Kenya: Indigenous Information Network | Womankind Kenya
Indigenous Information Network (IIN)
Founded in 1996, the Indigenous Information Network (IIN) works to connect Indigenous Peoples in Kenya and strengthen their demands for human rights.
Trainings for Change
The Indigenous Information Network organizes trainings on:
- human rights
- forced female genital mutilation
Through MADRE’s Breaking the Silence program, IIN offers trainings to thousands of people in eight Kenyan districts. They focus on communities with high rates of HIV infection. In order to reach as many people as possible, IIN holds trainings in schools and in homes in Maasai, Samburu, Rendille, Turkana and other Indigenous communities.
IIN offers special trainings for health workers on proper care for HIV/AIDS patients. The impact of these workshops reaches far beyond the thousands of direct participants, since attendees are trained to share information and facilitate ongoing discussions with friends and families.
Education for Girls
MADRE and the IIN are working with the Nanyori Network of Shelters in Kenya to educate and shelter young girls who are escaping female genital mutilation or forced marriages. The shelters provide education, safety and security for girls who are at risk for forced marriage and genital mutilation.
To bring Indigenous voices to a wider audience in Kenya and foster communication between Indigenous Peoples, the Indigenous Information Network publishes Nomadic News. The magazine reports news by and for pastoral and nomadic peoples of Africa. Nomadic News focuses on the struggles of Indigenous Peoples in Africa and makes connections between grassroots, national and international politics.
In addition to its work within Kenya, the Indigenous Information Network is deeply involved in African and international networks of Indigenous women activists. As an active participant in the international Indigenous movement, the IIN has played an important role in many UN conferences and forums, including the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues and the World Conference Against Racism.
Womankind Kenya is a community-based women’s organization of Somali pastoralists working in the Garissa region of Northeastern Kenya. Founded in 1989, Womankind Kenya works to support women in pastoralist communities while improving access to education, providing water and sanitation, and promoting agriculture and sustainability.
Emergency Famine Relief:
In 2011, Northeastern Kenya was devastated by a drought that swept across the Horn of Africa. Hunger forced families to flee their homes in search of food and created an urgent need for humanitarian aid and medical assistance.
Womankind Kenya, in partnership with MADRE, provides emergency food aid and medical assistance to women and families. Womankind Kenya has provided thousands of at-risk families with water, maize, beans, cooking oil and calorie-dense food to combat severe malnutrition.
As a local organization, Womankind Kenya is able to identify trusted community leaders to facilitate food distribution. They are also able to identify the most pressing needs and direct help to the most vulnerable people.
Mobile Health Units:
Families living in the remote regions of Garissa have been historically underserved. They continue to be deprived of regular access to hospitals and quality health care.
Womankind Kenya will launch mobile health units to provide primary health care, family planning and HIV prevention services.
The mobile health units will meet urgent needs while providing preventative measures such as disease screening, immunization and health education.
Counseling for Sexual Violence Survivors:
The threat of sexual violence has risen sharply this year as drought forces women and girls to trek longer distances in search of water and firewood. As families grow more desperate for food, more women are forced to exchange sex to feed themselves and their children. They are exposed to life-threatening violence and health risks like HIV/AIDS.
Womankind Kenya is a lifeline for rape survivors. They provide immediate medical and psychological care women need to recover from sexual abuse and rape. Counselors from Womankind Kenya also conduct individual and group therapy sessions.
Women displaced by drought and famine are isolated and vulnerable, cut off from the communities of support they might once have had. Womankind Kenya can reach out to these women, breaking through their isolation to offer them a new source of support to lean on.