World March of Women – Kenya (WMW-K) shall be hosting the 4th International Action in Nairobi, Kenya as from 11 October to 14 October 2015 at Rosa Mystics on Riara Road behind Nakumatt Junction off Ngong road. The forum will bring together African feminists from 32 African Countries, to share their socio, economic and political experiences.
According to the official forum communiqué by World March of Women – Kenya, “The forum will be critical as it allow the women to coordinate and make alliances with other women’s organisations, feminists and mixed movements from across the region apart from generating strength, recuperating joy and strengthening solidarity between the women and other feminists from across the region”. The communiqué goes on to say that ‘the 4th International action is an on-going organisational and creative capacity-building process that was officially launched on the 8th March 2015 and it will end on 17th October 2015’.
Some of the activities that have been held since the launch of the 2015 global action include a solidarity forum that was held at the Kenya Cultural centre on the 18 February 2015, in solidarity with Western Sahara. Between 29 March and 4 April, through the annual Support Women Artists Now (SWAN) calendar, WMW-K organised activities in 3 cities, Dar e salaam, Tanzania, Mombasa Kenya, and Nairobi Kenya in support of women artists.
On 24 April 2015, WMW-K held 24 hours of Feminist action at Freedom Corner in Nairobi where 15 trees were planted in solidarity with over 1000 women who died at the Rana Plaza fire tragedy in Bangladesh on the 24 April 2013. On the same day, a public forum was also held in Mshemoroni in Mombasa County.
Between 8 July and 11 July 2015, WMW-K hosted the Young Feminists Political Training Camp (YFPTC) in Limuru Kenya, bringing together young feminists across the sub region, including Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda, Sudan and Somali land.
According to the African Region Coordinator of WMW, Sophie Dowllar, the 4th International Action shall be concluded by a solidarity march from Jeevanjee Gardens to Freedom Corner in Nairobi on 13 October 2015 as from 10am. “From the 11 October to 12 October 2015, the forum shall be open only to delegates from each of the participating countries but on 13 October we invite all to participate in the march that shall begin at Jeevanjee Gardens and end at Freedom Corner” said Sophie.
Sophie further added that the International Actions take place every five years with the past actions having taken place in 2001, 2006 and 2010. “The International Actions are constructed in a way that promotes the creation of networks that connects the different dynamics in a feminist perspective and, thus, reinforces the capacity of women to respond to local and national contexts” said Sophie.
The official forum communiqué describes the World March of Women (WMW) as an International feminist and anti-capitalist movement, organised in National Coordinating Bodies in 63 countries and territories and in Participating or Contact Groups in a further 90 countries.
The WMW began as a campaign against poverty and sexist violence in the year 2000 and, following on from this campaign, WMW decided to continue as a permanent movement, organising actions in four Action Areas: Women’s work (Women’s economic autonomy), Violence against women, Common good & public services, and Peace & demilitarisation.
World March of Women – Kenya is organised in all the 47 Counties complete with County Coordinators, Constituency leaders, Ward and Village leaders and focuses mainly on Violence against Women, Maternal Health, Food Sovereignty and anti poverty programs.
According to the World March of Women website, the institutional mission of WMW is an international feminist action movement connecting grass-roots groups and organisations working to eliminate the causes at the root of poverty and violence against women. WMW struggle against all forms of inequality and discrimination directed at women.
WMW values and actions are directed at making political, economic and social change. They centre on the globalisation of solidarity; equality between women and men, among women themselves and between peoples; the respect and recognition of diversity among women; the multiplicity of women’s strategies; the appreciation of women’s leadership; and the strength of alliances among women and with other progressive social movements.
While meeting with grassroots social movements to mobilize for the march on 13 October, Sophie, who was accompanied by WMW-K Nairobi County Coordinator Florence Keya reiterated on the need for grassroots social movements to support the WMW-K by mobilizing their members to turn out in large numbers during the women solidarity march.
The meeting that was attended by representatives of Bunge la Mwananchi, Unga Revolution, Dandora Must Change Social Movement, Coalition for Constitution Implementation, Rights Promotion and Protection Centre, Mathare Social Justice Centre, Baraza la Taifa and Social Movements Reference Group resolved to help mobilize their member especially women to participate in the march.
Florence Keya while addressing the meeting said 4th International Action was a perfect opportunity for Kenyan and Nairobi grassroots women movements and groups to share and learn from experiences of other grassroots women who shall be attending the forum and develop common strategies of tackling their common challenges.
Report done by Cidi Otieno