In response to the novel Coronavirus Disease, we launched the UnsungHeroes campaign to our “En-courage” constituency. This campaign aims to discover young people helping their community at this time of crisis through acts of courage, resilience, empathy, and integrity– following the example of Wangari Maathai. UnsungHeroes is a campaign that focuses on the “Power of one” – the belief that each person can make a contribution, however small, and be an agent for change in their community. WMF will create a cohort of these winners and support them by bringing awareness to their issues through advocacy, network building, and mentorship.
UnsungHeroes is a campaign that focuses on the “Power of one” – the belief that each person can make a contribution, however small, and be an agent for change in their community.
We have announced two winners of the campaign, two young women helping their communities: Editar Ochieng and Rhoda Ayieko. Editar Ochieng, our first winner, is a 31year old women’s rights activist. She helps survivors of sexual violence through her organization, Feminist for Peace Human Rights and Justice Centre.
Born and raised in Kibera, Editar has seen women’s rights infringed upon, without structure or confidence for these women to advocate for themselves. This inspired her to start a women’s empowerment program. However, with the Covid19 pandemic and the government directive of social distancing, the informal settlement of Kibera has been severely affected. In response, Editar and her team shifted their day-to-day work. While she cannot liberate women from sexual violence, she is now offering door to door services, donating food, and reusable masks to the sexual violence survivors and the vulnerable women in her community. Editar Ochieng is also providing them with key information on the prevention of COVID 19 to give them hope and help them build resilience during these unprecedented times.
Our second winner is 26-year-old Rhodah Ayieko, founder of Nyalenda Bread Power. Since 2015, Rhodah has been creating access to gainful employment for over 250 women living with disabilities in informal settlements of Nyalenda, Kisumu County. She supports and encourages them into social entrepreneurship, digital literacy, leadership development and uses baking as a tool for sustainable development. Social distancing restrictions have affected Rhodah and team as they cannot offer baking training to them in their usual bakery facility. She started a door to door baking training for at least five women a day and has been giving sanitizers to these women as a COVID 19 precaution measure.
The importance of this UnsungHeroes campaign led us to create a strategic partnership with Shujaaz, a network of social ventures based in Nairobi and Dar Es Salaam. Our ventures seek to inspire, entertain, and empower 7.5 million 15-24-year-olds across East Africa. This partnership also aims to expand the campaigns reach to amplify the voices of young people in Kenya.