#16Days of Activism: Rona’s ONE Action Campaign
Rona Foundation is a widow human rights organisation in Kenya. Our work is committed to the advancement of the welfare of women and girls, mostly widows. The Global 16 Days Campaign is an organising strategy for individuals and groups around the world to call for the elimination of all forms of gender-based violence against women and to raise awareness about gender-based violence against women as a human rights issue at the local, national, regional and international levels.
In most African communities, widowhood is not only a personal status but also a social one. The widows face social and economic hardships in the area of social participation, decision making and property ownership. Kenya has an estimated 8 million widows and placed at position 33 in the list of countries in the world that have a harsh environment for the widows.
In the Nyanza Province of Kenya, according to the Luo tradition, widows are expected to engage in degrading ‘‘cleansing’’ rituals, wife inheritance by male relatives e.g. late husband’s brother in order to remove the impurity ascribed to her after her husband’s death. Widows who are inherited for fulfilling cultural obligation have a higher prevalence of HIV.
In this year’s 16 days of activism through our ONE Action Campaign, we are amplifying the voice of the widows, and through our elected leaders, male champions, key influencers and community stakeholders we are advocating for the adoption of the widows charter to formulate policies and budgets that are widow aware, widow sensitive and widow informed, including outlawing and criminalizing harmful traditional (widowhood) practices; and also other gender inequalities such as disinheritance, discrimination, forced marriages or levirate marriage and/or demeaning names.
The outcome of this campaign is duty bearers’ commitments, public pronouncements and or calls to actions by key influencers urging leaders, male champions, known and unknown actors, youth and women leaders to speak up on widow matters, demystify stereotypes, and advocate for the value of a widow. In advocating for the adoption of the widow’s charter by the county government of Siaya, there is bound to impactful change in other counties, and in the region.
What is the one action that you are taking to advance widow rights in your community?
Tell us about it by sending a short video or photo! Tag @RonaFoundation on all our social media platforms. Share our work.
#16DaysOfActivism #AdopttheCharter #ONEActionCampaign
Roseline Orwa is the Founder & Director of Rona Foundation, a grassroots organisation in Kenya that works to advance and protect widows’ rights, as well as provide support to orphans and vulnerable children.
She is a lifelong Fellow of the Atlantic Social Economic and Equity Program at the London School of Economics for social and economic equity. An Aspen New Voices Fellow 2021, and a Storyteller with The Moth Africa. She tweets @Roseline Orwa.
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