There is an ongoing human hunt of LGBTIQ persons in the community by “undercover cop Hessy wa Dandora”. The said person has issued threats against the gay community saying he will expose clubs frequented by the LGBTIQ persons. There is also an ongoing shake down of queer persons in Dandora by the said person. This is a THREAT against HUMANITY where by LGBITQ persons are fearing for their lives. Areas like Dandora and Eastland’s in general are NOT SAFE and social places in Nairobi CBD.
LGBTIQ community has a right to live safely and operate safely in this country. As Positive Young Women Voices our core mandate is seeing a society where young women and girls attain social growth among others. We’d like to know in which capacity does the said undercover cop “Hessy wa Dandora” is acting in exposing queer persons and why?
In Mombasa on Saturday a non-governmental organization that protects sexual minorities at the coast was raided and two of their staff were arrested. These hostilities are targeted in silencing the minority groups in our society and we need to speak up because they are humans too that have rights to live, rights to express themselves and rights to access social places like other heterosexuals do without prejudice and discrimination of any kind.
The broader view of this is that this means less or no access to medication and treatment to LBTIQ persons living with HIV, an increase of stigma among the community and discrimination. The alleged reasons of gay crack down are the report given by police of “youth recruitment to join the community”.
Sexuality CANNOT be recruit-able. If you are gay, you are just gay. If you are straight, you are just straight. There is continual ignorance, naivety and less knowledge dissemination of information about key population to grassroots communities. On the on-going social media posts and screenshots there is a clear indication of Homophobia. The safety of LGBTIQ community is currently under siege and organizations that work with minority groups in this country. Stand with us! Is all we ask! Hear us too!
When girls are empowered to lead and have the resources they need to drive change, the possibilities are endless; and there’s nothing more rewarding than not only teaching someone how to fish, but also going the extra mile to offer them a fishing rod. This is exactly why Positive Young Women’s Voices went out of its way to partner with Fresh Cuts Foundation, The Roots Dreadlocks Center and The Muthengi Foundation to not only offer free barber training to young women in Dandora but also to donate the necessary equipment after the training.
The training that commenced on the 24th of September at Dandora Hip Hop City attracted a relatively large crowd of young women eager to acquire new skills. The excitement was palpable. The avidity to master this skill, conventionally considered as a men only territory, was apparent, evidenced by the ladies commitment to attending the weekly training sessions. Those with preference for all things beauty were not left out either as a beauty training team was also present to impart the relevant skills on the young women.
The four week training program came to a close on the 1st of October having met its intended objective of equipping the youth with skills because indeed, by the end of the four weeks some of the young women had perfected the skills, doing exceptionally well, enough to give the masters a run for their money. To crown it all, Positive Young Women’s Voices received a donation of professional WAHL hair cutting clippers to see them continue practicing and consequently, perfect the new mastered skills.
This year’s theme for the International Day of the Girl being ‘A skilled girl force’, Positive Young Women Voices is glad to be empowering young women by giving them the opportunity to acquire such technical skills. This way, young women become confident because they are talented and skilled in what they do, and their capabilities make them forces to be reckoned with.
By Lizz Abade
Group Calls for Support to enable Adolescent Girls and Young Women to prevent Sexual Health Risks and Stay on HIV Treatment
Combination HIV prevention and comprehensive support that address biomedical, structural and behavioral vulnerabilities is what is needed by adolescent girls and young women in Nairobi to enable them prevent sexual health risks, including HIV infection and to stay on life-long treatment if infected with HIV. This was the main message delivered by a team of young people under the Positive Young Women Voices (PYWV) last week to a group of leaders from the Nairobi City County, the NACC and the UNAIDS. UNAIDS Regional Director for Eastern and Southern Africa, Dr. Catherine Sozi and Nairobi County representative, Hon. Esther Passaris were among the guest who visited the adolescent girls and young women in Nairobi’s Dandora estate.
The visit to the Positive Young Women Voices occurred at a time many stakeholders and AIDS programmmers are wondering how to reduce the vulnerability of adolescent girls and young women to sexual health risks, including HIV. The vulnerability is really high among young people in the urban informal settlements. The vulnerability is also reflected among adolescent girls and young women living with HIV who are facing challenges and are not adhering optimally too HIV treatment. This was also the main challenge debated at the just concluded 2018 Scientific HIV Prevention, Care and Treatment Scientific Conference where it was reported that young people 15 to 19 years living with HIV are not achieving viral suppression to the expected levels even after enrolled on treatment. It is also in this age and especially among girls and young women where new HIV infections are still relatively high.
PYWV membership have the real issues and real solutions and engaging them in community dialogue is one way to find solutions to their vulnerability and low uptake of health and HIV services. Delivering the 90.90.90 targets by getting young people tested; those tested adhering to treatment to be virally suppressed, will require that the structural barriers such as stigma and discrimination, sexual and gender based violence, poverty, unemployment, lack of basic necessities are addressed and strategies are put in place for empowerment beyond testing and treating. NEPHAK therefore looks up to the PYWV to reach out to girls and young women and their partners to address new HIV infections and eliminate AIDS related stigma and death for the improvement of health and well-being of young people.
Continue reading “UNAIDS REGIONAL DIRECTOR DR. SOZI VISITS POSITIVE YOUNG WOMEN VOICES IN DANDORA”
The Funders Concerned About AIDS Annual Summit theme this year could not be reemphasized enough, we need to Reignite the Fight. Thirty years down the line in the HIV response there is a lot has been done and somehow we became comfortable not to follow up on where we are in the fight. When we still have trouble getting people to test for their HIV status and especially adolescent girls and young women leave alone disclose their status even to their partners, we know we missed a mile or two somewhere. It is the time to dance backwards as one of the speakers said in the summit.
Dancing backwards starts the conversations like who are the ones who have been left behind and without a doubt adolescent girls and young women(AGYW) have. We might find this strange since there are many programs for women and girls in every country more so in developing ones like Kenya. The question remains, why then the high rise of new HIV infections and AIDS related death among them. And I ask, how many of the programs have we had the AGYW at it’s formulation to it’s implementation? I am sure very few or none at all. If the AGYW are only considered as beneficiaries and not as decision makers yet these programs are to impact their lives, how are they then formulated to ensure they address their needs yet they don’t inform the programs and how they are structured.
Their is a saying that maybe has never sunk in, ‘give a fish to a person and give them forever or teach a person to fish and watch them feed themselves and others.’ Until the AGYW are seen as equal partners capable of identifying what works and what do not work FOR THEM, then we will keep giving them fish everyday as we continue wondering why they are not having enough. Women groups and community organisation have for the longest time been considered inferior yet it is at the grassroots where it all happens. This is where there are new infections, AIDS related deaths ,poverty, teen pregnancies and the list goes on and on. Then why are the leaders from these organisations not on the decision tables? Why are we making the policy documents and information platforms so complicated with jargon that even PHD holders who are not in the response can not fathom? Why are we making the response language for a chosen few, don’t we see this is where we began leaving us behind? When we began having meetings in boardrooms that a community person has to take 3 public means vehicles and a motorbike ride just to get there, don’t we see this is when we distanced ourselves with the real issues? How does she get to the meeting looking like after all that hustle and bustle? Or when invited in a foreign country for a meeting and not supported in terms of booking a room and how to navigate in a foreign country to the venue? And when she is invited and not given a chance to speak since more “important people” are to speak how does this affect her esteem even as she goes back to lead? Let’s not even get into the details of communication and how this looks for the AGYW but you can keep having webinars and writing emails that are responded to after three days when one goes to a cyber rather than exploit social media or text messaging. What about funding where you need three years financial audits when you have never been supported.
These are only some of the miles we never covered because the run on this side was a steep slope and now we have to be accountable. I am hoping in the upcoming UNAIDS Global HIV Prevention Coalition (http://www.unaids.org/en/resources/documents/2017/towards-global-HIV-prevention-coalition-and-road-map ) AGYW groups and community based organisation and all other interventions formation will ensure that we are not left behind. That we are in the decision tables being capacity built at the same time shaping the programs with our voice.
FCAA @30: Reigniting the Fight
By Lucy Wanjiku Njenga