Development partners and foundations have, over time, offered much-needed support to communities in times of crisis. The Covid-19 pandemic is a case in point. When it broke out, many funders readily responded to appeals for support from various African governments, Kenya included. In a span of a few months, Kenya had received over 2.7 billion Kenyan shillings ($25 million) to boost its Covid-19 response. Many funders also donated money to buy items such as face masks, sanitiser, soap, food and sanitary towels for local communities.
In the wake of this still unfolding “me too” movement that is revealing a disturbing, endemic pattern of sexual assault and impunity here in the US, we are asking partners around the globe to share how they are working to promote healthy, consensual masculinity. We also are sharing a special series – “God As Us” – Me Too to reflect on the unique role that religious beliefs play in both the problem and the solution to moving humanity forward to a more gender-balanced way of being human together.
Climate change increasingly impacting the lives of citizens and the environment especially in sub-Saharan Africa, and the long-term effects that it bears on women cannot go unnoticed. Women are more vulnerable during disasters such as droughts and floods. They have less access to resources, are victims of the gendered division of labour, and they are the primary caregivers to children, the elderly and the disabled.
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the power of proximity. Locally led organizations across Africa that have their communities’ trust have often been better positioned to respond to changing needs when many international NGOs recalled their staffers to their home countries. But some of the same barriers that prevent donors from supporting local NGOs and civil society extend to philanthropy and venture capital, and it remains to be seen whether the lessons of COVID-19 will lead to more funding for African-led organizations.
Today I woke up worried about a lady in my village called Ekadon. I worried about her mud hut with tinned roof, held by stones, that it would fall on her at night or be swept away by the raging March rains. I worried that she might not have a tee-pee tap by her door, to wash her hands every time she came back from her hustle. I worried about the brown water she stands in while she fetches it, if it is safe for her to drink, cook or wash. Ekadon comes from Baringo County where 39% of the population uses improved sanitation facilities while the rest, 61% have no access to improved sanitation facilities and relieve themselves in bushes, pit latrines and rivers. I worried about her access to contraceptives in these uncertain times.
For many years, women in the rural semi-arid areas of Rongai and Mogotio sub-counties in Nakuru and Baringo counties have faced harsh times from lack of water to retrogressive patriarchal society. Many have been forced to walk longer distances to get water for domestic use and farming. However, this challenge will soon be over because Dandelion Africa, a non-governmental organisation based in Rongai is now focusing on empowering women at the grassroots level.