PhotoVoice training in Kenya: One training whose lesson is worth sharing.

“I wish we can give more of our time, energy to productive work like women in our community; we could have realized wealth a hundred times.” This was stated by Peter referring to men after undergoing the Gender and PhotoVoice training in Meru County in the Eastern region of Kenya. Gender PhotoVoice is a new concept/project for the Children Lead the Way implementing partners in Kenya. As the stakeholders meeting was beginning the participants were asked to state their objectives and expectation of the training and without surprise Stephen one of the participant said “Gender is women empowerment it is women fighting to be like men and this cannot be.”

 Photo1Kenya The above was a shared feeling by many of the men in attendance. But as the training begun and they were introduced to the definition of terms: gender, gender equality and equity and gender mainstreaming that ease was experienced in the training room. The ease was further soothed after the participants were introduced to the gender analysis tools and they participated in filling the “Gender timelines & role” and “Access & Control” tools.
The participants were divided into groups and later presented their discussions to the bigger group. The timeline tool was a mix of both sexes but this was not the case with the Access and Control tool in which each sex was given an opportunity to discuss on their own to compare the findings. After they presented the tools Stephen stated “women are really overworked and they control very little, they invest their time and energy but they are rarely recognized or recommended. Their work goes unnoticed. Our society is bringing up girls to be like women; overworked but own nothing and if they do they own very little and the boys are learning to become and live like men.”  Photo2Kenya

In the Access & Control tool children were identified as a line to be analyzed. To the surprise of the two groups; men indicated that women have control and access of children while the women had also indicated that men had full control and access of children. In the analysis Jennifer stated “children are hanging with no adult guidance; this could be the reason why our children are not doing so well in school and in life in general. None of us as parents is responsible of our children.”

Martha a participant making her conclusion remarks said “the tools we have discussed are a mirror of how we live our lives as members of our society, we have really seen the areas we need to address but how shall we do it? What we have seen is fully entrenched in our traditions and therefore hard to change.” To respond to her Chief Mwenda concluded “It is not easy but we can begin from ourselves; we take responsibility of living the lessons and sharing with our family members, our friends, pastors to do it in churches, and chiefs to do it in chief’s Barazas (Meetings) and in this manner we will change the community”

Big lessons hoped to change a community.

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