Giving young women chance at life via education, life skills training
Consolata Waithaka saw a gap in society that did not address violence against women. She watched how women face gender-based violence (GBV) and live a life without a proper source of income.
“I saw how women go through GBV due to lack of education and lack of life skills to help them support their families,” she says.
It is against this background that in 2016, she founded Woman’s Hope Kenya, an organisation through which she gives girls hope.
“I believe when you empower a girl, you have empowered society. We empower girls and women through awareness, education, life skill training and income-generating activities,” she explains.
Woman’s Hope has currently partnered with Co-operation Arena for Sustainable Development in Africa (CASDA), who had organised a benchmarking tour for their members to learn how to work with victims of GBV.
“We hope to have an umbrella organisation that works towards women and girls rescue and empowerment in the country.
Currently, our members work in anonymity and we hope to have safe houses in all the counties,” she says.
“We also have Ushirika Dada Project, where women come together, save and borrow money. Plans are underway to launch Club 40, an initiative that will see women save at least Sh40 per day in a group of 10 members.
This will enable women to pay school fees for their kids or to improve on their lives, she said.
The initiative will be made possible by Kikapu Project, in which women weave baskets, which are sold by Woman.
Hope on their behalf. Through this initiative, the organisation combines advocacy by addressing social problems the women face and economic empowerment to help them overcome poverty, a major contributor to GBV.
Consolata challenges the government to put in place measures to address GBV. “This has never been taken up as any other major issue in the country.
We see so many women going through gender violence and the government does not condemn or put in place measures against this.
It is always considered a domestic issue, but for how long will women and girls suffer under this cover?” she poses.
As a person who visits women around slums to identify issues affecting them, Consolata has been taking part in marathons to fundraise for her cause.
“The money raised goes towards supporting girls in our education programme. This is one of the ways we can improve the situation of the girl in Kenya,” she says. She has seen girls go back to school and others learn various skills at the centre in Hardy, Nairobi.
Through their Season for Girls project, they target girls aged 13-19 to develop their personal leadership style and ability to identify and solve issues in their communities.
The programme also pegs on encouraging girls to express themselves freely and become aware of their worth.
Consolata believes through education, girls’ lives will become better. “Educating the girl goes a long way in improving the nation.
Most girls I have encountered drop out of school after KCPE and sadly, many get pregnant at a tender age,” she adds.
The Woman’s Hope founder pegs mentorship and life skills training for the girls as a crucial means to an end of the early teenage pregnancies.