“As a peer educator, I feel much empowered because of the insightful topics I have been able to learn throughout the sessions. As I interact with my peers and conduct referral to the health facilities, I will keep track that services are delivered in a human rights- based approach” _Catherine Kariuki, PEMA Kenya member
On 10-11 February 2018, Persons Marginalized and aggrieved in Kenya (PEMA-Kenya) with support from the Open Society Initiative for East Africa (OSIEA) conducted a human rights workshop for community members in Mombasa County. The forum which was conducted at the Reef Hotel , Nyali , was premised on the importance of understanding the bill of rights, chapter four, under the constitution of Kenya.
The workshop was conducted under a three year project dubbed “Pamoja Tuendelee” a Swahili term meaning progressing together. The overall goal of the project is to have a judicial system that administers justice regardless of one’s perceived or real sexual orientation or gender identity and ensure gender and sexual minorities (GSM) within Mombasa County understand their rights as Kenyan citizens and will not give in to intimidation from perpetrators of violence.
The workshop drew together 30 participants from the community across the county of Mombasa and Kwale with objectives of strengthening the working relations between the GSM-led organizations and partners for more strategic human rights interventions; and to strengthen the capacity of human rights defenders and their constituents to be able to stand up for themselves with regards to their rights.
At the end of the meeting, participants committed to taking forward a number of action points with regard putting into practice the integration of human rights approach to service delivery:
• The community committed to convey the same sensitization to their peers. This would ensure adoption of human rights approach in HIV National and County responses.
• The community committed to the roles of community members in holding service providers accountable on implementation of the bill of rights.
• Participants committed to creating an enabling legal environment for access to HIV and TB services by reporting human rights violation meted on GSMs and persons living with HIV.
PEMA Kenya intends to build on to this important forum, to push for future in-country advocacy initiatives. The focus will be on scaling up rights based approach to service delivery for the Gender and sexual minorities in the counties of Mombasa Kwale and Kilifi.