who has and portrays an image different from what donors know is saying the truth and getting the can open on what you are doing is wrong THEN tell the WORLD! Final stop  making a mountain out of a mole hill!