Author: Zawadisha

Ensuring Girls are Empowered to Avoid Post-Colonial Pitfalls

Our recent work with strengthening resilience in rural Kenya has brought to light an important issue on women’s empowerment: the lasting impact of colonial rule that continues to hinder women’s full leadership capacity and capabilities. This has forced us to take a step back and reexamine our approach to development in the community. Despite the strong female leadership in the community, there is a strong need to please. Women of all ages, still struggle to challenge perceived figures of authority even when what is proposed may go against cultural norms or what they think is best for the community. They are driven by the constant need to say yes, and agree while inwardly saying no. Instead of standing up and speaking up, the tendency is for them to shut down. As an organization seeking to make a long lasting impact in the community, we have found this to be quite a challenge. What is now considered a thing of the past, the effects of colonialism continue to be manifested in the lives of many women in rural …

Uplifting A People and Place

Winnie Anyango lives in a modest apartment on the outskirts of Nairobi. Concrete floors and walls are softened by brightly colored paint. Handmade doilies line her furniture, a popular way of decorating in Kenya. A corner of the living room is dedicated to her worship. Pictures of Jesus and Mary sit atop a table, holy water and rosary beads next to them awaiting one of Winnie’s daily prayers. Water runs from her sink, and although it is unsafe to drink without purification, she considers herself lucky to have such an amenity in her home. Winnie’s modest lifestyle is not what one would expect when you consider what she has accomplished in her lifetime. The mother of eight, she was determined to give her children a better life. Winnie ensured that all of her girls and boys attended primary and secondary school. While raising her children, she was struck by the incredible violence that women faced. When a young woman was found dead on her family’s doorstep, brutally killed nearby Winnie’s home, she became emboldened by …