Women and teenage girls from fisher communities residing around Lake Victoria region are living below poverty line. About 21% men, women and children in Homa-bay County are HIV positive. Many homes are child headed as a result of deaths caused by AIDS related diseases and other epidemics affecting the fisher folk. Due to poverty and limited job opportunities around the lake region, communities rely heavily on fishing to earn a living. With the population getting larger everyday and competition becoming fierce, many women are being forced to have sex with fishermen to secure a share of the daily catch. This is commonly referred to as “sex for fish.
The project aims at improving social economic status of women which will directly translate into the growth of households and communities as a whole. To achieve the underlined project activities that are intended to be implemented by WA-WA in collaboration with community and donors, the project will enhance gender relations between people of Homa Bay County with regard to opportunities, access and control over resources. It will also increase access to employment and enhance entrepreneurship among women and teenage girls. Additionally, it will reduce hyacinth pollution.
Promote access to quality health care, Mitigate the impact of HIV/AIDS, promotion of Human rights, improve linkages with micro finance institutions and environmental improvement through public participation
And in furtherance of the principal object, the Organization works in line with the following ancillary objects and powers:
1. To create awareness and advocate for access and availability of SRH services in the private and public health facilities for the adolescence and young girl and young mothers.
2. Train community members on community environmental conservation methods and strategies.
3 To promote HIV and AIDS awareness and demand creation for uptake of HIV and AIDS services.
4. Link communities to available government resources and micro-finance institutions to boost capital needs for business.
5. Address gender based violence in the community through awareness creation and sensitization of community members on Human Rights.
Key intervention includes;
- Household economic strengthening; The project seek to expand household economic and income streams as a means to create sustainable livelihoods by enhancing women employability and economic strengthening opportunities through training in key areas such as fishing, fish farming weaving (converting water hyacinth into products) and boat building among others. Household specific assessments are done to determine capacity, interest and skill levels. Strengthening Table Banking concept including different Income Generating Activities (IGAs) is availed to household members guided by individual household interest. Skills and training activities which includes entrepreneurship and marketing is offered to expand women skill levels. The project promotes value addition to fish produce as a means to improve pricing of products from HHs to markets; market linkages to enhance sales; linkages with Microfinance institutions for training and financial support. SMART Skills [Skills for Marketing and Rural Transformation] is emphasized to trigger innovation and promote indigenous technical knowledge, including business initiatives. Private sector partnerships are established to promote market linkages and provide trainings needed by beneficiaries to expand their businesses.
Strengthening the sexual and Reproductive health and rights movements
WA-WA recognizes thatGBV occurs in many forms that affect the sexual and reproductive health of women, including sexual violence, harmful cultural practices and unsafe abortion. WA-WA works at community level to build the capacity of community activist to engage with their communities through dialogue and conversations on the harmful violations around these forms of sexual violence, thus building community based movements. We target men, women, youth, religious leaders, elders, custodians of culture and other decision makers. Using a community change model (SASA) we support community activists to drive change in the gender norms and roles that sustain such practices.
WA-WA Kenya is a registered Community Based Organization, and founded with an aim to stop ’sex for fish’ practices by empowering women and teenage girls around Lake Victoria regions to establish an opportunity for them to improve on their livelihoods, seeks to establish a strategic partnership with organizations to improve access to basic, quality education and adolescent development by working towards transformed institutions, laws and communities that respect the rights of children, especially the vulnerable girls in fisher communities in Homa bay County.
WA-WA Kenya projects to accomplish this through different strategies that include;
Community conversations led by community activists uses questioning to stimulate critical thinking that leads to change in beliefs & values or practices. The conversation topics link GBV, teen pregnancy and HIV/AIDS, aimed at changing the attitude towards women/girls and their SRH. Complementing community activities are at the county and national measures to enhance development /implementation of legislation, policies, guidelines and procedures. These will reduce the space where violations occur and tolerance is widespread. Thus the project will increase demand for change at community level & increase duty bearer’s capacity and action to complement it.
WA -WA Kenya also proposes multi-sectoral, multi-disciplinary and multi-level responses to strengthen and support the livelihoods of teenage girls and enhance Caregiver employability and economic strengthening opportunities through training in key areas such as fishing, fish farming and boat building within the fisher communities in Homa bay County. This will be accomplished by utilizing targeted partnerships in working with women and girls.
The project work within 3 priority areas of; (1) Improve Quality of life of women and teenage girls infected and affected by HIV/AIDS by Mitigation of Socio economic impacts; (2) Strengthening county level collaboration and coordination to support advocacy and system strengthening necessary for addressing responsive and effective social justices and (3) Strengthening the sexual and Reproductive health and rights.
- Education/ awareness on SRHR