Hivos East Africa

East Africa

Sexual Rights and Diversity

While on a flight from Washington DC to Copenhagen, I sat next to a charming middle aged African American lady who just started working as an event planner for a large tech company in San Francisco. During the conversation, I mentioned I was coming back from a conference where I presented a report on Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender (LGBTI+) Workplace diversity and inclusion. Initially, she feigned interest but her body language and facial expressions betrayed her. Her smile and charm faded in an instant. I thought to myself, “Girl, San Francisco, is the ‘most’ gay place in the world.

The promulgation of the constitution of Kenya 2010 was received with a lot of excitement and expectations from all Kenyans. It was seen to address all problems experienced in the preceding eras that were largely dictatorial where the government did not allow the majority to speak with the minorities silenced. Furthermore, the constitution brought with it an expanded bill of rights which for many Kenyans validated their right to freedom of expression, access to information, freedom of association, freedom of assembly, demonstration, picketing and petition.

During the week of 8 March - International women's Day - Hivos is sharing stories of some of the amazing and powerful women we support worldwide. This year's theme is: “Rural and urban activists transforming women’s lives”.

The Samburu tribe is a proud cattle-keeping community in Kenya widely known for their colourful dress and cultural traditions. ‘Samburu’ means butterfly in English. Yet this fancy-free creature also describes a community where the women mostly stay at home, raise children and depend on their husband’s income to run the household.

In 2014, I was struck by a CNN interview with Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, then Nigeria’s finance minister, in which she was asked about her country’s new draconian anti-LGBT law which had been signed just two months before. The “Same-Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act”  criminalized public displays of affection between same-sex couples and restricted the work of LGBTI organizations.

World AIDS day on December 1 is always a global opportunity for people to unite in the fight against HIV. Back in 1988, World AIDS Day was the first ever global health day. As Hivos, we acknowledge our support and respect for people living with HIV and remember the many people we have worked with and those who have needlessly passed away. 

By Fauzia Mohammed

The question as to whether it is a permissive society, a blind eye by the community, an ill-bred culture or weak policies at institution level that has prompted sexual harassment incidences to sky rocketing numbers remains unanswered. Regrettably, sexually inappropriate remarks towards women at work places, educational centers and society at large have been normalized while the general public dismisses it as “men will always be men”.

Increasingly companies are realizing that they exist beyond making profits and have a key role to play in improving the lives of the people they serve or interact with-whether it’s their customers, employees or the society at large.

There are a few critical moments in the lifespan of a grant-making programme: Those moments in which you need to press pause, contemplate the journey so far, and look back at your achievements and challenges. After one year of grant-making, filled with work on designing and refining four different types of calls for proposals, reviewing over 1000 grant applications from ten countries spread out in 3 regions, Voice needed a moment to reflect on whether we have actually been engaging with the right audiences.

The Transgender Education and Advocacy (TEA) organisation recently obtained official registration by the NGO Coordination board in Kenya, a step towards ensuring they operate legally without fear of intimidation.This journey started when a landmark ruling in 2014 by the High Court of Kenya ordered the NGO Coordination Board to register the group.

Hivos East Africa’s Communications Officer sat down with Audrey Mbugua to understand the transgender movement in Kenya and how the journey has been for them in respect to human rights.

This is the question we sought to answer on 5 July 2017 when we congregated in Nairobi with various stakeholders across sectors during the launch of the colorful workplaces programme. I must say I was quite nervous when we were putting this event together. I wondered how it would be received by different people especially those in the private sector. 

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