Ogiek and Masai Peoples

Organization: Paranense Women’s Group

Country: Kenya

Indigenous Women and Girls of Ololunga Narok County are victims of discrimination based on their gender and socio-economic status. They face high levels of poverty and illiteracy, with low levels of education. This limits their access to health, basic hygiene and employment; it also limits their participation in leadership roles. Furthermore, they suffer domestic and sexual violence within the community. 

The program set out to empower women to face these problems. The training enabled the participants to better understand their rights and visit the relevant offices where they can claim them. They are now in a position to understand what leadership is and how to make decisions in their locality through active participation in different areas. This allowed them to increase their representation in local and national spaces. Through exchange programs, the initiative also helped the participants network and learn from other Indigenous Women by exchanging ideas and ways of sustaining themselves across different communities. 

During the implementation of the project, the COVID-19 pandemic brought social isolation, work interruption, and change in family routine, reducing the number of Indigenous Women that could be targeted. Despite this, good practices were developed to face the challenges they faced: promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of Indigenous Women to eradicate gender violence hunger and poverty; training to strengthen and build resilience in different spaces; exchange programs; training on the rights of women and girls.

Indigenous Women are the backbone of their communities. This program recognized their crucial role in preserving food security, as guardians of ancestral knowledge related to natural resources and medicinal plants, and as defenders of the collective rights of Indigenous Peoples.