Gender matters in Kenya have been mentioned almost in every development policy coined in this country. Inclusive development requires that gender issues are not only laid down in writings, but that these issues are addressed conclusively.
There is quite a lot that needs to be done. The most unfortunate thing is that the government is aware of this; they even have all implementation plan set. However, nothing practical seems to be happening on the execution part.
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On December 5, 2019, My leader Kenya (MLK) partnered with the Just A Pad initiative for their first Gender event in Kibera dubbed, ‘Pathways to a Better Tomorrow.’
Pathways to a Better Tomorrow was basically a career fair. This was aimed at equipping marginalized teenagers in Kibera Slums with skills and knowledge to make informed career choices.
It is easy to forget the young ones living in slums where career talks are concerned. This is because most of these talks happen in some big hotels where only people of that calibre get access. In collaboration with MLK, Just a Pad therefore decided to go find these young ones right where they are.
This initiative seems to be unique in that their approach to gender matters is two way. Although Just a Pad empowers girls and women in Street Families and in the slums on Menstrual Health and Hygiene, they have not forgotten the boy child.
They are not only running mentorship program for teenage girls, but are also trying to handle both girls and boys on relevant matters striking a balance on gender matters.
“We reached out to about 130 teenagers (both boys and girls) who are in upper primary and secondary schools across the country. We also had talks on Menstrual Health Management, facilitated by Straight Talk Kenya, which was also one of the partners in the event.” Said Winnie Kabintie – Founder, Just a Pad initiative.
During this event, Just a Pad was able to share sanitary kits with the girls.
“Just a Pad initiative has given me an opportunity to touch lives here at Kibera as we interracted with the teenagers on various matters regarding gender. We have had a successful career fair and we will not stop here. MLK will endeavour to support initiatives making an impact to transform Kenya by all means we can.” Said Alphonce Juma- CEO, My Leader Kenya.
Gender matters in Kenya can never be buried under the soil, it is a subject that cannot be overlooked. They are and will remain with us for as long as we are human. At My Leader Kenya, Gender Equality is one of key focus areas. The organization continues to collaborate with youth-led initiatives in this space, for instance, Just a Pad to make the world more gender inclusive.