About the Author
The organization Women Challenged to Challenge (WCC) increased knowledge of gender-based violence (GBV) among service providers and judiciary by conducting research and sharing information. This initiative resulted in a new coalition advocating with government institutions and a report by WCC identifying the magnitude of GBV targeting women and girls with disabilities in eight counties in Kenya.
We were successful in advocating for access to justice for women with disabilities by using a multi-sectoral approach in which key stakeholders in the community were invited to become involved in the initiative. These people are administration, community opinion leaders, religious leaders, police, judiciary, nurses, parents, and persons with disabilities. We organized multiple legal clinic meetings of women with disabilities and parents of children with disabilities to educate the community on legal mechanisms that protect disability rights. We also connected women with disabilities to legal experts to discuss ongoing GBV cases. We disseminated a report we produced on GBV against women with disabilities in eight counties and trained different service providers, school teachers, community leaders, journalists and others, on disability rights with an aim to increasing access to justice by women and girls with disabilities. In one county, we trained 28 service providers to use basic Kenyan Sign Language to facilitate communication with the Deaf community. We have sensitized a number of magistrates and prosecutors to enable them to understand disability rights as they relate to cases of abuse in order to facilitate easy access to justice.
Having attended a training workshop on effective advocacy organized through the RightsNow! project, it helped me improve my advocacy skills and methods. I learned the importance of identifying my key targets and allies and preparing in advance. Gender based violence cannot be eliminated by a one sided approach/ method. Networking and forming a coalition with people or organizations sharing the same idea is of paramount importance to amplifying our impact.
Since 2001, Women Challenged to Challenge (WCC) has given a collective voice on matters touching the lives of women with disabilities in Kenya. Through WCC, women with disabilities are able to lobby and advocate for issues of self-development with a unified voice. WCC looks at disability with a human rights lens, by identifying barriers and restrictions facing women with disabilities as the focus for reform.
WCC’s website can be accessed here: https://womenchallenged.wordpress.com/about/