BEYOND THE ODDS - WOMEN LEADERSHIP AND EDUCATION

Nyapaul
Posted May 14, 2015 from Kenya
women fighting corruption and demanding their rights
women paralegals trained by FIDIPA lead others in demanding women representation and participation in development committees at grassroots.
Women and leadership
Women and leadership: Addressing the community at Siaya county grounds exposing corruption cases that hinder women participation in development. Women want to be empowered socially, economically and politically. (1/4)

We lived in Koru a settlement scheme, the nearest primary school was twelve kilometres away. My mother took me to live with my Aunty who lived in koru town near the school, but to my surprise the house help was released immediately I arrived. I was to prepare her children and make breakfast before going to the same school with them. Despite the challenges I performed well in school and was made a class prefect. One of my cousin Dan was my classmate became unhappy with me and several times poured cold water on my mattress so at night I could not sleep well at the same time he was spreading the rumour in school that I was wetting my bed. I felt a shamed and embarrassed for the sin I did not commit. One day he was caned and later he pushed me in the kitchen and I fell down to a stove and got burnt. My Aunty pleaded with me not to tell my parents and she treated me.

From the frying pan to the fire, after the price giving day in school of which I got several awards, some boys were unhappy. After the sports day which was in another school a bit far from our school and where we lived. It was late in the evening and one boy just slapped me and asked why I wrote his name as a noise maker in class. Before I realized another joined and I knew there was trouble. I just bent down and picked some soil which I threw in their eyes and in that confusion, I got a chance to ran into a sugarcane farm where I spent the night. I could not sleep because of the fear of snakes, ants and mosquitoes which carried the night. At some point I thought of relinquishing the leadership position and even leaving the school, but I was determined to continue. I am the only one in our family who went up to university.

During the holiday I went to visit my Aunty late Canon Mary Ochieng who became the first lay Canon in Anglican Church of Kenya. She would remind me that my country only needed determined and focused woman leader to facilitate the positive change and I was the one to affect them. She urged me not to look down upon myself and to walk tall not allowing boys to intimidate me. She also reminded me that women are very important before God and that’s why the Lord Jesus had to be born through a woman to bring the desired change into the world, in this effect; women participation and leadership will bring the desired change we want in our society.

I campaigned to be a student leader when I was at the university, I had only one lady in my campaign team the rest were men. I love and respect her “Gloria Aol”. I won with very thin margin most likely majority ladies did not vote for me. In my former place of work during the election of officials of savings and credit committee (SACCO) no lady suggested my name for a post, but after it was mentioned by a man the women voted for me. The following year I was elected unopposed with the women now proposing and endorsing me. Women we can make good leaders we just need to appreciate and support one of our own.

I have witnessed in several forums whenever I raised a good point it will not be commended immediately by a man but being aware of their attitude and background I would not get disturbed or even discouraged. One man may support indirectly, men would be comfortable supporting another man, but not appreciating the original source of information from a lady. They nickname me “Okore unbwogable ” meaning putting her chest and unshakable “this one behaves like a man no wonder she cannot even live with a man” but I remain strong and focused to my destiny. Some of us who have faced challenges in marriage due to our continued stand for women’s right are more motivated now than ever since there is light at the end of the tunnel so be encouraged my sisters.

I spearheaded a team demanding women’s inclusion in leadership positions in different committees. I was called names but I was well prepared with a right dosage for them. Several sensitization meetings has yielded fruits now there are few women Assistant Chiefs and several local leaders in different development committees. Next is now to continue with empowerment of knowledge so that they make informed opinion and choices as leaders. Many things were considered as taboo in this region but slowly they are changing we have success stories to report. Although women are still passive the space is now available on paper but not practically.

Personally I would continue empowering women at all levels but not interested in a political position due to the fear that sometimes women representatives in political committees equally play politics like their male counter-parts because they are not likely to engage in gender issues at the expense of their political survival, but it’s a plus for them I am happy. Don’t forget the power of influence the women leaders ought to influence positive changes from inside. I still want to sensitize women to support their fellow women and answer questions like, “why do women voters who are the majority tend to elect men as their leaders and not one of their own”?, I have witnessed women first raise their hands to suggest a male name when there is a capable women in their midst.

As a development agent, linking rights with improved well-being, has the comparative advantage to address some of the key challenges faced by the women in Kenya. I intend to continue sensitize the community paralegals to empower the women economically aimed at increased self-reliance and self-esteem for participation in leadership, public life and the fight against corruption.

The Path to Participation Initiative from World Pulse and No Ceilings

Comments 10

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  • Alyssa  Rust
    May 18, 2015
    May 18, 2015

    Dear Nyapaul,

    Thank you so much for sharing. I really enjoyed reading your post about your journey through education from a young girl struggling with your cousin to fighting for a leadership position once you attended university. Your inner strength really shines through in this post because you never gave up on becoming educated and reaching for a brighter future. Thanks again for sharing, as I know this story will inspire those who read it to keep wishing and fighting for more.

    Sincerely, Alyssa Rust 

  • Julia O
    May 18, 2015
    May 18, 2015

    Hi Nyapaul, I really enjoyed reading your post. It was very inspiring and I love how you went over much of your personal history and showed how you got to where you are today. You are an amazing example of the power and strength that lies in every woman and how through hard work and perserverance we can achieve so much. It's difficult to think of you hiding in the sugarcane farm unable to sleep but inspiring to see where you have come. Like you, I have also experienced men not paying any attention to my ideas but then praising another man for having the same ideas I just proposed. I think that, and the way you have noticed other women initially supporting another man over you is just sadly, a by product of the patriarchal world we live in. I think identifying and speaking out about these problems, however, is the best way to start to fix them. Thank you for sharing your very inspiring post. All my best wishes, Julia

  • Nyapaul
    May 28, 2015
    May 28, 2015

    Hello Julia,

    Thank  you my sister. Yes we have come a long way now I cannot beleive how I spent the night in sugarcane firm, but more important for me is that another girl somewhere in the rural school schould not go through the same pain I went through. There are girls who suffer silently and this the time to motivate them to become what they want in life.

    Tell me my sister hahaha... how do you deal with men who dont support your ideas at first give me some tips ha ha ha....

    Nyapaul

  • vrclark
    May 21, 2015
    May 21, 2015

    Dear Nyapaul,

    Please know that women all over the world are inspired and moved by your choice to stay steadfast and determined NOT to let forces around you pull you under.  Your courage, determination and voice is a key contributer to what you said yourself, it is the women who will: bring the desired change into the world, in this effect; women participation and leadership will bring the desired change we want in our society.

    Thank you for never giving in or giving up. You are making a difference in the world of many women beyond Kenya ~ keep your courage.  Keep your strength. You are making a difference!

  • Nyapaul
    May 28, 2015
    May 28, 2015

    Thank you my sister indeed we are the change we want we must be determined to effect them.

    Love you sister

    Nyapaul

  • Pushpa Achanta
    May 26, 2015
    May 26, 2015

    Dear sister,

    Your story reminds me of "Be the change you want to see". Keep expressing!

    Wish you all the love, strength and peace there is.

    Warmly,

    Pushpa

  • Nyapaul
    May 28, 2015
    May 28, 2015

    Thank you Pushpa

  • Nyapaul
    May 28, 2015
    May 28, 2015

    Dear Alyssa,

    Many thanks for your comment my darling. I am so happy to hear from you. Regrets for late response the week has been busy. I have wednesday and Friday for purlse. As you know tripple roles, but all is well.Thank you for your encouraging words. I am blessed and favoured of the Lord. My prayer that women will support one of their own and be ready to effect the desired change we want at all levels.

    Thank you for your time and love.

    Cheers

  • Everlyne Aoko
    Dec 02, 2015
    Dec 02, 2015

    Hello,

    Nyapaul,I read about you and i felt like i was young again and going through the same but i later became happy that we are women now and can express ourselves!I also grew up near Koru(Kandege school) and therefore your experience are not new to me.The best we can offer now is just doing what we are doing and doind it better.Congratulations for being strong and determined.

    Aoko

  • Nyapaul
    Dec 13, 2015
    Dec 13, 2015

    Hello Jaber,

    Thank you very much for your comment and encouragement. In deed its feels good to reflect how far we have come. Thanks my dear hope all is well. Is it ok with you if I know which part of the world you are at the moment?. I have been a little engaged but from 12th December now I am have some time till next year by Grace of God Jan 2016. 

    May God bless you and Merry Christmas.

    Nyapaul