Fashion for advocacy
by Nelly Awino, Communications Officer, Come Initiative, Kenya
Violence against women and girls is one of the most prevalent and pervasive human rights violations. COME INITIATIVE, with support from VOICE, is implementing the JIAJIRI programme which aims to empower girls and young women who are facing abuse and exploitation in informal settlements. It specifically offers training in tailoring, dressmaking and entrepreneurship with hopes to help their socio-economic growth. To mark the end of 16 Days of Activism last 2023, COME INITIATIVE commemorated the Human Rights Day through holding the ‘Mr. and Miss Haki Kisumu’ County event where rightsholders were able to exhibit their work through modeling and performing arts, and presenting themselves as catalysts for advocacy against gender-based violence (GBV).
The rightsholders used modeling, signing a commitment pledge, salsa dancing for change and a stage play to engage the audience and amplify the key message of investing to prevent violence against women and girls. The Chief Officer for Sports, Culture, Gender and Youth Affairs, Kisumu County, Gender Officer Mr. Joel Okumu, Inspector of Police, Member of County Assembly Nyalenda-A and Civil Society organisations such as KEFEADO, DSW Kenya, Jijenge CBO, INUKA Success CBO. They signed a commitment pledge to increase awareness, galvanize advocacy efforts and share knowledge and innovations to help end all types of violence against women and girls. The rightsholders presented a Communique to the government, development partners, civil society, young women organisations, young women and men, private sector representatives and the media to “UNITE! Invest to prevent violence against women and girls”. They can do this through joining forces and stepping up to support the financing of different prevention strategies to stop violence from occurring in the first place.These Advocacy efforts create platforms to elevate the voices of this generation and the next who are at the frontline of shaping their future by sharing knowledge and innovations to create a future with zero violence against women and girls.