An Africa Update: the Moraa job

Location of Kenya in Africa

For those of you who don’t know me personally, I work in international development, which is a broad and ever-changing field focused on improving conditions in some of the world’s poorest countries. This has been done through everything from economic restructuring to public health research to the creation of infrastructure, and more recently there has been a shift in focus towards the group that makes up half the world’s population, does about 70% of the work, and reaps so much less of the reward…women.

I’m not going to tell you that American women don’t have battles they’re fighting.  Just LOOK at this site if you need to see examples.  But women in the rest of the world often have it worse.  At least American women legally have rights even if they have trouble accessing them–this isn’t the case in every country.  Heck, some countries are still working on suffrage, forget other rights.  Women are underrepresented in governments, are pulled out of school before their brothers because (and this is a direct quote from a documentary called “Slum Survivors”) “educating girls is a waste of money”, and often lack access to health resources…while often being the primary providers for children they are saddled with by men who leave.

That, right there…that is a mess.  It is a HUGE problem.  And it impacts an absurd number of women.

This semester, my current roommate Tania and I are going to have the opportunity to work with some of the NGOs operating in Nairobi, Kenya on their efforts to help adolescent girls improve their chances.  I will be working with the Moraa New Hope Foundation, which operates in Eastlands, and Tania will be working with the Daughters United program at Carolina for Kibera, which operates in the Kibera slum.  Both of our programs work with girls on reproductive health and financial literacy, which are MAJOR focuses in the fight to improve women’s independence.

It’s one thing to talk about women’s empowerment, read about it, and go to a rally, but for the next four months, I’ll be trying to give you updates on what it’s like to WORK on women’s empowerment.  Keep checking here and at our wordpress site for more information on Kenyan feminism and Moraa New Hope from now until April, and check out the websites for Moraa New Hope AND Carolina for Kibera.  (And maybe we can see if Tania will guest write for us sometime in March…I’ll let you know!)

~Randi

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~ by Randi Saunders on January 19, 2012.

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