As the World heads towards celebrating International Women's Day 2019, plans here in Kakamega County, Kenya's largest rural county are set. Kakamega Women Representative who also serves as the Member of Kenya Parliament Mrs. Elsie Muhanda will be leading the rest of women in her area of representation to mark and celebrate women's achievements and tenaciously challenge bias against women in the society.
This year's International Women's Day campaign theme is #BalanceforBetter, a call action for driving gender balance globally.
Last year's similar event took place at Alberto Special School in Kakamega town where Mrs. Muhanda led tens of hundreds of women in the streets of Kakamega town to call for women equality at the same time launch 'a war' against violence against women. Mrs. Muhanda's administration has in the past two years witnessed a drastic change in women rights as she opposes the men xenophobia where men counterparts perceives women as weak vessels in the society.
The society perceives women's roles are to give birth, cook, clean, take care of the children, and earn a living, a stereotype Mrs. Muhanda argues that is long gone. She challenges women to make their own choices as opposed by what anti-feminists judge.
In the past one year, Mrs. Muhanda's office has handled over 100 cases related to Gender Based Violence against Women, defilement among other cases demeaning women in the society. She has however tirelessly worked to reduce these alarming cases by taking responsibilities to charge the perpetrators in the court of law, offering free civic education on gender rights and advocating against defilement cases. The cases have however gradually reduced, a quest we believe will give women a serene environment to live and work peacefully.
This year's Celebrations in Kakamega County will be marked at St. Martin Primary School for the Deaf in Mumias West Sub County. Mrs. Muhanda has urged women across Kakamega County to turn up in large numbers in marking the day.
The writer is a Kenyan based Human Rights Activist currently working as a Communication Officer in the Office of Women Representative - Kakamega County, Kenya.