The Center for Women’s Rights and Advocacy (CWRA) is a non-profit organisation that seeks to promote gender equality by challenging harmful cultural practices and institutional norms at the root of all forms of violence against women and girls. We envision a society where women and girls live their lives free of violence from public or private sources, so as to enjoy equal opportunities in social, economic, cultural, civil and political life.
Registered in Kenya in May 2019, we are a national organisation with a regional outlook, because we acknowledge that Africa is positioned in a geopolitical context that shapes the lived realities of women and girls on the continent. We believe that the axes of race, gender, sex, class and (dis) ability converge in various ways to produce intersecting inequalities that make it difficult to break oppressive cycles of violence for Black African women and girls, especially rural women/girls, poor women/girls and women/girls with disabilities.
Therefore, our work is under-pinned by Pan-African and intersectional feminist ideologies that center the different lived realities of women and girls in defining all strategies. These ideologies buttress our priority to challenge common gender stereotypes by documenting the ways in which women and girls, in their diversity, exercise agency, and manoeuvre complex socio-economic and cultural realities that they operate within, to claim their rights.
Our main objective:
To promote human rights and gender equality by challenging harmful cultural practices and institutional norms which normalise and propagate all forms of violence against women and girls.
Our specific objectives:
To support Community Based Organizations through technical expertise, so as to challenge harmful cultural practices through community engagement.
To provide mentorship platforms for young women and girls in order to promote their access to education opportunities and to build a network of young women and girls bringing positive change in their communities.
To conduct participatory research with women and girls in communities to generate knowledge and disseminate data on what works to prevent and effectively respond to women’s rights violations.
To conduct strategic/public interest litigation to develop jurisprudence on gender equality and women’s rights at the national level and African regional level.
To use advocacy, research, strategic litigation and educative strategies to promote gender equality and women’s human rights, including the rights of women and girls with disabilities.
To take such steps by personal or written appeals, private meetings, public meetings or representations to Parliament, government entities and other bodies as may be deemed expedient to promote any of the objects of the Organization.
To raise, secure and utilise funds for the attainment of any or all objects of the Organization, and to do such other things as are incidental or conducive to the attainment of these objects.
Our Focus Areas
Ending violence against women and girls in pastoralist communities. (Focus on FGM/Child Marriage/Sexual Violence and Domestic Violence, including drawing the connections between these forms of GBV).
Promoting meaningful participation of women and girls in policy reform processes.
Shifting inequitable gender norms, attitudes and behaviour to promote the realisation of women’s rights.
Our Overarching Strategies
Using participatory research methodologies to document the violent experiences of women and girls and generate empirical data on:
Victimhood and resilience;
Analysis and evaluations of existing interventions for violence prevention and response
Collaborating with other stakeholders and communities to collate and disseminate primary/secondary data.
Inter-generational dialogues: We use these multi-demographic conversations that bring together young and old community members across age sets/groups to interrogate questions of culture and relevance in a non-antagonistic way.
Mentorship platforms for girls: We work with girls aged 7-18 through school and out- of-school programs to equip them with skills and capacity to engage in policy reform processes. Making sure their voices are included in defining solutions to FGM, teenage pregnancy, child marriage and other forms of violence in their context. Exposing girls to further education opportunities through scholarship applications and linking them to strategic mentors and support structures to guide them in decision making processes.
Public Interest Litigation: Through class action matters or strategic litigation - to challenge retrogressive institutional norms and contribute to the development of feminist jurisprudence at both national and African regional level.
Media engagement: Through collaborations - to engage a wider audience and community of influencers.
Who We Are
Meet members of CWRAs team
Milanoi Koiyiet - Co-founder
Milanoi is a human rights lawyer with over nine years’ experience in women’s rights, children’s rights and disability rights. She has worked with non-profit organisations, advocating for the rights of women and children to live a life free from violence. She has made presentations calling on ending violence against women and girls with disabilities at the United Nations Commission on Status of Women and United Nations Conference of State Parties on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
Dr. Ruth Nekura, PhD - Co-founder
Dr. Ruth Nekura is a feminist human rights lawyer/researcher with over 8 years experience in gender equality and women's rights, violence against women laws and interventions, program management and evaluation, service integration and social protection. Expertise in legal analysis, research, advocacy, policy reform, multi-sector implementation strategies and qualitative methodologies.
Our Board Members
The Board of Directors provides the formal governance of CWRA as a whole
Suzanne Kidenda - Board Chairperson
Mental Health Expert
Current Job: Program Manager, Physicians for Human Rights, Kenya
Dr. Elizabeth Kamundia - Board Member
Human Rights/Disability Rights Expert
Current Job: Assistant Director: Research, Advocacy and Outreach at the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights
Sylvia Yiantet - Board Member
Legal/NPO Systems Expert
Current Job: Programs Manager, Legal Resources Foundation.
Teresia Naipano - Board Member
Community Engagement Expert. Rural woman representing the interests of community women.
Current Job: Subsistence farmer
Felistus Sintalo - Board Treasurer
Financial Systems Strategist
Current Job: Operations and Finance Manage at Shona Export Processing Zone Company
Dr. Ruth Nekura - Ex-Officio Member
Current Job: Co-founder CWRA