In 2016, Peace Brigades International Kenya developed a Women Human Rights Defenders (WHRDs) Toolkit which offers resources as well as recommendations to help address the specific challenges of grassroots WHRDs. This programme focuses on working closely with a network of WHRDs from three of Nairobi’s urban settlements (Kibera, Mathare and Mukuru).
Fifteen dedicated and passionate WHRDs have been selected as Toolkit Organisers (TOs), all of whom are already community activists and established figures working for women’s and children’s rights within their communities. These TOs are currently joining forces with PBI to disseminate and further develop the Toolkit.
“I work with young women. Young mothers, vulnerable ones. Because once I was vulnerable. So that is what motivates me to work with these women. […] It doesn’t matter what time, what age, I’ll come out and help you. I do it because I love what I’m doing.” Editar Ochieng
The purpose of this Toolkit, is to provide WHRDs in Nairobi’s urban settlements, and those in similar environments, with knowledge, information and relevant tools useful for improving their understanding on security and protection. The Toolkit will help WHRDs undertake their own risk assessments and aid them in defining security rules and procedures which suit their particular situations and environments.
TOs worked with PBI for one year. They received training sessions on a number of topics that they have identified, in order to strengthen their work as WHRDs, and to share the knowledge and skills they gain with other women and WHRDs in their communities.
“being in the field for almost ten years, it has been amazing because every day we manage to get different results and they are very positive results.” Editar Ocheing
We hear from Editar Ocheing and other human rights defenders from the Nairobi's informal settlements about the impact of COVID-19 in Kenya and the role that women and other grassroots human rights defenders across Social Justice Centres in Kenya are playing to support their communities. Millions living in informal settlements depend on them for access to water, sanitation, and healthcare provisions, as the government sits on its hands. We will also discuss the impact of lockdown on police violence, court suspensions, and the wellbeing of human rights defenders.