The Betty Adera Foundation is a Kenyan based non-governmental entity currently implementing Health; Leadership, Economic Empowerment; Peace, Justice, Cohesion and Governance; Water, Sanitation and Environmental Management Programs. The Foundation is founded on the premise that if communities are engaged and educated, their potential will be unlocked leading them to make better and informed decisions in every aspect of their lives. Motto: Unlocked Potentials, Secured Futures Vision: Restore honour and self-worth as a pathway towards peace with oneself and peace with the environment Mission: Develop meaningful partnerships, capacity building, stakeholder engagement and dialogue and use A... read more The Betty Adera Foundation is a Kenyan based non-governmental entity currently implementing Health; Leadership, Economic Empowerment; Peace, Justice, Cohesion and Governance; Water, Sanitation and Environmental Management Programs. The Foundation is founded on the premise that if communities are engaged and educated, their potential will be unlocked leading them to make better and informed decisions in every aspect of their lives. Motto: Unlocked Potentials, Secured Futures Vision: Restore honour and self-worth as a pathway towards peace with oneself and peace with the environment Mission: Develop meaningful partnerships, capacity building, stakeholder engagement and dialogue and use Art to unlock human potentials and secure futures Focal Areas: 1. Gender Based Violence When I let out my own story of Domestic Violence, hundreds of women, young and old; rich and poor; educated and uneducated; influential and lowly; Christian and Muslim; Luo, Kikuyu Kalenjin, Luhya etc all reached out to me with a resounding 'Me Also' script with most of their stories being more horrifying than my own. Gender Based Violence (GBV) is on the increase in Kenya with various types being predominant in specific parts of the country. Child marriages, early marriages, forced marriages, Female Genital Mutilation and Cut, all forms of rape including incest and sodomy, physical violence, sexual harassment, domestic violence, intimate partner violence, trafficking for purposes of sexual exploitation, forced exposure to pornography, and bullying. While these may appear to be more skewed to girls and women, boys and men also experience extreme forms of GBV perpetrated by both men and women and include sodomy, assault, domestic violence, sexual exploitation, forced pornography and all forms of bullying. GBV erodes the dignity of those affected and stripes them of all self-worth and confidence. It instils fear, self-blame, regret, isolation and shame. GBV is a human rights violation, poses public health and education challenges, and creates barriers to civic, social, political and economic participation. While numerous efforts to address GBV have been put in place for a while, perhaps the root cause of it is yet to be addressed and that is by reaching the boy child and men also. There are various difficulties with this issue some of which include: a) the difficulty to talk about it due to protection of the family, culture and in some cases religion in the case where the perpetrator is known to the victim or survivor; b) the difficulty of reporting when the perpetrator is part of law enforcement or influential in society; c) difficulty related to fear of not being 'believed' especially in cases of minors; d) difficulty of long, rigorous and costly court processes that tend to feel like adding 'salt to injury' on the survivors; e) difficulty related to culture of not talking about or looking at 'private parts' as would be required in the case of sexual violence on both girls/boys; men/women; f) difficulty related to living with the 'shame' of GBV; g) difficulty related with poverty whereby it sadly makes most sense for victims' families to be easily paid off to drop the cases; h) difficulty related to the perpetrators being 'sick' but ordinary people such as fathers, pastors, teachers, CEOs, politicians, neighbours; and i) difficulty related to the fact that acts of GBV often occur in places that are considered 'safest' which includes, homes, schools, work places, churches etc. GBV has also been identified as a significant driver of HIV infections in women in sub-sahara Africa. Moreover violence against women and girls is associated with an increased risk of acquiring sexually transmitted infections, a risk factor of HIV. According to UNAIDS, women who have experienced violence are up to three times more likely to be infected with HIV than those who have not1. Women fearing violence are less able to protect themselves from infection: They do not have the power to negotiate for safe sex or to refuse unwanted sex and they do not get tested for HIV. Violence can also be a barrier in accessing HIV prevention, care, and treatment services. To effectively prevent HIV; we must therefore address GBV. 2. Ongoza Dada: Girls and Young Women Lead Initiative 'Ongoza' is Kiswahili verb for 'Lead' while 'Dada' is Kiswahili word for girls/young women. Ongoza Dada Initiative is therefore about supporting, empowering and mentoring girls and young women to acquire the confidence and drive required of them to take up leadership positions at all levels. The space for women in leadership positions especially public service continues to shrink the world over. In Kenya, the story of women in leadership is one that needs thorough interrogation and adoption of innovative strategies starting with young girls if we are to have a significant cohort of the next generation of women in leadership. Young girls in schools and communities often do not have that many female leaders to look up to and hardly are they taught leadership as a life skill from a tender age. Marred with complete lack of/or ineffective mentorship opportunities; inadequate number of effective mentors; lack of/or inadequate social skills such as confidence to vie for political leadership; social-cultural and socio-economic barriers; lack of leadership skills such as public speaking, networking, manifesto writing, branding, journeying with constituents, running a campaign etc; lack of or inadequate resourcing for running a campaign; or in some cases lack of or inadequate academic/professional qualifications; girls and women often lag behind on the leadership equation and hardly feature on key decision tables whether in schools, communities, public service or corporate. Because increasing the effectiveness of leadership worldwide is important to all of us, Betty Adera Foundation implements the Ongoza Dada Initiative which targets Girls and Young Women by empowering them to become thought leaders providing thoughtfully developed hands-on capacity enhancement for emerging female leaders. The goal of the Ongoza Dada Initiative is to increase the number of girls and young women (in and out of school) aged 15 to 25 years to become thought leaders, occupy leadership positions and become the next generation of female leaders across all fields and at all levels. Building on the premise that 'girls who lead become women who lead' and 'the more women advance in leadership the more positive communities will change', the Ongoza Dada Initiative would be timely at reaching out to girls and young women in and out of school with interventions aimed at building their interest and curiosity to take up leadership positions at whatever level they are.
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