By Roseline Orwas – founder of Rona Foundation, Kenya
Rona Foundation is a widow human rights organisation in Kenya. Our work is dedicated to the advancement of the welfare of women and girls, mostly widows. The Global 16 Days Campaign is an organising strategy for individuals and groups around the world to call for the elimination of all forms of gender-based violence against women.
In Kenya, as in many countries in sub-Saharan Africa, HIV has magnified problems in unequal property and inheritance with cultural norms that deny widows body autonomy. On paper, Kenyan laws recognise women’s rights to own and inherit property, but in practice, upon the death of a husband – many women are chased away from their land, and access to justice is hard to obtain.
Young widows are even more vulnerable and exposed to intimate partner violence due culturalization of sexual violence, illiteracy and poverty. A large percentage of widows are disinherited and left homeless and destitute by relatives and greedy lawyers, making them more vulnerable to abuse, exploitation, and illness.
During this year’s 16 Days of Activism themed; ‘Orange the world: End violence against women now!’ Rona aims to amplify the widows’ voices through an online campaign.
Our campaign involves an individual recording and sharing a one-minute video to Celebrate, Advocate and Encourage reporting, improved prevention and response – of gender violence and other widowhood instigated forms of violence.
This campaign lobbies and engages individuals to take action to be a safe space for widows of all ages. The videos will be shared on all our social media platforms with the aim of increasing knowledge and improving community participation on widow matters.
The outcome of this activity is to break the silence on widow matters, by known and unknown actors, male champions, youth and women leaders. It will also strengthen and amplify existing government and partner networks to defend and protect those rights, and create more widow-aware and inclusive interventions and policies.
Look out for our social media posts and tweet us your videos!
Rona Foundation on Twitter: @RonaFoundation