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I am a believer in pursuing one's passion and enabling others to realize their potential. Working with women and girls is my passion.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Slow dance....the dance wont last

This is a poem is claimed to have been written by a teenager with cancer, a terminally ill young girl in a New York Hospital. Regardless of the original source, it speaks to me, a challenge of living the moment that we so often forget.

S L O W D A N C E:

by Davic L. Weatherford

Have you ever watched kids
on a merry-go-round?

Or listened to the rain
slapping on the ground?

Ever followed a butterfly’s erratic flight?
Or gazed at the sun into the fading night?

You better slow down
Don’t dance so fast

Time is short
The music won’t last

Do you run through each day
On the fly

When you ask “How are you?”
Do you hear the reply?

When the day is done,
do you lie in your bed

With the next hundred chores
running through your head?

You’d better slow down
Don’t dance so fast

Time is short
The music won’t last

Ever told your child,
We’ll do it tomorrow?

And in your haste,
not see his sorrow?

Ever lost touch,
Let a good friendship die

‘Cause you never had time
To call and say “Hi”?

You’d better slow down
Don’t dance so fast

Time is short
The music won’t last

When you run so fast to get somewhere
You miss half the fun of getting there.

When you worry and hurry through your day,
It is like an unopened gift….Thrown away…

Life is not a race.
Do take it slower

Hear the music
Before the song is over.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

National Young Women's forum- Kenya freshi...niko set

By Sophie Ngugi Executive Director Young Women’s Leadership Institute
During the national women’s forum held on 28th October 2010 at Ufungamano House

Why the forum? Why young women?

The people are learning that you cannot leave decisions only to leaders. Local groups have to create the political will for change, rather than waiting for others to do things for them. That is where positive, and sustainable, change begins. (Wangari Maathai)

Today we gather here in a platform that is rare but crucial, young women who are ready, willing and capable to map out our future and the direction of our nation. The objectives of the forum are:
- To celebrate sisterhood and the gains of women in the New Constitution ;
- To reflect on the constitution journey and her-story in the journey;
- To strategize on way forward in defending the gains in new constitution for young women.

Many times the spaces we have as young women do not allow us to celebrate and strategise at the same time. Many times we are expected to be apolitical, not concern with public matters and take back seat while others make decisions over our lives, our future, our nation. We forget who we are, how special we are and the powers we have to move the world.

YWLI has a vision of a society that enables the full development and self actualisation of young women. We believe in the potential of young women and hence we create safe spaces for them to nurture this. The space today is the open free space for us to engage with one another and at the end of the day come up with resolutions that we can commit to. Young women in Kenya have often been invisible in national processes yet we are contributing immensely to the building of our nation through local processes from the invisible space; behind the scenes. Young women have made immense changes in their communities in different engagements at local level hence impacting the lives of their families and communities in economic and social ways. It is a high time that these efforts are brought to the forefront and more young women engage in shaping the national processes in Kenya. It is a high time that these efforts are brought to a visible space. The participation of younger women in national leadership positions has been inadequate. Young women face myriad of challenges including violence, disempowering socialisation, other social cultural and economic challenges, limits their capacity to exploit their full potential. They have faced discrimination at educational and work institutions that limit their effective participation in making a difference in the spaces they engage in. On the other hand many have shied away from claiming public spaces as the notion of the ‘meek, nice girl’ has perpetuated this. The lack of sizeable numbers of young women in the public space is not due to lack of capacity but due to the many challenges that women and more-so young women face. We realise that the challenges are not going away, neither are we, so we confront them head on and use the stumbling blocks as stepping stones to move forward.

Our very own Prof Wangari Maathai said:
‘African women in general need to know that it is ok for them to be the way they are – to see the way they are as strength, and to be liberated from fear and from silence.’

YWLI believes that young women are the women’s movement often untapped and valuable resource in defending the gains on women’s rights. YWLI existence prides itself of empowering young women by building their leadership capacities, providing a platform for networking, nurturing other different kinds of movements for young women and multigenerational organizing. In the engagements we have had with young women, it is evident that young women have great potential to make a difference in Kenya. Tuko na ‘Uwezo’, the power to bring change and impact on our lives and lives of others.

“The thing women have to learn is nobody gives you power. You just take it.” (Roseanne Barr)

We are calling upon young women to take the available spaces and be active members of political parties in big numbers; taking active role.

We are calling upon affirmative action within affirmative action to ensure that the processes that are taking place incorporate young women while calling upon young women to take the mantle and forge ahead within the affirmative action for women in all the key positions, and in other marginalised groups.

On August 27, 2010, the long awaited constitution of Kenya was promulgated and this marked a turning point in Kenya. We have agitated for a new constitution for many years and the passing of this constitution spells a possible future for Kenya that we have to make a reality. The new constitution offers a fresh start for Kenyans yet we are alert to the fact that that we have to be ready for this transformation and work at making the word and spirit of the constitution work for us.

As young women, ‘Tuko set’

We are ready to do all it takes to ensure that the constitution becomes a living reality. One of the greatest gains in this constitution is for women in political participation access, the human rights among other aspects. We are keen that there is affirmative action within affirmative action to ensure that young women are not left out in the implementation of the constitution. We are therefore gathered with this energy and synergy that comes from diverse backgrounds gathered with common purpose.

We will celebrate womanhood, recognising that women of different generations have contributed in the liberation of our nation yet her-story is often missing out in the ‘hi-story’ of the nation. Today we celebrate all women of all generations who have been in the struggle in different ways whether recognised or not. We celebrate together and uphold Udada, sisterhood of purpose and action, in realising that together we can go far. We appreciate our diversities as strengths not weaknesses.

Today we will seek to once again look at the constitution and what it has for us as Kenyans, as young women and recognise the role we have in ensuring that the gains outlined in the constitution are achieved. We have to claim and occupy the political space more so be active members of political parties. We strive to provide transformative leadership in different spaces and the devolved government gives excellent opportunities for our engagement at local levels. We believe that leadership is not leadership for the sake, and just being young doesn’t necessarily qualify us, but looking at proving alternative leadership and demand for the same from leaders. ‘Uadilifu’, integrity becomes a guiding principle.

We are therefore urging the young women of Kenya to take action in ensuring their presence and participation in political parties.

As young women, we are in no doubt about our equal space in this nation, in the making of decisions in this nation. We believe in ‘Usawa’, equity in access and control of resources both material and non material, non discrimination in access to decision making and in ensuring that

It is time, we have a new Kenya and we are set to take the mantle and move this country. We have done a lot in our different spaces and now we take it to another level.

Women really do rule the world. They just haven't figured it out yet. When they do, and they will, we're all in big, big trouble. ~"Doctor Leon,"

Luckily for us, we have figured that out! The time is now.


Thursday, October 07, 2010

Less Travelled

In the last few weeks, I have not blogged, time not on my side. In between experiencing some scaring shockers, I realized there is one thing that makes a winner and a loser, the courage to be different, courage to do things differently. My former principal in high school always told us, 'it doesn't matter what happens to you but rather how you handle what happens to you'. I have been able to jump hurdles I didn't expect to, and be optimistic and share optimism when it was difficult to do so, and wondered how!!!!

By God's Grace.

I am soon going to blog, share my aha moments in the last few months....but as I prepare for my final exams to finish the first part of my MA, I am reflecting on this poem by Robert Frost:

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveller, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference

...Robert Frost