FPFK Maasai Gender & Environment Project
Magdaline Kelel:-Project leader, Maasai Gender and Environment Project
Girl child and women have the right to education”
According to the Gender and Equality Commission (NGEC), gender equality describes a social relationship where men, women, boys and girls enjoy equal opportunities and have protection to enjoy their basic rights in all spheres of life. The commission has also identified issues that drive gender inequality and exclusion of the girl child such as the socialization process, cultural and traditional factors. In the county, the girl child is left behind in the gender equality agenda. Girls face challenges that tend to hinder the enjoyment of opportunities for progress especially in education.
Gender inequality is one of the most pervasive threats to sustainable development. It has negative impacts on access to, use of and control over a wide range of resources, and on the ability to meet human rights obligations with respect to enjoyment – by women and men – of a clean, safe, healthy and sustainable environment. Environmental issues today is a pressing challenge facing the world, especially with the threats of climate change which is the greatest environmental threat of our time, endangering health, economy and communities in general. Therefore environment is a vital issue in development conversation.
The Maasai gender and Environment project worked more with solid waste management and climate change issues with an aim of building communities capacity to see the impact as well as link between conservation and standards of living. The project is mainly focused on building church leaders capacity to work on gender issues as well as strengthening the responses in the communities’ targeted.
Our Main focus will be on training’s for women, leaders, men and youth on gender and leadership, entrepreneurship as well as environment conservation focusing on solid waste management.
Naserian Siloma, a young maasai girl from the loita region of Narok County is a victim of such risky cultural practices. At the age of ten, she was forced to drop out of school despite being the best girl in school. At her age, she was selected to accompany young morans to bushes and manyattas. Since she was also a talented singer she could sing traditional songs to the morans.
During this time, Naserian was not allowed to part ways with the morans until the time of graduation after which she would be married by one of them. Her right of movement was totally infringed. As young as she was, she started to get involved in sexual practices.
Naserian went through this life for six months despite her tender age. She was bitter as she wanted to be in school like few of her age mates. No one could come to her rescue. During this period FPFK Maasai Environment and gender visited the community taught about importance of educating both boys and girls. The interception of the project was paramount as it mobilized and sensitized the community on risks these practices could pose in the life the young girls and the future of the community itself.
Mother-Daughter forum organized by FPFK Maasai Gender and Environment Project The community understood that also the girl child and women have the right to education and inclusion in decision making processes at the family and community level. The community became empowered and started shunning these practices. Girls like Naserian were brought back and taken back to school.
Naserian is now in her last year of primary education at Entasekera Mission Centre. She and the community at large are very happy about the changes. Naserian having gone through a series of trainings and seminars by the project and other stakeholders, she can now teach and inform the rest of the importance of education and the empowerment of the girl child and women at large. She also advises the community to stop gender based violence and embrace inclusive decision making processes for better families and communities at large.