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Jorge Burón, a Political Science student at UAM (Autonomous University of Madrid), shares his experience during the third talk of a four-part cycle on Rights, Freedom and Democracy, from the point of view of politics he will undertake for Afrikable’s women beneficiaries, as part of his internship in the area of women empowerment in Lamu.

"During the third talk, we talked about rights. About specific rights. About rights that appear in the Constitution of Kenya, and disappear in their society. Those they should know about, but what for if the reality is that they are not respected? The 2010 Constitution is one of the most advanced political texts in sub-Saharan Africa. But, what does it matter if the reality is that it fails to defend its citizens even though it has many fundamental rights drafted?.

But then, why were we talking about rights if it seems like, even if they are written on a paper, they don’t exist in their daily lives? They asked for it, they wanted to know them, and I prepared them and showed them to them. I think they already knew what they wanted them for, why they wanted to know them, even though I didn’t understand where things were headed yet. Once again they were the ones who would give the talk.

And not only them, in this third talk we had my colleague Ana, a student of the Master’s Degree in Gender Studies of Seville who came to Afrikable to do her master’s thesis with the women and who had already been here two years ago in the Volunteer Holidays program. Who better to tell them about their rights and their situation as women regarding those rights that are rarely respected and if you are a woman even less? So it was the two of us. Along with Lola, the founder of the project (together with Merche) who we were lucky to have and who had just arrived to the island. She provided essential support to bring about new dynamics to the talk and bring it to a successful conclusion. It was a success indeed, thanks to them and to Khadija, as always.

So we talked about rights. About their rights, those they have even though they are not fulfilled, those their Constitution shows off. About freedom of movement, Article 39.1, that no one can order you where to go or where you should be, no one can stop you from going or being where you want to be. About equality between men and women in marriage, Article 45.3, both sides have the same right and freedom to decide on their lives and their household. About universal access to emergency medical treatment, Article 43.2, if your child breaks a leg a doctor has to see them straight away, no excuses. About the right to life, Article 26.1. About equality before the law, Article 27.1. About all those issues that are central to their lives and they were organising in their heads. They were astonished, paying attention like never before, which is a lot to say, capturing and absorbing all the information well aware of its importance. In one of those heated but fun discussions they like to have, the real question, the purpose and the point of it all came to light.

Constitucion Kenia 01

One of them said that if they didn’t claim those rights, if they didn’t fight for them it was because they knew they didn’t stand a chance. Only a few of them are heard and many others are not heard because no one will listen to them. And it was then when another said, as if it were an evidence well-known by all: ‘but let’s see, if these rights are not for us, we must know them to pass them on to our children so they can experience them.

It has been the longest, most exciting, productive and beautiful talk so far. The more help, the easier, of course, but it also seems like we are going somewhere, that we are starting to take a direction. An idea about democracy and freedom that can be useful and necessary even though everything is contaminated by corruption, even though sometimes we fall into pessimism and it seems like we are stuck in stagnation. It’s not true. The children who listen to the talks and don’t understand while they cry in their mothers’ arms, start to make a lot more sense, sitting there watching and listening to the talk, even if it’s only so that they start to hear the words of the rights that one day they will have to defend and enjoy."

Derechos de la mujer 01


Author: Jorge Burón | Translator: Sonia Moscardó

Read 755 times Last modified on Monday, 07 August 2017 14:53


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Afrikable is a Spanish charitable organisation, registered in the National Register of Associations under number 1/1/594088 and in the Spanish Agency of International Cooperation for Development (AECID)'s Register of Non-Governmental Organisations under number 2033.


In Kenya our association is called Afrika Able Organization and is registered with Kenya's NGO Coordination Board under number 10976.


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