The Kenya Indigenous Women and Youth (KIWAY) foundation is a public charitable non-profit organization that seeks to promote the rights of indigenous peoples of northern Kenya especially in Laikipia, Isiolo, Samburu, Marsabit and Turkana, who are mainly nomadic pastoralists, to achieve a just and dignified life.
KIWAY foundation was established in early 2011 by indigenous youths as a platform to take the plight of indigenous peoples from a community level to national and international levels with the aim of gaining more support and recognition. We strongly believe that if we gain the strength to crawl, with time we will walk strongly on our own two feet; both the communities we represent and as an organization.
We are motivated by the fact that there is a solution to any problem, if only you search deep enough. We also acknowledge that this is the 21st century, planet earth has become a global village and there are more ears and eyes who will listen and take a deeper insight into its problems and help in generating and implementing the solutions.
What are the issues?
1. Access to education
Few public schools, limited ECD centers, high poverty levels, nomadic lifestyle in search of pasture and water for their animals, extremely long distances to schools, long drought spells and the adverse effects of climate change, gender discrimination against the girl-child, retrogressive cultural practices such as female circumcision, early and forced marriages, lack of adequate teaching and learning resources, continued clan and tribal conflicts are just some of the factors that continue to make access to and completion of education to pastoralists children almost impossible.
People of Northern Kenya who include the Maasai, Samburu, Turkana, Rendile, Pokot, Somali, Gabbra, Borana, Yiaku are nationally and internationally recognized for their beautiful and diverse culture, which they have managed to preserve against the forces of western influence and modernization.
There is however the danger of losing this culture in the long term if unchecked . this is especially due to the youths rapid rural-urban migration in search of employment opportunities and better social amenities.
Again retrogressive cultural practices such as Female Genital Mutilation, early and forced marriages and even polygamous marriages should be abolished since they are not only bad cultural practices but are also a violation of human rights.
3. Climate change and environment
Northern Kenya is generally classified as ASALS (Arid and Semi Arid Lands) and is home to chalbi desert in Marsabit. It is characterized by extreme weather conditions, low rainfall levels, little vegetation cover, long drought spells that have resulted in hunger crisis that have necessitated international humanitarian intervention to save lives over the years.
On the other hand, the region hosts a large number of white ranches, animal conservancies, and eco-lodges with their significance and contribution to the community and the environment being quite contentious. They include the Lewa conservancy and safari lodge, Lol-daiga Ltd, Ol-pejeta, Segera Mission, Borana Farm, Ol- jogi Ltd, Lentile lodge, Tasia lodge, Il-Ngwesi lodge (famous now for Prince William’s proposal to his wife Kate Middleton) among many others. It is however prudent to note that the development of eco-tourism in the region has had a lot of positive contribution to the people and the region.
4. Sports, Arts and Music.
Youth unemployment is a major challenge facing the government of Kenya and in deed the governments of most developing countries; it only gets worse when it involves the indigenous youths since they have had little or no access to necessary education and experience/exposure.
Sports, Arts and Music is one of the four programs of KIWAY foundation that not only aims to keep the youth busy and productive, but to also economica
lly empower them by using talent for economic gain. This is an important and functional way of initiating and preserving peace in a region characterized by continued conflicts and warfare.
Poor transport and communications networks, inaccessible roads, lack of electricity in most regions, limited communication channels such as radios, T.V, Internet, newspapers. Inadequate social facilities such as schools, health centers , libraries, etc continue to pull down any real efforts of development .
As an organization, we are working to eliminate the root causes and factors that have contributed to northern Kenya being the most underdeveloped region in the country.
We provide bursaries to needy and deserving children – especially in secondary and college education, build capacities for indigenous women and youth organizations, engage with the community and community organizations in environmental conservation and work with the youths in promotion of sports, arts and music. We are also planning activities to promote the culture and cultural diversity of the people e.g. with an annual cultural festival.
We are seeking your support as an individual or organization to make the life of one person or of a whole community better, remember every single $5 counts. We also appreciate non- financial support such as volunteers, networks, learning and teaching resources etc.
You can contact us at:
P.O BOX 31472-00600
Tel: +254 729 734676