Happy International Women’s Day! Inequity affects many women, but historically it has most commonly affected women in marginalised communities.
Today we want to introduce the work of our international partners, S.A.F.E Kenya, an NGO whose work towards equitable solutions surrounding women’s rights is nurturing a network of empowered and environmentally conscious young women to know their human rights and have the confidence to stand up for themselves and the environment.
The S.A.F.E. all Massai team – SAFE Maa – in the Loita hills focus much of their work and resources on changing the dialogue and intervening with Female genital cutting (FGC). This ceremony has long been associated with young Massai girls’ rite of passage and marriageability but harms them personally, physically, and psychologically, heavily impacting economic development.
Through their programs, SAFE Maa leverages the power of the crucial voices in the community, helping to build vital voices in confronting FGC and early marriage, finding workable alternatives to the practice, and presenting the debate on the abandonment of FGC in a respectful, culturally appropriate and non-judgmental way.
With their Young Women’s Empowerment Project, SAFE Maa has trained female ambassadors to gain access to girls vulnerable to FGC. They provide mentorship, education, and support to their younger and more vulnerable peers and vital training in environmental conservation and resource management.
SAFE Maa’s focus on community-led solutions will continue to ensure that more Maasai girls have access to education, helping them wield more power, influence, and authority over their lives. For more information about their work or details of how to support S.A.F.E Kenya visit safekenya.org
Words and photos by Daisy Wingate-Saul