8 Edition

January - June 2012

An Inhouse newsletter of the Association of Media Women in Kenya

REGULARS 3 From The Editor NEWS 4. Tuvuke! A better Kenya for All 5. Enhancing Rural Livelihoods Through Aquaculture 6. Media and Agenda Setting: Discussions from the Media Roundtable 7. Women Use Football to Bring Peace in Maiella 8. East African Women in Business Platform Launched 9. University of Central Lancashire Visits AMWIK 10. AMWIK Leads the Search for Justice in Isiolo and Maiella 12. Upset by the Elections Act 2011 14. Women and Media: Breaking the Ice 15. Ford Foundation Representative Visits

EXCHANGE PROGRAMME 16. Out of my Comfort Zone 17. No Better Time in Zambia: My Experience in the Land of Chipolopolo 18. Nepali Culture: Unity in Diversity 20. Behold the Women’s Day in Zambia 21. I Love you Media Women 22. Of Islamic Weddings in Uganda 24. No Easy Ride for Women in Nepal 26. The Irony of Names 27. Passionate Bloggers in Zambia 28. My Three Months in Nairobi

FORUM 30. The much needed push 31. Good Work at Maiella Resource Centre 32. Tanzanian Woman Battles the Odds with HIV 34. STAFF 35. ABOUT AMWIK

ON THE COVER AMWIK had the privilege of hosting some journalism students from the University of Central Lancashire in the United Kingdom and their lecturers on 29th March, 2012


January - June 2012


Dear reader, Welcome to the 8th edition of the Connection newsletter. The Association of Media Women in Kenya is proud to be associated with you. As our valuable partner, we will endeavour to keep you updated on what is happening in our fold. We will not only do this through giving a mere account of our activities, but strive to do this in a very captivating way that we hope will continue to interest you. This 8th edition is packed with rich content from both within and outside AMWIK, from Kenya to Uganda, Zambia, Tanzania and Nepal. Read about Zambia’s unique way of celebrating the International Women’s Day (IWD) to know why it is a day to behold in this part of Africa, on page 20. Did you know that Mt. Everest, the highest mountain on earth is found in Nepal? Well, read about this and more about the country’s rich diversity on page 18. For information on AMWIK, please turn to page 35. For much more, read from cover to cover and feel free to share your views on this newsletter. We value you as our partner and look forward to more engagement with you.. Blessings! Lilian

Connection is AMWIK’s in-house newsletter Do not hesitate to write to us or call us on the following address, if you have any queries or clarifications on any of the articles appearing in this publication.

Association of Media Women in Kenya Wendy Court, Hse No. 6 David Osieli Rd, Off Waiyaki Way, Westlands P Box 10327-00100 .o. Nairobi,Kenya Tel: +254 20 4441226 Tel/Fax +254 20 444 1227 Mobile: 0722/0737 201958 Email: Website:

Executive Director: Ms. Jane Thuo Programmes Manager: Marceline Nyambala Editor: Lilian Juma Design: Gilbert Mbiyu Photographer: Lawrence Muriithi Writers: Bernard Ogoi, Brenda Chipo, Florence Gichoya, Joyce Nyaruai, Lilian Juma, Manju Khanal, Marceline Nyambala, Nasteha Mohammed
January - June 2012


Tuvuke! A Better Kenya For All
By Lilian Juma



he general election is beckoning. Kenyans are waiting with a lot of anticipation. Some of us are uncertain of what lies ahead. But there are many groups that are working tirelessly and praying that the election slated for March 4, 2013 will be free, fair and peaceful. Among these are 17 civil society organizations who have launched a national initiative dubbed Tuvuke! whose overall objective is to promote a peaceful, fair and democratic electoral process in Kenya by fostering a culture of peace, entrenching broad political participation and advocating for acceptance and diversity. The Chief Justice Dr Willy Mutunga who launched the initiative at the Serena Hotel on 26th May 2012 rhetorically posed the question: What is Tuvuke? He said Tuvuke is not just an empty slogan but conscious and deep rooted statement by Kenyans on their aspirations. The Chair of Tuvuke Steering Committee Dr Jenniffer Riria sharing on the ideals of Tuvuke! said pursuing peace and being a peace maker creates life, protects life and prevents us from the dread experienced in the past adding that Tuvuke was not just a project but sought to be transformational and change mindsets. held at a Nairobi hotel, Ford Foundation’s Regional Representative, Maurice Odhiambo Makoloo lauded the initiative as one of the most important steps that Kenya is making in her “long trek to Democracy City” which

will serve as a source of inspiration for all peace-loving Kenyans. “When in 1963, the fathers and mothers of this nation endorsed in the National Anthem; ‘May we dwell in Unity, Peace and Liberty,’ it was both an earnest prayer and a clarion call. And so, I believe…we are here to answer that clarion call,” he said. Dr Susan Kaaria said the culmination of the project was preceded by many months of

Riria. Other members of the consortium (CCR), Inform-Action (IFA), SmartCitizens, Kenya Land Alliance (KLA), Women Empowerment Link (WEL), Indigenous People’s Concern (IPC), the Anglican Church of Kenya (ACK), MAVUNO Church, Centre for Rights and Education Awareness (CREAW), the Association of Media Women in Kenya (AMWIK), African Women and Child Feature Service (AWC), Twaweza Communications, Go-Sheng, Men for Equality with Women (MEW), Muslims for Human Rights (MUHURI), Ujamaa and supported by the Ford Foundation. The group believes that through inclusive politics and active engagement of citizens, all Kenyans can contribute in creating a nation where all citizens participate fully in determining the nation’s destiny. The message is simple: Tuvuke is a call on Kenyans to take individual and collective responsibility in ensuring that the nation makes a peaceful ‘transition’ during the forthcoming elections. The consortium is calling on Kenyans to articulate the ‘NIMEJIANDIKISHA…’ philosophy towards free, fair and peaceful elections by becoming active participants in the process. “This responsibility cannot be undertaken by others on our behalf: it is our personal responsibility. ‘NIMEJIANDIKISHA …’ is not an empty slogan; it is a conscious and deep-rooted statement of commitment to the transformation of our nation,” The consortium urges.

‘May we dwell in Unity, Peace and Liberty,’
consultation with the implementing partners on what were the best possible initiatives to deliver a peaceful election beyond seating in expensive hotel rooms and delivering workshops civil society groups and media. The consortium is led by Kenya Women Holding under the stewardship of Dr. Jeniffer


January - June 2012

Enhancing Rural
By Benard Ogoi

76,000 is designed to cater for initial pond construction in case of fresh farmers, pond fertilization, stocking the pond and buying feeds enough to last a period of eight months. The loan is advanced in two pond construction and preparation while the second cycle focuses on farm inputs, especially feeds until harvesting time. Already seventeen women have 2012. Ten of them were selected from Migori and the remaining seven from Busia counties. AMWIK is again partnering with the Ministry of Fisheries and two other organizations under the stewardship of Kenya Women to implement the second phase of the project titled Enhancing rural livelihoods through capacity building and aquaculture which will run throughout this year. This intends to build on the work done in the pilot phase, and to expand the project into Mwea in Eastern Province and Kakamega in Western Province respectively in addition to the pilot areas. AMWIK intends to incorporate information on how women can access the venture. Other programmes will dwell on

Livelihoods Through
Ksh 76,000
Total designed to cater for initial pond construction in case of fresh farmers

oor infrastructure, lack of storage marketing chain have emerged as major stumbling blocks for women in These coupled with insecurity have seen other players partner with the government aquaculture. In the year 2011, the Association of hands with Kenya Women Finance Trust - KWFT and the Ministry of Fisheries together with other partners to share residents of Migori and Busia Counties. Migori and Nyatike Districts in Migori County, and Busia and Funyula Districts in Busia County, where the communities were farmers in the areas have since witnessed Mrs. Faith Buluma, a member of Twende Kazi women group in Funyula project. She is now using the newly acquired knowledge to reach out to many is operating an Aqua shop in Namboboto village, Samia District. Speaking at an aquaculture stakeholder’s conference in Kisumu early this year, she commended AMWIK for the radio programmes saying, “That radio has really helped me in my outreach activities, because whenever I visit my clients I share the information with them easily.” She even amused the participants when she jokingly added that it has made her popular. On her part, Jane Akinyi from Migori District ignored the challenges of being a widow and has already tasted the fruits of the project. She joined the project early last year, barely a month after stocking her First you may think she is an expert in She says of the knowledge she acquired from the partnership: “I harvested in the month of August 2011 and got Kshs 76,000 from the sales,” She used part of the money to pay school fees for her children. The project also has components of touching on women. Dr. Susan Kaaria of Ford Foundation notes that the big part of the project is for women to understand economically, but you are not going to protect those assets unless they clearly understand what their rights are.” Explaining why and how the project was initiated, Dr. Kaaria said during a meeting with community groups participating in the project: “We agreed to partner because problems facing women require different interventions that are beyond money.” She applauded the achievements witnessed in the pilot phase and called for sustained efforts to reach out to as many clients as possible. The perspective of human rights serves to shield women from sexual and gender based exploitation which formed the basis of initiating the project following a survey that was commissioned by Kenya Women in the year 2009. Another area of interest is prudent

and mechanisms of accessing justice and women rights in the communities. The project is supported by Ford Foundation. The foundation is especially keen to reinforce rural livelihoods for poor womens rights.

AMWIK intends to incorporate information on how women can access the loan product to boost their fish farming venture
January - June 2012



Media and Agenda Setting:
Discussions from the Media Roundtable T
AMWIK Executive Director Ms Jane Thuo
he question of whose agenda the media should address; theirs or the people’s was raised as a pertinent issue during a media roundtable organized on the 28th of February by Media Focus on Africa at Alliance Francaise, Nairobi Hosting Ms. Jane Thuo of the Association of Media Women in Kenya (AMWIK), Prof. Robert White of Hekima College, Mr. Andy Kagwa, a senior editor at The Standard Group, Haron Mwangi of the Media Council of Kenya and Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission’s (IEBC) Director of voter education, Dr. Joel Mabonga, the forum was addressing the role of the Kenyan media in setting the agenda in the electoral process. Ms. Thuo expressed her an agenda setter; saying that Kenyans have in many research most trusted institution. She was however quick to point out that sometimes what the people expect from the media is unrealistic. Following on the same, The Standard’s Andy Kagwa pointed out that people should never ignore the fact that media is also a business, “at the end of the day we have to stay in the market,” he said in regard to marketing strategies employed by the media. While in agreement that the media is a tool for change in society, Prof. White also warned that sometimes that role can be abused. “Vernacular radio stations especially, amplify the problems of the local people sometimes,” he said. Dr. Mabonga chose to focus on the laws that guide institutions and people during electioneering periods, urging media houses to educate Kenyans on the Elections Act 2012. media watchdog in Kenya, the Media Council, Mr. Mwangi urged the media to invest more on issues rather than events. The Media Council has

L-R: Standard Group Editor Mr Andy Voter Educ, Dr. and AMWIK ED Ms Jane Thuo

people should never ignore the fact that media is also a business, “at the end of the day we have to stay in the market”
produced a manual on elections and governance reporting and also held a journalists convention in May this year to follow up on the same. Social Media could not escape a mention during the forum, “Where does social media come in?” a participant posed. Apart from driving some important agendas on the internet, social media was discussed as an alternative media that can be used to bring accountability to the mainstream media.

the audience at the event held at the Alliance Francaise

AMWIK ED Jane Thuo with Betsy L. Graves


January - June 2012

Women Embrace
By Benard Ogoi


Football to Bring Peace in Maiella
eep in Maiella Location of Naivasha District, a group of women are raising the curtain above ethnic clashes. The women chase after a ball in a lively game on a warm Saturday afternoon as the referee, Antonette Namaemba Nambuchi, blows the whistle in full control of the unfolding events, ensuring that no mistake escapes her eyesight. bay. There is an enthusiastic crowd comprising of children, elders, the youth and the local administration, all standing in solidarity with them as they chat a new path of peace and reconciliation. their once untapped divergent skills and talent for unity. The young and old alike mingle freely for the love of the game. Prudence Njogu plays for Maiella Town Football Club with teenage girls almost half her age. She says the opportunity has enabled them to contain stress through exercise and also interact with their counterparts. The presence of a woman as a referee is so much an encouragement and an inspiration to them. They feel that they can also do what has been regarded a preserve for men, explains Duncan Karani. Karani sits in the committee managing the ongoing tournament. They gather at Maiella Primary School every weekend either football duel. AMWIK Executive Director Jane Thuo gave a word of dubbed ‘Maiella Access to Justice Football Tournament,’ “Play



Picture 1, 2 and 4:


Picture 3: AMWIK ED Jane Thuo


knowing that this is not just any other tournament. It is your commitment to build peace and tolerance,” she advised. And with the election campaign atmosphere already fast approaching in earnest across the country, she cautioned members of the two communities in Maiella, Maasai and Kikuyu - to be wary of politicians who might be out to use the local youth to perpetuate impunity and intolerance. She urged them to embrace each other for the sake of peace and development. “We want the youth to play and interact with their colleagues from neighbouring communities without any fear,” she said. Land clashes in Maiella Location had left many displaced from their homes, and hindered free movement of the residents to certain areas. And as is the custom in such circumstances, women and children bore the greatest brunt of the aftermath of the chaos. Women participation is the pivot for the ongoing the routine school based girls football. AMWIK coordinator in Maiella Peter Kiarie says the move has changed the perceptions that men previously held concerning their wives, daughters and sisters. “It is very interesting and many people are wondering if it is a dream or the reality that women can be included in such

an activity as football in this area,” he says. He adds that previously women were expected to stay at home and take care of children and their husbands. However, there is a complete turnaround as they have full family backing to participate in the initiative. “Believe it or not these women and girls are fathers on motorbikes since most of them come from far,” he adds. The women competition goes beyond physical activities. It is also an avenue for conducting business as well as support. Besides providing a ready market for their farm produce, Kiarie explains that it has among the residents. “Women warmly bring consumables as they also use the opportunity to learn their different cultures,” Kiarie says. Twelve men and 4 women teams are participating in the tournament. The four women teams are in two sets; one composed of women over 35-years-old, and another with young women below 25 years. Black Warriors Majoice is leading the pack of women teams having 8 goals and an aggregate of 9 points.
January - June 2012



1: AMWIK ED Jane Thuo
teams in Maiella Tournament. Front: Maiella
Black Warriors Majoice Maiella Town FC Kahoha A Kahoha B Eleven Juniors Nkampaani Valley Juniors Home Boys FC Green Eagles Kiande Boys Dynammo FC Black Tigers Hammers FC Barcelona FC Valley Shooters Red Warriors 8 9 1+ 3+ 9+ 4+ 7+ 6+ 9+ 8+ 6+ 4+ 9+ 3+ 11+ 11+ 9+ 6+ 0+ 0+ 7+ 5+ 4+ 6+ 5+ 9+ 4+ 1+ 7+ 3+ 13+ 11+
football tournament in the area in the year 2010 to foster peace and reconciliation among residents. The competition brought together youth from the two communities alongside immigrants residing in the area.

2: Kahoha A


AMWIK ED Jane Thuo.

3: Maiella
residents admire Tournament Banner.


Sponsoring women football tournament is a core strategy that AMWIK is using in Maiella to enhance reconciliation and peace sustainability in the region.

East African Women in Business Platform


The Association of Media Women in Kenya (AMWIK) participated in the launch of the platform and was represented by Marceline Nyambala who has also been representing the organization in the Executive Committee. EAWiBP seeks to improve the participation of women entrepreneurs in the EAC integration process, through identifying and addressing challenges hindering their participation. Dorothy Tuma of the Uganda Women Entrepreneurs Association was elected Chairperson of the platform. While Marren Akatsa Bukachi Executive Director Eastern African sub Regional Support Initiative for Advancement of Women (EASSI) was elected Vice chair. Ruth Kihiu the Coordinator, EAWiBP revealed that there was an MOU between the organization and the Leading Women of Africa to promote trade between women in East Africa and South Africa. Similarly East

Africa Development bank committed to work with the platform in exploring a viable product for women traders in the region. Membership criteria and guidelines were also discussed. EAWiBP was initiated in 2011 by the East African Business Council (EABC) with the support of TradeMark East Africa (TMEA) with a view of putting in place mechanisms to address challenges faced by women-owned businesses within the region. Drawing its mandate from the Treaty for the Establishment of East African Community, particularly Article 121 and 122, the platform will be guided by the vision of becoming a women’s centre of excellence for intra and extra-EAC trade.’ The Treaty obligates partner states to promote the role of women in socio- economic development and in business. The platform’s steering committee comprises of representatives from national associations, top business women’s organizations and cross-border trade from each of the EAC partner states, a media association and a regional civil society organisation. EAWiBP seeks; in business in the EAC integration process. in business in EAC partner states. enterprises in the EAC from informal to formal status.


overty and unemployment continue to stalk women in the East African region with devastating and avoidable consequences. The poor status of women has resulted in manipulation, exploitation, gender based violence, overdependence, underemployment and inability to seek governance positions amongst other challenges. Recently women in the region took steps to ameliorate this situation with the launch of the East African Women in Business Platform (EAWiBP) whose aim is to improve the participation of women in trade across the East African countries. The platform as well as its strategic plan was launched by Ambassador Dr. Richard Sezibera, Secretary General, East African Community (EAC) on 24th May 2012 in Arusha, Tanzania. Sezibera encouraged women in East Africa to branch into the growing multi-million businesses in the region such as infrastructure and hydrocarbons. He noted the business amongst countries was growing.

EAWiBP was initiated by the East African Business Council (EABC)


January - June 2012



University of Central Lancashire Visits AMWIK
By Joyce Nyaruai


MWIK had the privilege of hosting some journalism students from the University of Central Lancashire in the United Kingdom and their lecturers on 29th March, 2012. The students who were coming to Kenya on a research trip visited AMWIK to learn about AMWIK’s experiences working in the community and the role of media in development. The team was warmly welcomed at the secretariat by the Executive Director Jane Thuo who shared AMWIK’s activities in the community. Dr. George Ogola, a senior lecturer of Journalism at the University introduced the students and his colleagues. “We are happy to be here at AMWIK and we are amazed by the kind of work AMWIK is doing,” he said. Dr. Ogola explained that the students were undertaking research on media in developing countries, with most focusing on women. The students expressed their interest in AMWIK’s work in aquaculture, peace, gender and governance projects and the community radio listening programmes. The students will be using the information gathered from different organizations here in Kenya for their project theses.

T AMWIK ED, Ms Jane Thuo with lecturer Dr. George Ogola op: The journalism students during discussion’s with AMWIK team held in the organization’s resource centre. L ooking on in black (2nd right) is AMWIK Finance and Administration Officer, Mr Charles Mugo.

January - June 2012



AMWIK Leads the Search for Justice in Isiolo and Maiella
he Association of Media Women in Kenya (AMWIK) has embarked on a journey towards helping vulnerable communities in Kenya access justice. To kick off this quest supported by the Ford Foundation, AMWIK launched the Marginalised Communities Access to Justice & Peace Sustenance project targeting Naivasha and Isiolo where access to justice remains elusive. The project aims is to provide focused, coordinated, and long-term support towards women’s enjoyment of and participation in enhancing respect for human rights. Among the activities being undertaken is training of selected community representatives to serve as paralegals in their respective communities. AMWIK partnered with the Women’s Empowerment Link (WEL) in the initial phase where a total of 50 paralegals were

50 paralegals
AMWIK partnered with the Women’s Empowerment Link (WEL) in the initial phase where a total of 50 paralegals

trained. The participant-centred training aimed to develop the capacity of the trainees focusing primarily on improving their legal knowledge and skills in addition to educating them on the various women’s and human rights to enable them highlight various injustices perpetrated on women and be able to insist on stronger protection for these rights. Participants also learned skills on alternative dispute resolution mechanisms. conducted in Naivasha from 15th - 21st April where a total of 25 participants, 13 women and 12 men, representing different community groups, among them administrators, youths, community opinion leaders, teachers and women political aspirants were trained. The training in Isiolo held between 6th and 12th May and between 10th and 16th June respectively attracted 25 participants drawn from Nagayo Women Group, Kiwanjani Women Group, Chicho Hoko, Islamic Women Group and Anupit women groups hailing from Tulu-roba, Gambella, Ngaremara, Central, Bula-pesa and Kiwanjani locations.

AMWIK programmes manager Marceline Nyambala said the paralegals training is expected to boost the capacity of the communities to promptly report cases of Gender Based Violence, and to ensure justice is delivered to the victims in a timely manner. Ms Nyambala noted that lawyers are few in the target communities in Naivasha and Isiolo, saying that in most cases they charge very expensively. “That is why we decided to upscale and increase access to justice in these areas,” she added. Wanjiru Kamanda, WEL’s legal advisor and facilitator during the trainings stressed that paralegals should be volunteers and never ask for fees in the process of helping victims and also not judge or discriminate when handling cases reported to them. She further added that, a true paralegal should have a heart of helping the society members to access justice in any case and should empathize with the victims and be sensitive to their situations. “Being a paralegal is about offering specialist services in support of the vulnerable in society,” she said, and further urging the


January - June 2012

trainees to ensure honesty and high moral integrity in their work. Women’s Economic Empowerment and also a facilitator during the training stressed the need for paralegals to help victims of gender based violence by exposing the crimes and ensuring that justice is achieved on behalf of the affected parties. advised the trainees to always make use of the media to help in highlighting the cases they will be involved in handling. Participants also shared their thoughts on the programme. David Karani of village lauded the training saying, “My eyes are now more open and I can now approach legal issues knowing what I am doing.” “I have learnt many things that I can also share with others,” said Binsari Muchama, a member of Shalom Self help group, as she urged her colleagues to make use of the skills for the good of their society. Another participant said the training is a gateway towards ensuring objective administration of justice to the communities. “I am happy to learn both legal and gender issues and how they are integrated,” he said, adding that, “... basically when you violate gender issues you rush to legal entities to seek legal remedy.” Mhh semeni! up! Mother: Mtoto wangu ameshikwa (my child has been caught) Eti ameshikwa? (caught?) Mother: Eeh, ameshikwa na mwanaume huko nje akitoka shule. Na tumeambiwa na daktari tuje utusaidie! ... was caught by a man outside as she was leaving school. And the doctor has urged us to seek help here). Mlielewana halafu akakula pesa ya wenyewe ama namna gani? money or what?) Mother: Hapana afande. Sasa hata huyu mtoto anajua kukula pesa? (Laughter) how to embezzle money?) Ulisikia mzuri? heard it right?) Girl: (Crying) Sasa mama hata huyu mtu ananiuliza nini? (Mum, what is he asking me now?) : ............. The participants got furious at the way that he was judgemental and demanded that he acts expeditiously on the matter. Electa Kamara of WEL cautioned against mentioning names or giving leading information when interrogating victims of Gender Based Violence. On handling the P3 form provided at the police station, she said, “Go back with police station immediately.” Electa urged the participants to be keen when gathering evidence: “The judge only relies on evidence and therefore if the same is not provided, then he may have no alternative but to terminate the case.” Chief of Maiella Location, Mr. Francis Kuria summed it all by describing the training as a pointer in helping the local administration handle cases of gender based violence at the grassroots. “Many times the public takes us negatively in our duties even as we implement the law. But it is good that we have learnt legal frameworks through which you will also assist us,” he added. Kuria further urged the trainees to of gender based violence, “...... and work hand in hand with the local administration to ensure adequate security for the vulnerable and in assisting the survivors.” Participants in Naivasha comprised of local administrators, youths, community opinion leaders, teachers, and one aspirant for Nakuru County Women representative seat. These were drawn from Star Women Group, Shalom Self-help group, Muthiga youth group, Siababukusu and Homegrown from Naivasha; Wendani Women group, Nguguti women group, Maige youth group, Umoja group and Horticulture group from Maiella; and Nkaampani women group, Enduata youth group, Illaramatak self-help group, and Illairemok self-help group from Nkaampani. AMWIK has been doing a lot of awareness creation on women and human rights in Maiella and Isiolo which have suffered rising cases of violations and where justice has remained elusive.

It was exciting to watch the participants simulate a story of a 13-yearold girl, demonstrating how they will carry out their duties as paralegals. Kamau ‘wa mama’ Shiro was accused of raping a form two student on her way from a local secondary school, leaving her unconscious. Overwhelmed by the incident and not knowing what next, the girl’s mother informed her neighbour who knew a legal assistant in the neighbourhood. They proceeded to the

them the medical report. He also advised them to report the case to the police. The girl reported the matter to police for fear that her friends would know of the incident and cause her more stigma. questions as he tried to discredit the girl’s allegations. Below is an excerpt of the discussion at the police station;

January - June 2012


Upset by the Elections Act 2011
By Bernard Ogoi
enyans overwhelmingly voted in a new constitutional order in August 2010, paving way for accountability in leadership and respect for basic human rights. The implementation guide though bumpy, has seen the approval of quite a number of legal frameworks to entrench the foundation structures necessary for a smooth transition into an equitable Kenya under the constitution. Key among these is the Elections Act 2011 which sets clear benchmarks for the conduct of free and fair elections. However, while attending a training workshop for community radio listening recently, in some way we got into a heated debate as to whether some of our laws are designed to push people further into the leadership side-line, or to improve service delivery to the ordinary ‘mwananchi.’ Occasionally, the contrast of nervousness and reality dawned on the participants as they cross-examined the facilitator, Winnie Maina of FIDA-Kenya on the content of the Elections Act 2011. The hall maintained silence as she read out Articles that bar double registration, aiding the printing and distribution of election personation among others. The participants were clearly surprised as she eloquently read relevant clauses of the Act, outlining the consequences awaiting the law breakers. The offense of ‘treating’ particularly generated heated debate and profound interest as participants absorbed its meaning, many But why the surprise? Is it because the minimum obligation for every stakeholder extends to the electorate? Participant: Nina swali, kwa mfano Sally ametuita kwenye mkutano wake anataka tumpigie kura. Sasa saa ile akija tunazungumza tukimaliza atatoa pesa yeye kila mtu shilingi mia moja moja nikichukua ni hatia? (For example, when Sally invites us for her campaign meeting. Will it be wrong if I accept 100 shillings from her?) Winnie: Akupe kwa nia gani kwa sababu ikiwa anakuja kukuhonga basi hapo atakuwa amevunja sheria. Ukichukua ni kwamba umeshirikiana naye. Aliyehongwa na aliyehonga wote wana makosa. (Why should she give you because she will have committed an offense? If you take it then you shall have collaborated with her. Speaker after speaker wanted to know if it is an offence to buy drinks for people who politician’s campaign rally. Similar sentiments featured prominently at another training workshop for community radio listening facilitators in Ukunda. Whereas some participants interpreted it as an outright bribe voting exercise, majority strongly argued that it is a sign of appreciation. According to one participant, “legally it is a bribe but in terms of humanity, it is okay to accept even if it is lunch or transport reimbursement from politicians.’’ Another said that politicians are only seen during campaigns, “and therefore we should take since we will not see them again.” Reading from Article 62(2) of the Elections Act, Ms. Maina warned that deliberate engagement in election related malpractices will now be considered impunity punishable by law irrespective of who the culprit is. “A voter who accepts or takes any food, drink, refreshment, provision, any money or ticket, or adopts other means or devices to enable the procuring of food, drink, refreshment or provision knowing that it is intended treating.”



‘This calls for individual soulsearching and for the public to critically examine its role and contribution to the political decadence,’

Fifteen women and youth groups in the


January - June 2012

AMWIK’s radio listening sessions. These include Msambweni Human rights Watch, Tushirikiane TIWI youth group, Ng’ombeni community development forum (NICODEF), Mr. Abdala Omar Mwasuria, the Assistant Chief for Mkoyo Sub-location in Kwale District echoed the same sentiments on mutual engagement, saying that the radio listening forums will give them an ideal opportunity to share ideas on how to directly participate in local governance. Mwasuria guaranteed close work relations with the groups to realize the dreams of the programme. He noted that politicians disregard the people’s opinion and interpret the constitution depending on what they want to achieve. “I like the one that requires non-performing MP’s to be recalled, because they know it will hurt them,” Mwasuria said noting that this is greatest fear as MPs are the law-makers also charged with establishing structures and policies to implement the constitution. According to Mwasuria, “Civic education on the draft constitution was so politicised that many of us hurriedly followed the excitement without understanding why we were being asked to accept or reject the document at the referendum.” Chief Makanzu proposes that the Constitution be incorporated into the basic education syllabus from Primary to Colleges and University so that people can understand it well from childhood. These concerns are not unique to the situation among many Kenyans who choose to bend the law at will for individual wellbeing.

Group, Chain of Change and Lamkani Mwavumbo Women Group in Kwale County. Msumarini self Help, House of Talent, Neema and Tujikaze Moyo Women Groups. The programme seeks to create awareness and improve the communities’ understanding governing elections, to enable them participate responsibly in the new political dispensation. Also discussed are the laws on ownership of matrimonial property. angled towards ensuring that women understand their rights as anchored in the Constitution, and actively participate in claiming those rights. While commending AMWIK for directly engaging grassroots communities, Chief Ibrahim Makanzu of Diani Location in Kwale not had such objective forums for sharing information on good governance. Makanzu revealed that most of them rarely access the mainstream media to address their concerns. “Radio listening is a unique idea to us, I think we will be able to continuously share information and discuss issues that we do not understand well,” he said. Makanzu said, contrary to his earlier beliefs, now he understands a lot especially on how the Agenda Four items are addressed in the constitution. “Nimeona kwamba kuna maDC, kuna maDO na hata machifu ambao walihusika katika hii shughuli ya kuhamasisha kina mama haki zao kupitia Agenda. Sasa kwa kusema kweli mimi nimejifunza mengi kupitia kwa wakili ambaye aligusia hiyo katiba kwa muhtasari (Sic) (I have seen that DC’s, DO’s and even chiefs have participated in women empowerment through the Agenda 4. Truly I have learnt a lot through the lawyer who highlighted on the constitution),” he said in reference to other programmes run by AMWIK. He called for mutual relations between the community groups and the local administration through chiefs’ public barazas, “This is a sensitive issue that requires maximum cooperation, and I believe we shall ensure that we sensitize all our members before the election period,” he added.

Be vigilant
Martin Luther King Jr. once noted that nothing in the world is more dangerous than ignorance and consistent irresponsibility. Democratically you can place this assertion in your own latitude of thought, and choose either to accept or reject it. But how far can we stretch so that we remain true to the aspirations we are ills that our political masters engage in, we might also need to remember that they are our mirror and therefore a representation of what we really are at the grassroots. Even as we all seem to concur that the political forest needs to be changed for a better tomorrow, it could take quite some more time to comprehend the bitter process of correcting the immorality that has characterised Kenya’s political principles since independence. As Makanzu says, “We as citizens must be vigilant in the implementation process because our politicians cannot be trusted to deliver fairly, and they can take us back to where we have come from.” This calls for individual soul-searching and for the public to critically examine its role and contribution to the political decadence. It is therefore our collective obligation the problems facing the haves and have-nots in the Kenyan society alike. The Constitution and the legislations are competitors in the political arena. As citizens, we are all indebted to understand it so that we can closely monitor the implementation process.

Kwale and Kilifi
Ten select women and youth groups are currently benefiting directly from AMWIK radio listening programmes in the two Counties
The two administrators lamented that many people still don’t understand the content of the levels. “People were not adequately educated about the laws, and therefore it has always remained the property of a few people,” said Chief Makanzu.

January - June 2012



AMWIK in Bid To
many women view this sector as a “nogo” zone. Such is the case for Amina Abdalla, aspirant for the Kisauni National Assembly seat who shared her “not so rosy” encounter with one of the local media houses after she sued it for defamation. “The media can make or break you. I was once misquoted over a drugs scandal and I took them to court for defamation. Since then, whenever I call the media for a function, they never show up. It seems like they have given me a blackout,” says Amina. However, she advises women aspirants to work with the media and devise ways of solving problems amicably in the unfortunate event of a dispute. On her part, Mishi Mboko who hopes to clinch the position of woman aspirant for Mombasa County said she has been hesitant to approach the media because “dealing with journalists is very expensive affair” as many of them allegedly ask for money. There are many other women who say they are afraid to approach the media for fear of being given negative coverage. This is because the media has traditionally been the main promoter of negative stereotypes about women. It is from this background that the Association of Media Women in Kenya (AMWIK) has been conducting a series of training sessions with women aspirants “to break the ice.” In May 2012, AMWIK held two sensitisation forums for women aspirants in Coast and Eastern provinces, with the aim of enabling women to understand the structure and operations of the media and also interact with journalists in the print and electronic media. During the sessions, the women were

Women and Media:

‘Breaking the Ice’
he media holds the key to increasing the print, electronic and social media to promote visibility. AMWIK invited bureau chiefs from the two regions and other journalists to interact and device ways of working with women aspirants. During the sessions, it was evident that women political aspirants truly need publicity. Commenting on Amina’s case, Ngumbao Kithi, the bureau chief for the Standard newspapers at the Coast, said it would be coverage considering her encounter. Maureen Mudi the chief correspondent of the Star newspaper in Mombasa dismissed Mishi Mboko’s claim saying women assume that the media should be paid for coverage because it is an open secret that some politicians do so. She said such a practice goes against the norms of the ethics of journalism and no journalist should be given a bribe to do a story. Eunice Machuhi, a member of AMWIK and a Nation Media reporter based in Mombasa further advises women to, “deal with credible media houses and contact the bureau chiefs as they are the ones who give consent for stories.” Addressing women aspirants from Eastern, Mercy Nthuku, a member of AMWIK and a presenter at Muga FM stressed the need for women aspirants to create a rapport with the journalists. “Journalists have inter-linkages and will always link you with other journalists for you to enjoy better coverage,” she said. Job Weru, a freelance journalist in Eastern when addressing the media and make use of local media instead of relying on the national media, for convenience purposes.

By Joyce Nyaruai

“It is easier to interact with the local media as they understand the issues in the community compared to national media,” said Weru. to use social media effectively, Kelvin Okoth challenged women aspirants to sign up with social media and keep up with the new trends especially when targeting the youth. “There are a total of 1,241,720 Facebook users in Kenya, out of which 63 percent are male users and 37 percent are female users, Twitter users are 70,000, according to users,” said Okoth. He emphasized on the need to develop an online strategy to its target groups. To ensure that the aspirants keep their political careers on track, communication consultant Jayne Rose Gacheri also a member of AMIWK successfully took the aspirants would provide a roadmap to their political and professional life. Racheal Nakitare a producer of the Good Morning Kenya Show on KBC and also a member of AMWIK took the participants through TV studio etiquette and on how to get visibility through the media. AMWIK conducted two training workshops for women aspirants from Eastern and Coast provinces drawn from Embu, Tharaka Nithi, Machakos, Kitui, Isiolo, Taita Taveta and Lamu. The trainings were support by Un Women under its Gender and Governance Programme.


January - June 2012

Ford Foundation
ord Foundation’s Representative for Eastern Africa region, Mr. Maurice Makoloo has lauded AMWIK for taking a bold step to empower communities at the grassroots level. The official who was visiting AMWIK project sites in Maiella Location, Naivasha District called on the community to continue working together for the benefit of the whole community. He also appreciated the good relations and support of the local administration in ensuring peace and stability in Maiella region, “For a very long period the relationship between the government and the civil society was not that smooth. But now with good working relations, Makoloo also assured the residents of continued coorperation with AMWIK on various programmes to help cultivate a culture of democracy at the grassroots level. Area Assistant Chief Julius Karanja led the residents in welcoming the team amid chants and dances. Accompanying the representative were AMWIK Executive Director Ms Jane Thuo and Ford Foundation programmes Officer Susan Kihara. ‘We are encouraged that our joint efforts have contributed to the peaceful sub-division of the formerly controversial Ng’ate farm,’ Jane said, while acknowledging Ford


Representative Visits AMWIK Project Site
Foundation and Maiella residents for the support. AMWIK has established a communication resource centre in Maiella alongside a football tournament involving sixteen football clubs. Other activities being supported by Ford Foundation include a cultural event, a paralegal training and community radio listening programmes. As a beneficiary of the activities, Chief Julius Karanja says he is already empowered as he can now type his documents by himself because of the information resource centre.

January - June 2012


Out of my ‘comfort zone’
By Nasteha Mohammed

Exchange Programme

t was the 8th of December, 2011 when I jetted back to Kenya, my home country from Djibouti, where I was selected to attend a two-week Radio training by Deutch Welle , on reporting on peace and security in the Horn of Africa. left the hotel early as I didn’t want to take any chances and be left behind in Djibouti. I had missed my family very much and friends too. While at the airport I asked a colleague if I could use his laptop and went straight to check my mails. I saw the invitation to an interview by AMWIK on the exchange programme I had applied for before I left for Djibouti. To be honest I had forgotten that I had applied for the exchange programme but all in all I was so excited to have the privilege of being called for an interview by AMWIK. The notice was very short considering it was a festive closing but I managed to pull myself together and prepared myself for the interview. Early Saturday morning, the 10th of December, 2011, at exactly 9:10 am, I was at


email stating that I had been successful in the interview and that I would represent AMWIK in Tanzania! I told my mum and family about the exchange programme and they were here I come! I speak Swahili and therefore I had no worries about communication and also heard people in Tanzania are extremely polite, so I was now looking forward to go after hearing the good stories. Ms. Jane Thuo (AMWIK ED) and Lilian Juma, the me what I was required to do, at Tanzania Association of Media Women TAMWA). I must say that things were different because I was going to be out of my ‘comfort zone’ since I am a trained radio producer/ reporter and here I am expected press releases and features, handle advocacy issues and fundraising! I don’t really have a problem with features because I have been writing them but on a different platform, that is for radio and treatment is different when it comes to print. Writing press releases is another challenge although I trust that I will catch up. Ten months is quite a long time away from home but I will cope and I think I can be visiting home anytime since Tanzania and Kenya are neighboring countries and also get to explore Tanzania Insha’Allah. More important is I would like to get the best out of the FK 2012 exchange program and become a good ambassador for AMWIK and a better person in the future Insha’Allah. Thanks to AMWIK for the opportunity!

members for the interview. I was really scared of what I would be asked and how I was going to answer the questions! But thank God all went well in the interview although I was not sure if I was up for the task bearing in mind that it was going to be 10 months away from home! The following day, which was a Sunday, I received an


Yippy! “I told my mum and family about the Tanzania exchange programme here I and they were happy for me.” come!

January - June 2012

Exchange Programme


My experience in the land of ‘Chipolopolo’
By Florence Gichoya in Lusaka, Zambia The street vendors are also not left behind they are selling jerseys, t-shirts and other merchandise branded with the national colors. uch is the euphoria in Zambia that for the time I have been in the country I have experienced immense excitement and positivity and I wonder if it has always been like this. There was never a better time to be in Zambia than now. Why? power last year after a landslide victory, and with it came a new dawn for change. In February this year, the winning of the Africa Cup of Nations by Zambia’s national Chipolopolo was an icing of the cake. There is a high spirit of patriotism and pride among the Zambian people. When African Cup of Nations-2012 kicked off in Equatorial Guinea in January, most football analysts thought that Zambia had no chance of winning the Cup. They favored other participating countries like Ivory Coast, Ghana, and Senegal. However, the Chipolopolo boys surprised the critics by winning the trophy to the joy of their fans and all Zambians.They are indeed the champions of Africa. The victory of Chipolopolo, which means ‘bullets’ in Bemba language has brought a lot of business opportunities. Musicians are cashing in and I have lost count of the number of new songs that are playing on radios and local TV stations in praise of the national football team. Every day new billboards are put up by corperate companies to sell their products as well as congratulate the Chipolopolo boys.

approachable and helpful. They are also respectful and their idea of respecting the elders is greeting them while kneeling. Now that was a culture shock to me. When a child greets a parent they have to kneel and shake the parent’s hands. I had an interesting debate with my colleagues and they were surprised when I told them that in my culture we shake hands and hug as a form of greeting. They sensitized me and demonstrated how I should greet people who are older than me; by bending one knee then shaking of hands. They also forewarned me that if I ignored that and just shook the elders hand I would be perceived rude and disrespectful! The weather in Lusaka is fantastic and I love it. The main language is Nyanja and it’s easy for me to learn because of my Swahili speaking background. Many words are similar with the two languages. I also enjoy local dish nshima which is like our ugali. Caterpillars are also a common delicacy among the Zambians; though I must admit that I’m yet to gather courage to eat them. were tougher than I expected, I was really homesick but every time I called my family and friends from Kenya I felt much better. I have started working and I’m settling in well. As I make more friends every day and explore Zambia, I’m feeling more ‘at home’.
January - June 2012


Zambia is a Christian nation, about 99 work I asked a colleague Sally, if Muslims and Hindus represented the one percent and she joked that many Zambians don’t know the difference between Muslims and Hindus. Interestingly, the current president Michael Sata declared that Zambia shall be governed by the Ten Commandments as written in The Bible. for shopping and woe unto me because Lusaka streets were literally empty, shops and supermarkets were closed for the day. I asked a passerby why this was so, she was surprised by my question and told me obviously it is a Sunday and everyone goes to church. I told her that I am from Nairobi-Kenya and at home whether it’s a Sunday or a public holiday, you can shop any day and some supermarkets are open for 24 hours! Since then I always ensure to buy what I need before Sunday. I am also getting familiar with the local currency - Zambian Kwacha. This is the have coins; here it’s just notes. Zambians are nice people, very friendly,


Exchange Programme

Nepali Culture: Unity in Diversity
hen interacting with friends in Addis Ababa (at preparatory seminar of FK participants) in January 2012, I had to explain several times that I’m not Indian. My friend Kalpana was not Chinese but Nepali. We realized the cultural and genetic closeness of Nepalese people with neighboring China and India. The Mount Everest was understood to be in India and the founder of Buddhism who is also known as the ‘Light of Asia’ was understood to be born in India. This did not disappoint me but I saw the need to talk about my small, beautiful country, Nepal. Nepal is small but its diversity is big. It is renowned for two major icons, the Mount Everest and Gautama Buddha. Mt. Everest, the pride of Nepal is the highest mountain on earth, with a height of 8,848 metres/ about 29,028 feet above the sea level. The in honor of Sir George Everest, the British Surveyor General from 1830-1843 who had mapped the Indian subcontinent. Besides Everest, Nepal again boasts of eight of the world’s ten tallest mountains called Sagarmatha in Nepali. Lord Buddha, a spiritual teacher from the Indian subcontinent, on whose teachings Buddhism was founded was born in Nepal. Budhism is a religion and philosophy indigenous to the Indian subcontinent and encompasses a variety of traditions, beliefs, and practices largely based on teachings attributed to Gautama, who is commonly known as the Buddha (meaning “the awakened one” in Sanskrit and taught in the eastern part of Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th centuries BCE (Before Common Era). He is recognized by Buddhists as an awakened or enlightened teacher who shared his insights to help conscious beings end ignorance, craving and suffering. However, Buddhism is a minority faith practiced by 10.7 percent of the population. Majority of Nepal’s population practice Hinduism (80.6 percent) though many Nepali do not distinguish between Hinduism and Buddhism and follow both religious traditions. There are several ethnic groups who follow their traditional religion. Muslims, Christians and other religious tradition followers are present in


a very small number, Islam (4.2 percent) Christianity (0.5 percent) and others (0. 4 percent).

Land of Many gods
With a multiplicity of groups, Nepal has several religious groups, gods and goddesses, which co-exist with the major religions. There are as many gods and temples as there are people. In Hindu religion, God is the one known as Parameshwor, the god of the gods. The gods have different parts to serve, just like different departmental roles in a big multinational company. For example Bramha is taken as the creater, Bishnu is taken as the saviour/ provider and Maheshwor (Shiva) is taken as destroyer or balancer. They are worshipped as different visualizations as idols (Murtis). In Hinduism, a Murti typically refers to an image which expresses a Divine Spirit. Murti is a representation of a divinity, made usually of stone, wood, or metal, which serves as a means through which a divinity may be worshiped. It is believed that having a Murti (sculptures of god) at home or building will save you from bad luck. It is not compulsory for all the buildings but it is a matter of choice. Tantric traditions are deep rooted in Nepal, including the practice of animal male, are considered acceptable for chickens, and ducks.

Manju Khanal
It is a small country but with a huge diversity. The Nepalese migrated from via Assam. Nepal is a multilingual society. According to National census of Nepal 2001 there are 92 languages spoken in Nepal. Many of them are almost dead. However, Nepali is the main language. It is said that almost 90 percent of Nepalese can speak Nepali language. English language is compulsory in the school as an international language but only private schools in the cities use English as the means of communication.

Proudly Nepali
I feel proud to be a Nepali woman. Democratic Republic of Nepal, and whose capital city is Katmandu, is a landlocked sovereign state located in South Asia. It is located in the Himalayas and bordered to the north by the People’s Republic of China, and to the south, east, and west by the Republic of India. It has an area of 147,181 square kilometers and a population of approximately 30 million people.

Caste system
Nepal is deeply rooted in the traditional the caste system. There are four major hierarchal levels, in Hindu tradition. They are Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaishya and Sudra. It is said that religiously the Brahmins have two major jobs of


January - June 2012

Exchange Programme
worshiping and teaching. They are considered to be the upper most caste. The Kshatriyas are the rulers and armies, Vaishyas are known to do business related work while the Sudras are servants. However, the religious work division does not prevent any caste to work in other sectors presently. Today, Brahmins have in government service. Similar things are observed in other castes too. The law of the state does not discriminate anyone but many castes are still considered to be untouchable. They are discarded by the so called upper castes. While the caste system is still unbroken today, the rules are not as rigid as they were in the past. Because of western education, contact with foreigners, media, and modern communications, people are progressive in many aspects. The castehierarchy is losing its grip in Nepalese caste system. In 1962, a law was passed making it illegal to discriminate against the untouchable castes. In practice

Manju, 2nd right with other FK exchange participants during the preparatory course in Addis Ababa
however, discrimination still continues today in some parts of the country. In the past, when Brahmins and Kshatriyas came in contact with the Sudras, they would sprinkle water on their body and some do not even care at all. strong social and communal values of the Nepali people. Few things in Nepali culture take precedence over a wedding and most people treat the time as the opportunity of a lifetime and a time to hold back and celebrate with varieties of foods, fun and dancing. Castes are in many ways an extended family. And there are cultural rules that require one to marry into the same caste, but not the same family. There are many small villages today that are predominantly one family. Therefore it is common that a one must look to neighboring villages to marry. However there are some commonalities in weddings. In most of the marriages the bride wears red Sari as she goes to bridegrooms home. There will be feasts on both sides. All the relatives and neighbours are invited. Some castes have a tradition of wedding with their cousins (Son or daughter of their mother’s brother or father’s sister).

In Nepal, marriage is considered to be the essential thing to have a sexual relationship. Sex before marriage is socially unacceptable. If this happens, the girls are blamed for being immoral. There are several traditions of marriages. In indigenous communities like Kirats and Gurungs etc., marriages are organized after the boy and girl like one another. But in traditional Hindu system (especially Brahmins) marriages are decided and arranged by the families. Court marriages, love marriages and marriages at religious places are also practiced. Today, many youths, regardless of caste and culture, prefer love marriages. However, living with a boyfriend or a girlfriend before marriage is still very rare. Wedding customs in Nepal vary according to ethnic groups and castes. There different kinds of wedding ceremonies because there are varieties of castes and creeds. Weddings in the metropolitan cities have parades or cars with instruments such as trumpets and trombones, with lighting all around houses which is naturally more expensive. These weddings are completely different from the traditional village weddings. The traditional weddings are very simple but very rich in culture. These are a multi day event, which may engage an entire village. In its essence, it reveals the very

L umbini-The birth place of Buddha

Mt.Everest-The highest pick of the world

The most significant tample of L Shiva in the World ord

Nepali Bride and bridegroom in tradtional Nepalism
January - June 2012


Exchange Programme

Behold the Women’s Day in Zambia
By Florence Gichoya

Special Parades in specially designed attire for the Women’s day in Zambia


had never celebrated International Women’s day like I did this year. I was impressed that it is a public holiday in Zambia. For the past three years on this day women and progressive men come out in large numbers to march in support of women development issues. These parades take place in all the districts in the country. Pauline Songiso - my supervisor had informed me that women normally march in designated routes around Lusaka City and walk to the main venue where they march in front of the presidential dais. On the eve of International Women’s Day (IWD) the radio stations had announced that many roads would be closed for the march. My organization - ZAMWA (Zambia Media Women’s Association) organized a taxi to pick my colleague and I early and drop us at the starting point, Munali roundabout. We were strategically positioned to view the parade which comprised thousands of women and a few men who had come to support. It was a spectacular show. The women looked beautiful in their African kitenge organization dressed in a similar way. I was women employees purposely for this event. That’s incredible! I wouldn’t mind getting a beautiful, gorgeous dress every year from my employer.

They also carried banners which had their company logo and this year’s theme for IWD was Connecting Girls, Inspiring Future Mentorship for Success. Over 200 companies, organizations and government ministries were represented. In the mid-morning it started to rain, I thought the women would run for cover but amazingly they braved the rain and marched on. By midday the whole group had marched to the venue - Lusaka show grounds.

It was no wonder the event started by observing a minute of silence in honour of the women we have lost through domestic violence. Speaker after speaker emphasized that there should be zero tolerance on gender based violence. The president - Michael Sata who was in attendance commended the media for covering gender based violence stories and creating awareness on the vice. He said he was committed to ensuring women’s rights are observed. As the occasion came to a close I learnt and at the same time was entertained. Gender based violence has to stop. We need to protect

Little to celebrate
However with the backdrop of all this pomp and glamour, all has not been well for Zambian women. There are escalating cases of gender based violence towards women; hardly

all girls and women from abuse. Both women a day passes without news of a minor who injuries after being battered by the husband. Many have also lost their lives and it’s sickening. The statistics are also alarming, for instance by December 2011 a total of 11,908 cases of gender based violence were reported and from the number only 2,170 cases were brought before the courts of law. scourge. We should not give up on protecting women and the girl-child. What type of future will we have if we don’t defend them? Kenya should follow suit and make the International Women’s Day a public holiday. This would be a brilliant way to appreciate all Kenyan women for their contribution in their society.


January - June 2012

Exchange Programme

I Love You Media Women
Dear God, The people reading this; beautiful, classy and strong, I love them. Help them live their life to the fullest. Please promote them and cause them to excel above their expectations. Help them to shine in the darkest places where it is impossible. Protect them at all times, lift them up when they need you the most, and let them know when and where you are. I believe, they will always be safe in your hands. Love you Media Women!!!!

The writer,

“Be visible and vigilant all the time, and chances will simply come your way.”
My hands were shaking as I placed the letter on the table. Why would FK - World change me? What is it any way? I’m nobody special. I don’t have anything to offer. I wondered; ten months? Was this justifying that one who laughs last laughs best? Just as I had read the white letter last was the best? This scenario tickled my mind. With that thought, I remembered what my Madam always said: “Be visible and vigilant all the time, and chances will simply come your way.” I automatically thought about my radio program, Disability is Not Inability, which I thought applied to the rest of the world. I thought for a moment, busted into moving outside my house three neighbours were standing at my door. Then I asked them whether they needed help. They simply looked them why? They all responded at once: “We heard you crying.” “I was overwhelmed with joy.” I responded then apologized to them as they retreated to their apartments. It was 10 o’clock when all this happened.

will always tell us (workers) to be go-getters as well as visible. Margaret called me by her cell phone one morning, and what came to my mind was that I was to go for an abrupt assignment. When I picked the cell phone, this time it was different. She only asked me to go to me that I was to go outside my mother country. Without asking for more details I was astonished by the news and I froze! Staring at her like a statue. I could not believe that for 10 months I would be out of Uganda. Ten, again I knew I had become visible in my work which included news writing and reporting, audio editing, program mixing and presentation and research which enriched my program thus making it more entertaining and educative as well as appealing to the community. The program has touched many people, who donated items to help out and others who have developed a positive self

Now you’re on the clock!
In 10 months something will make you happy. If only you read this up to the end. But you have to tell 10 colleagues you love them, including me. Go! Remember (10) ten is our magic number, within ten months when you can make an impact within the community you are living in. Chipo went to her mail box and there was only one white letter out of ten. The rest were in blue and grey. She picked it up last and looked at it before opening, and then she looked at the envelope again after reading the other nine letters. There was no stamp, no postmark, only her name and address. Chipo Brenda, Mama Fm, P.O Box 7263 Kampala, Uganda. It read: Dear Chipo: I am going to change your life this year within ten months. Love Always FK-World

Sad moments are hard to overcome
I felt sad how my listeners would perceive it. Leaving them for ten solid months yet they had built a rapport with me. Many

Breaking News
The great woman is Margaret Sentamu Masagazi the Executive Director of UMWA (Uganda Media Women’s Association); she

I was taking the skills to other people as well. I believe my work was visible at UMWAMama FM, which is why God threw a grass on me to represent Uganda in Kenya as a journalist at AMWIK (Association of Media Women in Kenya).
January - June 2012


Exchange Programme
Before Kenya what happens
As a norm with FK participants, we went for a preparatory course that took us two weeks in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Several topics were discussed, among them Intercultural Communication, Positive Living, Globalization, and Health. My best topics were Intercultural Communication and Positive Living. Reason being these two topics are directly encountered by all the participants and if one has no positive thinking he or she will never learn or impart knowledge in a host organization or country. Thanks to Peter Watter, a Norwegian facilitator who made us understand that there are some silly and simple words that mean a lot to the people we live with. For example, Help me, Sorry, Thank you, Hi, How do I go about this? Believe me, they have a positive impact at all times and every where one goes. I may call these words corroborative words, which speed up work between individuals or work mates. They too create understanding, and yield positive and quality work. out. I was alone and out side the circle. Peter asked me once again to make sure that I join the circle. when I used force this time round it never worked until I pleaded with them saying “Please, can you let me in?” I was surprised as everyone gave me room to join them. So what we consider to be small and stupid is always useful. If I had not added the phrase ‘please’ I would be struggling to enter into the circle to date. naïve as I was Lilian helped in translating it saying that Karibu means you are welcome. Swahili word. I am realizing that it is a common word. At my new residence, I met Mercy Mwikali, who once again gave me a warm welcome as she led the three of us into the I thought the magic number ‘Ten’ might also The affection I received from other workmates at AMWIK, on arrival the following morning made me feel quite at home. Another incredible person I encountered was Joyce Nyaruai, the Programmes Assistant. she will remain a sister to me for ever. Joyce welcomed me with a broad smile as she equally welcomed Margaret Mwangi, AMWIK representative to UMWA in 2011, whom I had worked with for the last ten months during her FK-exchange. I was very sure AMWIK was a home away from home as the rest of the team comprising the Executive Director, Ms Jane Thuo, programmes manager, Marceline Nyambala, Lilian Juma, radio producer,

Now in Kenya
Nairobi, Lydia Mutenga, the Administrative am asking me to be at the airport by 11:00am, which I did. Then she informed me that I would be received at the |Jomo Kenyatta Airport at 3:00 pm. On arrival, my heart started beating faster as I imagined what would happen if the AMWIK team forgot to pick me at the airport, or if I called their numbers and they were not available, as is the scenario in Uganda when cell phones at time are off due to power shortages and constant black outs. My head got cleared up when, after collecting my luggage, I saw Lilian Juma, the forgotten her face from the shortest time we had met in Addis. She gave me a warm hug I had not gotten for long and immediately helped roll my suitcase which was quite heavy, as I insisted on helping, though in vain. Not long a gentleman got the suitcase from her and before I could say anything she introduced me to Lawrence Muriithi, the driver.

Fell a victim!
During the prep- course three participants and I volunteered to go outside the lecture room, as instructed by Peter, the facilitator. I do not know what my three colleagues did when they were asked to go in. I actually the last person to enter and I met them standing in a circle holding each other’s hand comfortably. Then Peter asked me to join them but no one was letting me in. I used force and grabbed two people and entered into the circle, but they

Muriithi. With the love they are showing me, I am very sure I will execute my work, show them love and be their friend as well in lifting women and children’s rights. Keep the spirit of uplifting and developing women for better.

Of Islamic Weddings in Uganda

n many occasions we see people celebrating their weddings differently from the way we are used to. We sometimes call it weird, for example, in some cultures, the people at the ceremony will be seen drinking water from the bride and groom’s feet. For others, the bridegroom’s aunt spends a night with the groom to prove his capability sexually, that is, the Kiganda way in central Uganda. For others a lady has to wrestle with the husband to be and if she wrestles him down then the man stands no chance of marrying her. For the Muslims it is different: The lady has no say when it comes to her wedding. When the Catholics and protestant couples step to the pulpit to say I do, for Muslims it is the father of the girl who will say I do give you my daughter to his son-in-law. All this will happen in the absence of the girl, her sisters and aunties because that ceremony only entertains the men.


A bride is welcomed by the groom’s aunt with a warm hug

Bride and groom enjoy a memorable moment


January - June 2012

Exchange Programme

The bride feeds the groom

The groom feeds the bride

The bridal party decked in traditional Kiganda regalia

Bride and groom all smiles

How it starts
Usually the introduction ceremony starts from the girl’s home; actually everything ends here in most cases. They are supposed to arrange for the arrival of the guests from the groom’s side and those escorting him, among them the groom’s father, sisters, brothers and friends. The mother is not supposed to join these people because it is prohibited in the Kiganda culture. The groom’s mother is not supposed to look into the eyes of the elders more so the bride’s father. I hear it is a taboo. The visitors are supposed to arrive at an agreed time during the day, and if they can include; paying a sum of money, giving a crate of soda, or even can be left outside the gathering for some good time before they are attended to. Meanwhile as all this happens, the rest of the people are seated enjoying music and drinks. Later they are left to enter into their tent. They are always in an identical dress code, what should not miss is the Islamic hat (Turban) known as the Entalabusi in Luganda and before they are left to seat down they have to sing the Uganda National Anthem followed by the traditional anthem. Before anything is done, priority is given to food! This is a norm and acts as a welcome message to the new family where the man is going to get a woman. It is hospitality, guess for all Ugandans! Mind you, the men are supposed to sit in a separate tent from the women’s because the two are not supposed to mix just like in the mosque.

‘it is the father of the girl who says ‘I do give you my daughter…’
Fathers say I do Just as the woman in a Christian religion would say ‘I do’ to her husband after the priest has read out the dos and don’ts, in the Islamic region, it is the father of the girl who says ‘I do give you my daughter…’ without the girl saying anything. Thereafter, the father hands over his daughter to the

the witnesses from both sides. But keep in mind that the bride does not sign anywhere since she is also not allowed to join these people. The only thing she is required to say is what she needs the husband-to-be to give her as Amahare - her token, it can be money or a cloth or car depending on what the two agreed upon. Then she will be requested to tell the men what her husband-to-be agreed to give her. Does this act show discrimination or respect? One of the elders in my wedding, the fathers are supposed to say ‘I do’ on behalf of the girl for security purposes. Muslims believe that, when the bride’s father gives the son in law the bride creates a bond in the family and the groom also feels he will be respected by the bride since they have gone through the rightful way of getting one another. In cases where the bride’s father died or is absent, the role of giving away the girl is played by one of his brothers or if there is no brother any man can give a hand so long as the bride okays it. He added that, the groom also is respected by the wife since he has not married her from the streets. The parents have a saying, ‘seek the wisdom of ages but look at the world through the eyes of a child.’ When parents give their children to men in the right the man.

is the case in Christian weddings. The ceremony is held at the bridegroom’s home. The whole act is referred to as nika word borrowed from the Arabic language, meaning ‘joining the couple.’ Any male who has knowledge about the Quran and can perform the function can preside over this give-away ceremony in him. The function of performing nika takes at most an hour. At this point there are about ten people both from the groom’s and bride’s side. It does not involve so many Sheikh - the one who performs the nika and

The father of the bride asks the groom if he accepts the bride

The groom standing before the crowd is cautioned by the bride’s father

January - June 2012


Exchange Programme

The writer, Manju Khanal (left) and AMWIK member, Margaret Mwangi

No Easy Ride for Women in Nepal
day when I visited CJMC (College of Journalism and Mass Communication) in get admission for Masters of Development Communication. She introduced the person to me, though I do not remember her name now, she was on an exchange visit to Nepal from one of the countries of Africa. Dr. Manju told me that there were few competitive opportunities for deserving students. At that time I thought I could never be selected for it, since I was joining the college after some years break with some tragic experiences. I just had to terminate a seven months pregnancy due to medical complications and was very weak, physically and psychologically. Later when I caught the speed of study, I started to dream about working differently in the social sector. I continued asking about the

opportunity. I always wanted to be the part of the global community and work for needy people. I applied to get the exchange opportunity at CJMC, Nepal. It took long to hear from them, I thought it was not for me. I vividly remember the day I got the news about my selection to participate in the exchange for women in the media. We were celebrating with family - my sister, my husband and my brother-in-law were with me. It was my birthday celebration. Dr. Manju from CJMC called me saying that I was selected to participate in the exchange and could not decide what response to give to CJMC as I was torn between accepting and rejecting the opportunity. My mind was at war. Then, suddenly, when asked to give a decision whether I accept to participate in the exchange, I heard a voice say, ‘go Manju go, see the world.’ It was my husband Gautam. My husband, who is a professional teacher and also a PHD scholar at Kathmandu University, Nepal, always remained a constant supporter of mine. This sound became the most important energy that helped me to make a decision about coming to Kenya. Dr Manju, who is also my teacher, had given me just an hour to make a decision whether I was ready to come to Kenya or not. At this moment, uncertain future. I decided to live at present I then signed a contract with CJMC. We researched a lot about the Kenya and my likely experience during the exchange period.

me. Many were in confusion including my in-laws. I do remember the reaction of my husband, when I gave him the news. He was very happy and congratulated me. My close relatives did not support me; they instead reminded me that it wasn’t good for women to go out of the country alone. I tried to convince them in vain. Only one of my cousins, a human rights activist in Nepal who has also spent some time in Africa strongly supported me and helped to convince my family. I belong to a family in Nepal where cultural restrictions are common. Daughters are over protected and are always taught to be inside the home. Though my father was a school teacher, I was hardly allowed to do things on my own. A married woman leaving home alone is still a thorny issue in Nepal. The society restricts married women working independently. Girls staying away from home for a long time invite questions on moral issues e.g. If an unmarried girl is away from home for a long time, the society suspects her of having affairs with someone else. Most of the marriages are arranged by the parents in our society. It makes it away from home. Girls are considered weak and vulnerable in every sector. Of major concern are sexual relationships. The society thinks that the girls/ females may not be able to save them. The rules are neglected for the male members. Rather, if a male member gets such an opportunity, it is blindly accepted. Any way I made it and my mind says, there is a long way to go. The journey has just started. My husband is the one who inspired me to continue my second Masters degree, majoring in Development Communication. He is always different in thoughts and actions. He himself does not take anything


had seen a lady talking to Dr. Manju

Family opposition
There were both positive and negative reactions to the news, from those who knew


January - June 2012

Exchange Programme
for granted. May be this was the main reason for his immediate support. He always wanted me to develop my career independently. In our chats, he would joke that he wanted to live on my earnings. We are too much attached and caring to one another. We discuss and decide jointly about family matters. May be he had dreamed this happening to me and was happy to accept the offer, though he had never gone out of the country. Finally I became part of FK- Norway and AMWIK, I’m getting blended with the new place, culture, and people. be no mix of the food containing beef. However, at the end of training I got used to things and started to feel at home as all the participants were very close friends. When I went back to Nepal after the preparatory course, people were excited to ask about culture, the people of Ethiopia and the training. I was happy to share my experience with them. My only worry on arrival was that I did not get my baggage at Tribhuvan International Airport. It was delayed or miss placed. I received it after three days. I learnt a lesson: I started to carry my hand peace with at least a pair of clothes. After completion of the preparatory course at Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, I was by the opportunity to live and work outside Nepal. At the airport in Kathmandu, we were asked to produce the original proof of being in the exchange. We had all black and white, either scanned or photocopied documents. It became a little hard to bit worried too because adjusting in a new place and culture is no easy job. When I landed at Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, for the exchange participants’ preparatory course on 22nd January 2012, I saw that the people were totally different from my country. It was a bit strange for me. Only my friend and compatriot Kalpana Bhandari and I were representatives of Asia in the media women exchange. The ten days preparatory training was very effective. The course encouraged us to think positively about working in a new place. Culture is the most important part of our days in Addis because of cultural shock. Being a Hindu we don’t eat beef. In Hindu religion we worship the cow as a goddess of wealth. It is easy to say that all cultures are superior and that we should respect them but in practice it is hard to internalize. We turned vegetarian, so that there would as I was quite nervous. I have noticed that Brenda from Uganda and I became family. She had arrived earlier in Nairobi and became my guide. We became very when Brenda went back home to Kampala to bring her baby two days later I felt very lonely in the apartment. Alone, I school, college and university classes could not remember the direction to the I realized I had become so dependent on my friend. I was like a new born baby In Nairobi. Everything was new for me, culture, language, place, people, etc. At the apartment I felt very bored and sad. Two days later Brenda arrived with her environment. keener about my travel documents as I was not convinced that the papers I had were adequate for travel. I did not want any complication on the way. Because of my skeptical. Later my doubt became stressful to me. I communicated my concern over Visa, and waited for a solid assurance, which made me delay my entry to Nairobi for a week. However it was a learning experience. I visited embassies, including the Embassy of Nepal at UAE which in Nairobi. The seven days of confusion became a great learning experience. I was always in contact with AMWIK and received great support. I hoped to have no baggage delays in my second trip to Africa. To be different physically, culturally and socially is always odd. I am still having some stress. The person who was used to buy grocery items next door everyday had to make a seven-day plan. New food taste, new people and new language are adventures for me all the time. Nairobi is bigger than Kathmandu, roads and buildings and many other things. I have noticed more professional people than in Kathmandu. I have not visited many parts and have not had a long experience of Nairobi but will be able to know it more during my stay. But one thing is very much common in both parts of the world; the day in both the cities. Let me say that until now everything common thing is, we are human beings. The second commonality is we are women. supporters, survivors and many more, I will sweet memories. Thank you all.

Culture shock

the wonderful people here. I was excited about coming to Kenya. When preparing

First Impressions
All went well on my arrival at Jomo Kenyata International Airport as staff from AMWIK was at hand to receive me. My First experience in Nairobi was the heavy apartment. I could not even think properly

AMWIK team, from left, Radio Producer Bernard Ogoi, Manju Khanal, Yvonne Otieno, Programmes Assistant Joyce Nyaruai and Margaret Mwangi

January - June 2012


Exchange Programme

The Irony of Names
By Brenda Chipo

I wanted to take off to my apartment. Back home in Uganda, when one orders for something to eat, you are monitored and there is no way you can exit the hotel or restaurant before you eat. So when this thought crossed my mind I sat still. I waited to see if the man yelling out my name would confront me, but this never came to pass. The waiter brought my chips and I paid the price of Ksh 100 and moved away very fast thinking that one of the staff might follow me since they know my name. hit you right or faced it. Pondering about this scenario for long, I came back to my senses after narrating the whole story to Mercy David, one of my workmates and she pumped sense in me that Kenyans call chips ‘chipo!’


hen you are not certain about yourself, whom do you confront? Time and again we visit different places and hear similar words and names as our own, but, do these words have the same meaning? Poor me, I had just arrived in Nairobi ready for my exchange posting at

days, I decided to take a walk in the evenings. When moving I spotted a restaurant and jumped in to eat supper, others know it as dinner. While at the gate, I inquired from one of the waiters whether they serve chips, a junk food mostly preferred by ladies. Due to the differences in cultures, similar names have different meanings, I realized. Can you imagine visiting

a place and you are certain that no one knows you, but then suddenly you hear someone yelling out your name several times. What comes to your mind for sure? I guess you would get scared, scream and suddenly take off if not collapse thinking that someone has been stalking you. So that day as I was entering into the eating joint, one of the male cooks came shouting Chipo! Chipo! Chipo! I stared at him, wondering, “When did this man get to know me?” He was calling my name CHIPO. But when I saw him entering


January - June 2012

Exchange Programme

Passionate Bloggers in Zambia
By Florence Gichoya hy do people write? Why do people blog? People write for different reasons, to some it is a form of therapy, others to inform and sensitize and others it’s a hobby. Not all it for personal reasons. In blogging there is freedom to express yourself as you feel like without particularly following any rules. The blogger creates his or her guidelines. Some bloggers write about serious matters like politics, business while others blog on personal matters for instance a cat, children and humour. And all this is okay as long as one gets to express themselves and their feelings. I am an avid blogger and was honored to be invited by Zambian bloggers Network for a strategy meeting. The network has 30 members who are mainly from Lusaka. It was founded by an ardent blogger, ICT journalist Brenda Zulu. Brenda hatched the idea two years ago when she visited Ghana and attended the Ghana bloggers meeting. She was impressed and decided to start a similar platform in Zambia. Getting the bloggers in Zambia was not a hard task, she relied on social networks like Facebook and twitter to get the bloggers and sell them the idea.


Part of the Zambia bloggers Network, with the writer (second left)
During the strategy meeting, members decided to create a blog ring and blog collectively on contentious issues for instance, gender based violence, homosexuality, abortion and early marriages. They also agreed to have more online interactions on blogs, dgroup and other social networks. There are many challenges for Zambian bloggers thus the reason they don’t blog

‘There are many voices that are not heard in the mainstream media therefore the bloggers give those issues a voice,’

to upload video blogs and podcasts. Also not many writers have access to internet. Many bloggers are also not conscious of the blogging guidelines, some are unaware they can be sued because of their content. This especially happens when bloggers write on

Most of the bloggers are journalists interested in new media, they blog about health, politics, gender, environment etc. There are also two photo bloggers and a cartoonist. What I gathered from the meeting was that there is a gap in Zambia in areas of podcasting and video blogging. The rate of blogging in Zambia has also been very low. And the main objective for the network is to strengthen the Zambian blogosphere. Brenda emphasizes that as bloggers “we are stronger together”. There are many voices that are not heard in the mainstream media therefore the bloggers give those issues a voice.

What’s the future?
The future projects that they came up with were: They plan to have more mentorship programs for the upcoming bloggers. Also training on new media is imperative for every blogger in order to ensure more readers access their articles. Impart skills on how to make money through blogging, web designing and general awareness on blogging. Creation of more Zambian content and to set the agenda for Zambia on issues affecting the citizens e.g. water, road safety, HIV and AIDS and gender development. As the meeting came to a close the bloggers we hope to create a strong citizen voice to highlight their plight.

Brenda Zulu - Founder of the Zambia Bloggers Network

January - June 2012


Exchange Programme

My Three Months in Nairobi
By Manju Khamal (Written in April, 2012)


airobi, the city of beautiful evergreen weather invited me. I have already spent three complete months here and will understand this city more in the coming seven months. I do not think I need to open the suitcase containing winter clothes. I do not know what kind of summer will be here. At present I live in a great naturally air conditioned city, Nairobi. When I started my life and work in Nairobi, I felt alone here. I used to think no one understands me. People are totally different here. I neither understand the language (Kiswahili), nor am I used to the

face. I tried to hide it, but I could not. One Nairobi my supervisor asked me “Why are you looking worried? Do you have any problems?” I said no, but she continued asking other questions about my life. It is normal to ask a woman about her children and other womanly things. She even made me share my very personal matters. I got married about six years ago but do not have children. There were some complications on

Time continued moving forward. I started to get used to life here gradually. I started Swahili language class with my friend Chipo Brenda. Our Swahili teacher was so interesting. We enjoyed a lot his way of teaching. During the class we used to talk about our culture. When we get different things in our culture he used to say people are different “Watu ni tafauti”, he would say. Nepal and Kenya are both developing countries. Both are rich in culture. One day he was teaching us about (M/Wa) class noun. He said that there is no plural for husband in Kiswahili. I asked about “wife”. He said yes we can have wives but no husbands. I again asked him,

Manju (2nd Right) with participants during a paralegal training in Naivasha

Manju (Centre Left) recording proceedings of a workshop in Naivasha

culture. How can I stay for ten months? I kept talking to myself. Some days were like months, other days were even like a year. However I did not want to show my worry to my colleagues in AMWIK. I tried to hide it. I tried to live a complete independent life like a meditating monk. Several times I missed my home and my family who used to make me laugh, run, shout, and cry. After all we are social animals. I think I was wrong. I was not living the required social life. It has been changed a lot now.

my health. I shared my problems with her. She suggested me a famous doctor here in Kenya. During the talking I felt I am talking I felt they care for me a lot. They always noticed my worry. I was very homesick but I could not tell her about it. Sometimes small things make a person happy. When I talked with her I felt that I am not far from home. I should not be worried. Gradually family.

is it legal for a man to marry more than one wife? He again replied, yes Manju this is African culture. I again said it’s not fair in this 21st century. Then I realized that there is still polygamy system in Africa and polygyny is common. I just felt it is time for women’s right activists in Africa to advocate against polygamy. The polygamy system should be declared illegal and they should advocate it at policy level. However, it is my personal view. I have been noticing several other things related to women.


January - June 2012

Exchange Programme
me that they do everything in a democratic way but in Nepal there is no democratic system. I replied to her: “No we do have a democratic system as well. Why are you saying that there is no democratic system in Nepal?” These simple experiences both positive and negative are the sources of my learning. The world deserves to be a better world and we deserve a better society. For a woman, a better society means many things. Safety, physical, socio-cultural and emotional all are important. I still feel different and hard when as far as safety matters are concerned. In Nepal I never felt a need to have security in my apartment but here we have different channels to be crossed. I can see many tall compound walls and heavily armed security guards in every apartment. But for me it is not about nation or people again. In an informal talk, someone told me that a murder may occur for Ksh100. She said that it is dangerous to go around alone. I had heard several such comments at my home country too. A friend of my husband from Mexico also alerted me about the safety. This man had visited Nairobi home, he said. I said to him you are talking nonsense. It can be an exceptional case. It was his judgment. These things are both positive and negative. Till now I am safe and I know I will be safe. friend’s home. She was not married but had three children. I asked her who their father was. She replied that the father is not one but three. I got shocked and said what? She said a woman can have a baby without marriage. She sounded like she knew little about our culture because she does household work at my friend’s house. Again I asked who takes the responsibility of caring and educating the baby. She said it is only the mother. In our country to be a mother before marriage and having physical relations with more than one person is not socially acceptable. Such girls/women are blamed to be characterless. Those things only apply to women not for men. The women do not get respectable life. The people in Nepal hesitate to talk about physical relationships but in Kenya they talk openly. The good thing is the mother having children without husband lives respectable life in Kenya but the responsibility of caring children only goes to the mother which is not fair. The of children is beyond imagination. I ask myself, what should be the role of women activists on this matter? I am experiencing Nairobi. I have met some friends from Nepal which is helping to reduce my homesickness. The small bits of life are creating big meanings. It is not the particular animal or plant that carries meaning in itself. It is that you make meanings. I respect every human being, every religion, and every culture. But I should be free to think, express and live in my way without hindering others. This should be the world culture. This is the democracy. This much, is what I could dig out for today.

‘He shouted at me loudly and said to go back. There was no seat to sit. I moved back and felt bad,’

All the developing countries need special provisions to minimize discriminations caused by traditional orthodox culture and gender related social practices. I was amazed one time in the language class. When discussing about the dowry system, we found totally different practice here in Kenya and in Nepal. In Nepal the dowry is paid by the father of the bride, but in Kenya it is paid by the groom. All of us, my teacher, Chipo Brenda, and I were shocked and said together “watu ni tafauti!”

I remember that day when AMWIK organized a wonderful lunch to welcome us at the Royal Kitchen in Westlands. Previous FK participants from AMWIK were also invited. It was a great opportunity to know each other. AMWIK is like family, we Otieno who was representing AMWIK in Nepal in 2011 talked a little bit with me in Nepali. I felt good to talk to her. It was the great moment to acquaint with AMWIK staff. The executive director of AMWIK, Ms Jane Thuo welcomed us warmly for lunch. Before eating lunch we prayed. It was a new thing for me. They always pray before starting to do something. And the every moment I was learning new things. I was not experienced with Christianity and their way of praying and worshipping. So I was feeling different. Even for them, our religion, god worshipping, praying are new things. I remember one time during a workshop in Naivasha, one of the participants of the training organized by AMWIK asked me why I was not eating beef. I told him that we Hindu worship the cow as the goddess of wealth. He laughed at me and asked; “don’t you drink milk?” He was right. I am still thinking about his question. Wrong and right are all situational. I had another experience which is crucial for me. I found a woman at my

For me, every culture is rich and every single person has a different philosophy and carries different culture. People are different in the world even in one country, culture or place. One day I was waiting for a Matatu near my home street. It took quite long before one arrived. There was only one seat. I sat on that seat .Other people also entered into the Matatu. The conductor addressed me in Swahili but I did not understand. The second time, he shouted at me loudly and said to go back. There was no seat to sit. I moved back and felt bad. At that time I remembered my friend who stays in Kenya and works for an international organization. He’d wondered why I use Matatu, because to him, it was not safe for us. But another day at the same bus stop I was waiting to cross the road at noon. It was very hot. Road construction work was going on. Vehicles were moving woman in a car saw me and stopped to let me to cross the road. I thanked her very much. I remembered my teacher again with “watu ni tafauti”. We cannot judge people by looking at other people. I found the differences between those two people. Both were Kenyan. I realized that we cannot look at their culture and judge the people such as, Nepali people are like this and Kenyans are like that. During AMWIK members’ meeting one of the members told

“watu ni tafauti!”
I was amazed one time in the language class. When discussing about the dowry system, we found totally different practice here in Kenya and in Nepal
January - June 2012



The Much Needed Push
Grace . W. Kamuyu.


hen I joined the Media industry in 2007 straight from college, a friend of mine introduced me to AMWIK, telling me of how great the organisation is and how I networks that I will form brushed her aside thinking that she was on a marketing venture for the organisation and I even postponed the registration to a latter date. But after some time, I started feeling the need to be in a professional group and remembered the offer my friend had talked to me about. One afternoon in March 2009, after getting lost on the way, I walked straight to the AMWIK membership. Since then, I have not

of being in the group are, but I also have felt the changes in my professional life. I have been able to grow my network of like minded people in the media industry in Kenya and beyond, I have attended various trainings organised by AMWIK and through the daily update on current opportunities, I have been able to apply and get employed in two jobs with major International NGO’s in the country. To put the icing on the cake, AMWIK has enabled me grow other skills that I never thought I had, those of Marketing. During last year’s fundraising dinner, I was able to sell the idea to the Director of the college I was lecturing and they ended up being a corporate sponsor to the event. I am grateful

for the encouragement I received from the Fundraising Committee and the AMWIK secretariat in general. I am looking forward, to even participating in more activities slated for the year, and I would like to encourage all the women in the media, or those aspiring to join the media, that AMWIK

is the professional body to professionally, but you will also get an opportunity to grow as a person through various CSR activities that the members are involved in. To the AMWIK secretariat, asanteni sana! and keep up the good work!


Mama take me
Beatrice, now in Form Four is AMWIK’s ‘adopted’ child who has been under the care of Shangilia Children’s home since 2004.
Oh! No! No! No! Please don’t marry me off to that old man. Old enough to be called my father. Not even my father, I had grandfather! Please mama, I want a pen and a book. To be my husband now. Mother, have you forgotten that we are in the 21st Century? Where technology is more advanced everywhere. Mama give me a pen and a book to go to school. House chores have become my daily routine. While some girls are more educated and with their own degrees mama. Don’t you have guilt conscience your daughter being married off to that old man mama? The only thing I want is a pen and a book and even a laptop if possible and available. I have a dream to become a doctor to treat the less fortunate in my poor society where girls don’t get a chance to become educated. I have a dream to become a teacher and teach my fellow young energetic children. This can only be achieved by only giving me a pen and a book to go to school. Shall you mama please.

to School

Beatrice Kagwe (right) with a friend, Faith Njeri after participating in a beauty contest at St. Mary’s Sch Langata

By Beatrice M. Kagwe


January - June 2012


Kiswahili Department
allo, I am a member of AMWIK and now that the organisation deals with media people especially women in the media industry who use both English and Swahili during their show presentations, reading of news, carrying out interviews etc, I suggest that we should have a swahili department that will also encourage our members to speak Swahili well because its part of our course in the media industry.


I love swahili myself and that’s the area of my specialisation in this industry though I also love English much. The department will have Swahili books, will produce Swahili magazine about AMWIK putting in mind not all people can read English, will organise for Swahili dramas and poems and above all people will also learn Swahili because now Swahili is on demand as a language. I also noticed that during the meetings not many people practice speaking Swahili when delivering information so this will also help much especially to students. I have studied diploma in Swahili and I am a member of Swahili department in the country. I kindly request for this department.

Thanks and God bless you Irene Nasimiyu,

Good Work at Maiella Resource Centre


have visited your resource centre at Maiella and you are doing good and wonderful work towards the community. I met with young people who were accessing the internet and I was so encouraged. I reside near Maiella but on the other side

of Mai-Mahiu in the interior of Mt. Longonot. We have been working so closely with women who are doing a project on re-usable sanitary pads towards the vulnerable community. Thank you for supporting these communities and continue with that heart.

John Kamau

January - June 2012



T anzania Woman Battles

the Odds With HIV
By Nasteha Mohammed
er wrinkled face is a testimony of the years she has lived. Tall and dark and dressed in her favorite kitenge dress, Huluka Mohammed walks comes across. Twenty years ago, this 56-yearold mother of nine braved the stigma to publicly declare her HIV status when no one dared to do it for fear of discrimination from the society. she came to pay a visit. “I got infected with the virus 23 years ago when little was known about the killer disease. That is how it was referred to back in the days. There was a lot of discrimination about the disease and those who infected or thought to be suffering from it were regarded as cursed people or simply people with no morals in the society,” Huluka told me. In 1989 Huluka gave birth to a baby girl at the Aga Khan Hospital in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. “That year God blessed me with a but as time passed by, she started falling sick frequently. At six months, her health condition was getting bad by the day. This forced me to take her to the hospital and that is how the doctors told me that my baby was HIV positive,’’ she narrated, memories that broke her heart, evident from her facial expression. ‘’This really took me by surprise, there was nothing they could do and I started questioning the doctors about how this was possible? That’s when I was informed by the doctors that I had passed the virus to her, meaning I was HIV positive, something that I never expected.”

The highs and lows of a woman who has lived with the HIV virus for more than 20 years despite all negative talk about the disease back in the early years of HIV reports in Africa, tells of the story of hope and faith:


And it did not end there. She jumped from one misfortune to another and her husband chased her away with her Six-months-old baby. “My husband disowned me and the baby, throwing us out of our matrimonial home and I had nowhere to go. I became very desperate as I depended on him. I was a house wife. He told me to leave together with the baby and accused me of immorality. I was forced to seek refuge with my family, and I was lucky that they did not abandon neither did they discriminate me. At the time, anyone found with the disease was looked down upon, chased, rejected or even killed. But my family accepted me with open hands,” she said.

“My husband disowned me and the baby, throwing us out of our matrimonial home and I had nowhere to go...”

But amid the relief of the support from her family, it appears other challenges came her way. “After 14 years, I lost my daughter to HIV related illnesses and this left me devastated. It was hard to accept the news and soon after my immune system became weak. My CD4 counts dropped from 300 to 60. Soon after, she tells me, she was put on anti retroviral drugs (ARVS) to date. The drugs are meant to slow down the progress of multiplication of the HIV virus in the body. The drugs are also meant to slow down the damage to your immune system. Once the virus is reproducing at a slower rate, it is less able to harm your immune system. If your immune system is functioning properly, your body is less likely to become sick. defense system against infection. ARV’s slow down the damage to your immune system, if they are used properly

and they allow you to live a longer and a healthier life. But what kept her going, I asked. “I am happy with my status and I accepted it, I don’t ask myself questions such as why me, who infected me, such questions will only take me to the grave early and I mind my business and to me I consider that is a waste of time.” struggled to educate her last born son aged 24 today, the son is studying law, “ I am happy that I have seen my son through school and now a second year student at the university studying law. I have struggled to pay school fees through the to sometimes sewing traditional African cloths (vitenge’s) she tells me with her smile on her face. In 2002 the Tanzanian Association of Media Women, (TAMWA) encouraged a group of men and women to come out disease that was silently killing people


January - June 2012

in Tanzania. “In 2002 in a group of 20 people both men and women living with the virus, we decided to go public with our status so that we could tell and inform people that its true HIV is here with us, the news was captured in all stations and newspapers across the country, we were doing this to enlighten the community on the effect of the disease,” she narrated. Today Ms Huluka is a counselor at her local area of Bunju and offers hope and courage to the affected and counsels young people on the importance of being faithful to one’s partner, safe sex, knowing one’s status and staying positive. Ms Huluka’s is one of many people hoping for a cure for HIV AIDS one day. “I would, one day, despite my old age, like to see 100% cure for HIV, a disease that has brought shame, pain, suffering, stigma and discrimination in the society,” she concluded. Stigma and discrimination in Tanzania is quite high and less people know about their rights to health care. This has led to many patients with the HIV viruses mistreated and stigmatized by the society and eventually face immature deaths. According to a research carried out in 2010 by the Tanzania Commission for Aids (TACAIDS), 130, 000 new infections occur annually in the country and 1. 5 million people have already succumbed to the disease. There have been numerous trials little success. Only recently did a team of scientists from the United States approve the use of Truvada, one of the ARVS drugs. This is after showing its effectiveness in combating the spread of the disease by 90%. The drug helps HIV positive from infecting their partners when engaging in unprotected sex. But they also warn that the drug has to be taken on daily basis by the HIV + partner. Indeed, Huluka is the best example today of an HIV survivor with true testimonies that HIV related and untimely deaths can be prevented, not only in Tanzania, but also worldwide and this can only be achieved if one accepts his status and battle to make the virus inactive as a way of avoiding their immune system drop.

“In a group of 20 people both men and women living with the virus, we decided to go public with our status so that we could tell and inform people that its true HIV is here with us”

January - June 2012



Jane Thuo
Executive Director

Marceline Nyambala
Programmes Manager

Lilian Juma

Bernard Ogoi
Radio Producer

Charles Mugo

Joyce Nyaruai
Programmes Assistant

Mercy David

Lawrence Muriithi


January - June 2012


MISSION AMWIK seeks to use the media to promote an informed and gender responsive society in Kenya and Africa. VISION A just society in which the media embraces and promotes equitable development, human rights and women’s rights. OBJECTIVES To promote the right of use of information to create a society that has equitable access to opportunities. To create an informed and resourceful society through professional development and transformation of the media to enhance the status of women in Kenya. To ensure balanced media coverage of women’s issues by training journalists on gender sensitive reporting concerns To foster the understanding of issues affecting women through the media To organize and unite media women in fellowship and link them with similar organizations elsewhere CORPORATE VALUES The values that underpin the operations of AMWIK are: Professional ethics Honesty and Integrity Transparency and Accountability Respect for Human rights.

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Association of Media Women in Kenya Wendy Court, Hse No. 6 David Osieli Rd, Off Waiyaki Way, Westlands P.o. Box 10327-00100 Nairobi,Kenya Tel: +254 20 4441226 Tel/Fax +254 20 444 1227 Mobile: 0722/0737 201958 Email: Website:

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