During the pandemic, many Kenyans across the board faced hardships that included losing their jobs or having to work under unorthodox conditions. Indeed, these sudden changes put a lot of strain on the workplace and also within the family setting. This majorly affected the way men, women & children were treated in public areas and especially, within the transport sector.
A study by the UN carried out in the last 2 years concluded that close to 80% of women in Nairobi, the Capital of Kenya, had been harassed either verbally or physically while accessing public means of transport.
Women as equal citizens deserve the right to enjoy the freedom of movement from one point to another without being made to feel insecure in any way. Such forms of harassment include; touching, cat-calling or any other form of physical, verbal or emotional abuse.
As part of the “16 Days of Gender Activism campaign”, Denmark in partnership with Gender Violence Recovery Centre, Population Services Kenya, Ministry of Health, County government of Nairobi, Gender Department among other partners i.e MSF and Red Cross, held a launch event to confront SGBV in public transportation in Mathare.
The main figure in the event was a branded Matatu, that the Danish Embassy commissioned for the annual global campaign against SGBV. Together with local communities in Mathare and young Kenyan graffiti artists, the Danish Embassy held discussions on the topic of safety for women in public transportation, and defined key messages to feature on the branded Matatu. The aim of the campaign was to divert attention and to create awareness towards the SAFETY of WOMEN on public Matatus.
“Harassment and violence against women in public transportation is violating their right to move freely and is limiting their access to pursuing economic opportunities. This is a huge problem and we should speak up and put focus on women’s and girl’s rights to safety in public and private spaces. “ said Ole Thonke; the Danish Ambassador to Kenya.
The Ambassador was also heavily involved in the campaign launch as he was seen driving the branded matatu all the way from the Danish Embassy to the venue in Mathare.
What is Denmark’s end game here? Should we now assume that Denmark is committed to upholding and improving the rights, health and opportunities for both men & women in Kenya and to advance gender equality? Hopefully, this is only the beginning of a prosperous initiative to create a better world and to usher civilization as we know it through the yet long journey to GLOBALISATION.
Graffiti Art by: MutuaArts, Alicia_arts & Poolman_edits