Aniceta with recent WGEP graduate Caroline
WGEP Kenya Program Director Aniceta has been a tireless champion of girls' and women's rights for over 20 years. Please enjoy the following interview WGEP recorded during our recent trip to Kenya:
WGEP: In your 20+ years of advocacy work, what has been your greatest success?
Aniceta: My greatest success is to have helped in changing minds and attitudes. Before we began our work, harmful cultural practices that prevented girls from pursuing education were very prevalent. Since we have been working in Tharaka, we have seen a great reduction in rates of FGM/C (female genital cutting) in the region. This has resulted in more girls attending and graduating from school.
WGEP: What has been your greatest challenge?
Aniceta: Our efforts have received a great amount of opposition from within different communities. The communities in which we work have very strong and deeply held traditions, so people are very reluctant to change and suspicious of those who hope to make change. At times the opposition has been so strong and demoralizing that I wanted to quit, but I just remind myself that I am doing this work for girls who cannot voice what they need. I am giving them a voice.
WGEP: How have you seen things change for women and girls?
Aniceta: Although there is much work still to be done, circumstances are better now for women and girls. More girls are in school and are performing well in school. There has also been a change in attitudes regarding girls' abilities and potential. Girls dream of becoming pilots, doctors and lawyers and they are supported because more people now understand that it is one's dedication and effort that determine their success, rather than their gender.