Women's right group banks on new initiative to drive social change

The Nguvu Collective's leadership program aims to equip women on the margins to lead impactful campaigns for social justice. [Courtesy, Nguvu Collective]

A women’s rights group Nguvu Collective has launched an initiative aimed at empowering women to fight against social injustices in society.

Dubbed the ‘Launchpad’ the leadership programme aims to equip women on the margins to lead impactful campaigns and create deep social impact.

Preethi Herman, the CEO of Nguvu Collective said the flagship program, the ‘Launchpad,' is all set to create the next generation of powerful social leaders.

“At a time when Kenyan women are grappling with a massive spike in gender-based violence, discrimination, and social and economic inequities, the goal of this immersive five-day program is to empower Change Leaders from Kenya who can amplify marginalised voices and support women from underserved communities in leading socially impactful campaigns,” she said.

In a press release to newsrooms, Herman said the residential program, which will run from May 26 to May 30 in Kajiado County, will see 28 new women Change Leaders pledge to proactively address the grave issues faced by Kenyan women.

She said the Launchpad initiative saw representation from various Kenyan counties including Nairobi, Kiambu, Kisumu, Narok, Isiolo, Kisii, Meru, Samburu, and Vihiga.

“Among them, 22 Change Leaders are emerging voices from marginalised communities who have consistently raised their voices about sexual and gender-based violence, maternal and menstrual health, the inclusion of persons with disabilities, teen mothers, and those facing other social injustices,” said Herman.

According to her, three of the Change Leaders ran for political office for MCA and Senatorial seats in the August 2022 General Election, while two are medical practitioners.

One participant has been honoured with a Head of State’s Commendation (HSC) and has received recognition for her work in areas connected with women’s rights and education advocacy.

Nguvu Collective’s flagship ‘Launchpad’ mentors the next generation of Kenya’s Change Leaders. [Courtesy, Nguvu Collective]

“Launchpad Kenya is an event that I envisioned to support women change-makers from marginalised communities. I am confident we will witness them emerge as powerful leaders who can drive positive social change in their communities,” she said.

Herman further noted, “At the Launchpad, these leaders will be offered support to lead campaigns around issues they wish to impact and use their skills to bring about systemic shifts that will benefit millions of women.”

Her sentiments were echoed by Naomi Kolian who said as an anti-FGM activist from Narok County, Nguvu Collective’s Launchpad has been a safe space for her to ideate collective solutions with fellow change leaders.

“It is empowering to be heard and to find both support and mentorship here. An initiative like this was much needed and instilled renewed confidence in those of us who have felt very isolated in our journey to driving social change,” she said.

Harriet Afandi, who is leading a campaign for the prevention of Obstetric Violence (OBV) in hospitals, said over the past year her journey has evolved and progressed because of the consistent support she receives from Nguvu Collective.

“My goal is to promote the maternal and human rights of every woman The training from Nguvu has helped me gain insights into how to move forward and reach out to policymakers to seek urgent and concrete action,” said Afandi.

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