Women activists speak about COVID-19 in Nairobi

I speak with Juliet Wanjira and Maryanne Kasina about COVID-19 in Nairobi.

Juliet Wanjira is co-founder of the Mathare social justice centers, founder Matigari kids book club, member of the social justice movement working group and women in social justice centers.I am a grassroots human right defender passionate about advocating for dignified lives in informal settlements and children rights.

Maryanne Kasina is a social justice political activist. She is the convener of the Women in Social justice Centres, and the co-founder of Kayole Community Justice Centre

TRANSCRIPT

SUMMARY KEYWORDS
people, social justice, women, organizing, government, social justice movement, informal settlement, community, police, struggles, nairobi, centers, gender based violence, increased, chief, cases, understand, violence, fighting, shiraz
SPEAKERS
Wanjira, Firoze Manji, Maryanne

Firoze Manji 00:03
Good morning. Good afternoon. Good evening, wherever you may be. This is Firoze Manji. From Daraja Press Welcome to organizing in the time of COVID. Today I have two really interesting guests from Nairobi, my hometown. I’ll be speaking with JJuliet Wanjira and Maryanne Kasina. Juliet Wanjira is co-founder of the Mathare social justice centers, founder Matigari kids book club, member of the social justice movement working group and women in social justice centers.I am a grassroots human right defender passionate about advocating for dignified lives in informal settlements and children rights. Marianne is a social justice political activist. She’s the convener of the women in social justice centers, and the co founder of the Kayole community justice centers. I’d like to welcome both of you to the show today. Karibuni!

Firoze Manji 01:29
You have both been incredibly active, and organizing women around social justice in the settlements around Nairobi. And this you’re doing in the context of COVID. Now, we get mixed messages about what is happening in relation to COVID. So what’s the situation and how do you see the situation of COVID? Maybe start with you, Maryanne,

Maryanne 02:09
I’m really happy to be part and parcel of today’s conversation. So during this COVID-19, it has not been easy in terms of organizing, because during COVID-19, actually injustices have increased, and especially in the informal of settlement. And also you’ve seen government, there is a big gap. And also we’ve seen, we’ve been able to identify the gap in the healthcare sector, whereby we’ve seen during this COVID-19 health crisis as a reason where people in the informal settlement could not access health care. And also during this COVID-19, to see the failures of government whereby just not actually implemented our Constitution, we are we still fighting for basic needs, and especially during these COVID-19 we’ve seen even government, do demolitions for people in the informal settlements. And so we, during this COVID-19, those are some of the challenges that we faced in terms of organizing, and also cases of police brutality have increased, whereby we, as a social justice movement, and also as as people organizing in the grassroots level. In our informal settlement, where we come from, we’ve seen cases of police brutality and execution without reason. But what currently we think police have changed their strategy in terms of execution because as a social justice movement, we’ve been on the front line fight against police brutality. And so what has increased mostly is our cases of enforced disappearance. So, those are the some of the challenges we faced during this COVID-19 times. And also we cannot forget the aspect of gender based violence that has really risen in the informal settlement. Cases of gender based violence have increased cases of sexual harassment cases of sexual violence have increasinged informal sentiment due to lack of access to basic needs, we all understand that poverty is violence itself. So during this COVID-19 most people are losing their jobs. There are cases of high end employment is too high in especially from the informal settlement. We are most people survive with less than $1 we are most people survived from hand to mouth. And at the end of the day now, issues of jobs were like the case of domestic workers were during these COVID-19 people have refused access to the domestic workers, maybe working for them, because they have fears of them getting affected by COVID-19. So and especially most of the domestic workers or their domestic, other women, and so we’ve seen a higher, high, high high rate of women losing their jobs. And at the end of the day, women find into their homes, a lot of these a lot of family battles into the family setups, whereby we’ve documented so many cases of women violations into during these COVID-19, and especially cases of gender based violence, because we feel men really feel frustrated whereby the patriarchal system has given much power to the men, by the end of the day, they don’t see the sense of that power, because they cannot even afford to provide basic food or basic need for their families. And so their frustrations, they, they just, they, their frustrations are just link back to the women. And so it has not been easy to organize as women, and seen that the government has not given any support. And it was so ironic to see government, what could just do is to offer 1000 per month in which that 1000 was not transferred for each and they will person in the form of settlement. The 1000 was transferred to a few people no in mind, what can 1002 for a day living for someone for a duration of one month. So it has been a challenge. But you will you’re fighting, you’re not going to relent until we have a society where equal access of resources are distributed to each and every person. Yeah.

Firoze Manji 07:25
So So Wanjira could you give us some idea of the kind of organizing that you are trying to do around what are the issues that you you’re organizing around the settlements?

Wanjira 07:42
Um, okay, thank you Shiraz. First of all, I’d like to agree with my comrade, sister, Maryanne. And everything she has said is the the living realities in every informal settlement in Kenya right now, not just I think Nairobi, because we are representing Nairobi County. But I think I think every Kenyan has felt the pinch of COVID-19. And the reality that the government really does not care about the common people. It is at this time that women have really carried the burden of family and you know, this, this culture of blaming the mother for the mistakes of the daughter, and a lot of daughters have gotten pregnant during this COVID-19 break that they were home, a lot of high school, girls, the numbers are out absolutely outrageous. And there’s nothing the government is planning on doing about that. That’s a whole generation of women who might have to drop out of school to care for their children. And yet, the government does not seem to have any plan about that. We’ve seen our children go back to schools that have not been repaired. There is nothing that has been done in the education sector all our time that students were home. So it just, for me, as an activist, I feel like this period Kenyans have gotten to see for themselves what kind of a government they have. And they have gotten to see for themselves. That it’s almost like the on … So yeah, it’s been a very tough, tough period for women and women who might defend us. Because we’ve had to go into some of our own pockets pocket. … Firoze Yeah, it’s been a very time organizing in these times of. … Okay, thank you for the assurance. … So dealing with especially cases of gender, dealing with especially cases of gender based violence has not been easy for me in my community, our local chief conspired them gooons appeared because there is no support also from the system. We succeeded in ousting the chief but a month later, he bribed his [way] into our community. So it still it still, it still had fighting sexual violations for children in my community, because I don’t feel the support from the system. I don’t really expect the system to support but there is no there is no support for grantees to effectively do their work. In terms of the work I do in my community, I conduct a lot of political as you as you had introduced me. And during the times of COVID-19, we did some food distributions in the community, people are very hungry. As Maryanne had mentioned, people have lost jobs. So imagine a household where both mother and father have no jobs and these children have to eat. That is why we are seeing an increase in insecurity. I just wish the government should have put up proper structures for every Kenyan that lost their job during COVID-19. And every job less can and I think it’s just really tough for Kenyans right now. Back to you Shiraz.

Firoze Manji 11:59
Okay, well, thanks for that, that there are a number of issues that have been raised First of all, Maryanne, you you you talked about a 1000 shillings being given that that’s for for what for a month? Or is it for a week? Is it? What are you saying it’s 1000 shillings per month?

Maryanne 12:25
It is 1000 shillings for a month.

Firoze Manji 12:29
So, so, for people who who are watching this give us an idea? How much does a loaf of bread cost?

Maryanne 12:41
Actually, during this COVID-19 a loaf of bread was around it, it has always been 50 shillings and and during this COVID-19 even they tried to make the price of the bread to 52 shillings and people could not buy the idea of the government trying to raise the cost of food high but actually we can still access that during these COVID-19 the prices of food is still high, everything has increased. So there are 1000s now a loaf costs 50 shillings. So how much could that 1000 do for one month? It’s so ironic. Yeah.

Firoze Manji 13:26
And Wanjira you you raise this issue? Very sounds very interesting about the chief and how originally you managed to oust him. How was that done?Hi. How did you succeed in in ousting the chief? [Connection lost with Wanjira …]

Maryanne 14:28
I think Wanjira was saying these things happened, this happened in Mathare. … We had that case of sexual harassment in in Madeira. And so what the chief was trying to do is to infiltrate the case in the end, make sure that the the perpetrator is not arrested and those are the some of the cases we’ve been happy in our informal sector. I can attest that during this COVID-19 Hussein, there is a huge gap in referral in terms of case gbv referral mechanism. So, so I think what When did they did they, they had to fight for the justice of the victim, or the survivor. And the chief, what we have to do is to make sure that the chief because he was trying to delay for the justice or to free trade the process for the victim. So they had to push as a as a as a social justice in Mathare. Wanjira being on the front line, that if this is what the chief is doing, then he has to leave this work because it’s not serving the people, but just championing the perpetrators who, who, who are who are street wathing in the issues of sexual violence in the informal settlement. And so, Wanjira has shared, they were able to, to stop the chief from walking, but with the kind of the system that you have a very corrupt system. At the end of the day, the chief was able to retain his job again. And so you you are like, if these are the people that we are expecting them to serve the community, we are the people that we need to work together to fight against injustices, but they’re the people who are, who are really supporting in justices happen in our community, or are the people who actually tend to, to try to cover up what is happening in the community. So I think the other end of the day, what you feel is the frustrations, I feel frustrated sometimes as human rights defenders. And this is not happening only in my Mathare area, I can say that is happening. And mostly the informal settlements where there is a huge gap in the referral system. In terms of GBV. In terms of the judicial system, in our police stations, you find most of the victims of gender based violence, their cases go, like they don’t get justice at the end of the day that justice is delayed. But there is a lot of cover up of those cases. So it’s either in the police station, the case has been covered up or, or the perpetrator, might have the resources and end up maybe at work, looking for rob people in the community to to threaten you. So it’s not an easy work. As a human rights defender, we face a lot of threats, either they might be coming from the perpetrators, too much coming from they might be come from the police, or the community here elders, because we still there is a huge gap even in terms of how the civil society has been doing its work. We have a grassroots people. And we can we’ve we’ve seen the gap between the grassroots organizers and the civil society, whereby we, we understand the civil space is full of elites. And most of us the grassroots people, are we we’ve not gotten that access to that much lowly education because it’s a challenge is inadequate of access to a basic need and education is one of it. So there is an informal settlement or out.

Maryanne 18:49
Yeah, I can say, from informal settlement, there is a huge gap in terms of illiteracy level, where people do not understand the purpose of championing for social justice, or the purpose of fighting for an equal society. It’s still a struggle. So even just not being easy as women in social justice and organizing it and I can attest as a co founder of Kayole community Justice Center, which is a center that is led by women. At first we were beginning, even the community elders were like, what are these young women doing? What are they trying to do this? like they were even trying to, to show us like, you cannot, there’s nothing you’re going to do. And we went even getting a space to as a resource center or as a community center was that issue. And we tried up to I can say for the last three years, at least community can even say we really appreciate and acknowledge the much work that you’re doing, because you’ve tried even to bridge the gap between the community elders that we call them Nyumba Kumi, which most of them is male dominated and try to ask Where is the voice of women? Where the voice of the young people? Because even when you win, it can be times of even as coming out and saying, We are documenting issues of police brutality, we felt that this community, elders were the same people that were championing for the killing of young people. But they were not trying to think what is the root cause of why young people aren’t getting themselves into crime, the root cause itself, we have to see, from a larger perspective, that is the failure of the government that has not given or has not provided access to the access to basic needs, to the people, and especially to the people, the informal settlement. And that’s why crime has always increased the informal settlement. Yeah. So it has not be it has not been easy, and also being on the frontline to champion on issues of police brutality. It has even given most of us stress, as a center of we’ve experienced with abuse experienced that from the police. But you are saying we’re not going to give up, we have to continue fighting. And we will say that if they kill us, our children will continue with this struggle, we are not going to give up. We must tell the world, the world must understand the struggles we are facing as grassroots people that struggle our daily life everyday as grassroots people. Because, ah, I can I can say that. What is actually the grassroots people are the oppressed class to awaken and say, “We are tired, and we have to get equal resources as the way we had the people getting it, we have to have equal distribution of national resources. Yeah. So I think that is what I have. Maybe I think Wanjira was with us can can also add something on that.

Firoze Manji 21:59
Wanjira, welcome back. But the two areas I’d like to explore when you both talked about increases in gender based violence during this period? What’s the cause of this huge increase? …

Wanjira 22:57
okay, it is because of finances. It’s, I think the root cause of Yes, violence is because of financial constraints in the nuclear family. So you you get to see, like I’ve explained before COVID either both of us had a job, and that both the mother and the father, post COVID a lot of people lost their jobs. So both the mother and the father have no job and frustrations day in day out the children also need to eat you need to pay rent so it becomes a lot of pressure and now the violence kind of happens horizontal violence, but it’s it’s really has been perpetrated because of lack of enough resources, even men to men, there’s a lot of stabbing of each other especially in in Carmichael Area. And when you when you look into the matter, it’s because of risk to see a lady person had made a trade back and I’m broke I need to feed my family. And then somehow the situation came violent. … If we could fix that we would be able to solve this issue of gender based violence in informal citadelle lack of basic needs, everyday lack of basic needs, everyday learning, how you will pay rent and the landlord in rent. … At the lack of basic needs on a daily basis, it becomes frustrating and you want to take out on anyone that’s next to you, or anyone that is, seems to be the reason why you seem like you don’t have those basic needs, especially for the men. I think they take out on the women because there’s an expectation that you’re supposed to be providing the children are sleeping hungry, you’re failing on your duty, and the man is like, I think I’m trying my best, it’s just that there are no jobs, and it just becomes a full blown violent situation. There’s also a lot of indulgence in drugs to probably just leave away the reality that your life working out. So the influence of drugs also contributes to gender violence and sexual violence. But if we would fix the needs for basic needs for all peoples, it would solve like 90% of these problems.

Firoze Manji 26:07
You both mentioned, also, the increase in police violence. Now at the beginning of the pandemic, there was a militarization of the streets if I remember right, in which the police were, were basically locking people up during the curfew in the ghettos in the settlements. Is that still going on? And, and what accounts for the increase in police violence?

Firoze Manji 26:56
either of you, either of you?

Wanjira 27:23
So in Mathare still happens. Just this week. Just last week, we have two cases of police killings. Last week, we have two cases of police killings by knock on killer cop Rashid. I don’t know why the government won’t do anything about this notorious killer. Murderer. Rashid. We all know he’s a murderer. It’s been as accountable, hold him accountable. I think other cops are beginning to follow it. We have Barraza who’s, who’s, who’s following in the footsteps of a killer cop Rashid. Um, what I can say is because this there seems to be like, the government is not as strict as it was when COVID-19 first, when we first heard of COVID-19. It’s not as violent as it was before. It’s not as clear as it was before, but it still does. It still happens. Except you will not know if they are coming today, or they’re coming tomorrow. Let it go past. They haven’t come to make everybody close their shop and go home. Two days ago, there was tear gas and gunshots in Mathare and it wasn’t even curfew time yet, I think around 830. So these things are still this violence is still happening. And it’s been. It’s been caused by the history of police in our country. Our police were trained to be service people to the Kenyans they were never trained to us security especially report. It’s almost as if there’s a class the police is supposed to protect and there is a class the police is down on and that is us because that is the that has been our relationship with police. Since I was I young person in Mathare. So it’s because when I look into history, it’s because when our country was colonized, that was the role of police to clamp down on the natives to or to beat them. natives to discipline the “natives”. And unfortunately, that culture has never been addressed. It is still the culture we live today and the police forget that they’re also oppressed people when we when we see for the condition that […] every other Kenyan except they have a uniform item such list to be honest but King whatever that the what paid was given I think we need tangible would ask me out they actually just abolish the whole thing. in Mathare in New York is right now if you’re going to go there absolute sense to ask for people into black people all over the world back to you Shiraz.

Firoze Manji 30:52
Firoze

Wanjira 30:55
I don’t why I keep calling you Shiraz

Wanjira 31:02
Firoze Manji

Firoze Manji 31:08
here’s one of our original posters about organizing at the time of COVID. And you can see the police action, and it’s in no way an attempt to to prevent it’s more terrorization. And I think what you have to say about the colonial nature of the police is very important. So the question is, what, what, what are the possibilities of changing this? Do we need police do we need? Or is the community able to organize itself in terms of its own security? Maryanne?

Maryanne 32:07
Okay, I think it’s up to the community to, to take up its space and reorganize itself. And address and or even the problem that they are facing, no one is good, no one is going to save us either the NGO a that no one is coming to save us. We are all we are self saviour to ourselves, we are the one to free ourselves from the collectiveness of our chains that will be tied around for so long. We are that we are the same people to wake up and realize that we have the right to live a dignified life. So no one is going to save us out of that captiveness, but ourselves. And that can happen when the community awakens and realizes that they need to fight for a ally for a dignified life and an advocate for a quality life. Yeah. equality for all.

Firoze Manji 33:16
You, both commented on the failure of the government to deal with some of these issues. So what are the mechanisms for for, for getting this addressed? What What are you doing? What kind of organizing you didn’t put pressure on government to change its its its way of? Or is it just that they are never going to change? …

Firoze Manji 33:56
You both commented on on the government not doing its duty. So how you going to make it do its duty?

Maryanne 34:09
I think the people must understand that the power belongs to themselves, the power lies in the hands of the masses. And it’s it’s actually our mandate as the people to awaken and say, we need to put in leaders in place that are that are fighting for the rights of the people because we can actually say, we’ve seen our government even doesn’t care about the issues of human rights. Because if it cares about human rights, then you could not be discussing about basically. So we need it’s actually the people to understand that they need to put leaders who can deliver leaders that understand the struggles and leaders that challenge. not greedy, but leaders that can use the resources that we have to make sure that we have a society where equality is observed. A society where dignified dignity is a, it’s, it’s a daily life that we live by it. But we are the same people that make the wrong decision. And this is what the system has done is to divide us more in terms of tribalism. So its high time that the masses awakens and understand that we are not enemies of each other, but we need to organize and unify ourselves and unite and understand who is the enemy here. So it’s up, it’s actually the mandate to the masses to awaken and see the gap and see how the system has used tribalism as a way to divide us. So if you have to reach to that level, where people understand that we have natural resources that we have people that even all those resources that we cannot even afford themselves. So if we we have a long way to continue organize the masses to awaken from the slumber and no one is going to liberate anyone but people to give themselves to to deploy themselves in set for self liberation. Yes.

Firoze Manji 36:36
But so what are you doing to awaken the masses as you put it , Wanjira. Give us an idea of what kind of organizing are you doing that will lead to the awakening of the masses?

Firoze Manji 37:16
……Can you hear us now? Yes, ….

Wanjira 38:21
But I wanted to say our approach has not been a government centered per se. We kind of realize there is nothing we can do with this government. As of now what we can do is invest in people so that they whoever is in power, the people woken enough to know that this is a good leader or this is not a good leader, this can govern us. This cannot govern us. We want to empower the population so that they’re aware when things are going wrong and wants the masses to be like they bear as like the gatekeepers of the nation. You know, we don’t want to give that to the government to decide on how they’re going to govern us. We want the people to know that they have the power to decide how they’re going to be governed and that is enshrined in our, our, our code 41 of Kenya that’s also power in in this country. So we want a we took a people-centered approach to ensure that whoever is in power, the people are going to keep him or her a check. That was more of a sure bet. And it’s still a process that is ongoing. But I’m sure in the next few years, we are going to be okay. As a country. I’m hopeful. And I know because I’m working towards it.

Wanjira 38:29
Right. So How have the communities around you responded to the establishment of these social justice centers?

Firoze Manji 40:37
Maryanne?

Maryanne 40:42
Okay. So, actually, so far, so good. The community has started to realize the purpose of the need of the social justice center that the need of people coming together the need of organizing, and having that one voice to stand up against injustices. So more, we are still having more new babies being born, and more new social justice centers coming up. But we do not just want to have more social justice centers coming up, but not having a clear ideology on where we are going, or not having a clear vision, what is our ultimate goal as a social justice movement. So I can say as a as a as a convener of women’s social justice center. And that’s what we deployed ourselves mostly, is to engage more women in political empowerment, to understand that they have to take up their space in every aspect of organizing political work, either, political, economic, or social, that women must take up their space. So it’s actually until when women take up their space. And it’s until women liberate themselves that you’re going to have the revolution in this country is until well, women are free, that you’re going to have the the freedom of black people. So we are still organizing the grassroots women to understand that they had to take up their space, because even in terms of political mobilizing the majority of the women, but why is it that we women, we are not on those, we are not seated on those tables where the decision has been made. So is actually to read to understand what is that gap? So as a social justice movement as a convener of women, the Social Justice Center, we are trying to understand what is the problem? And how do we bridge the gap? And how do we take up those spaces. So we still organizing, because for so many times, men are times that women have been left out. But it’s high time that women we wake up and say we understand that the power lies within us. And we have that power, and we have to take our space, and no one is good to give us our space. But as our says to take up our space. Yeah.

Firoze Manji 43:25
So why are women leading the struggle?

Maryanne 43:32
Women must lead women actually, a nation that as not empowered, it’s women. It’s a, it has already failed. So it’s women that needs to awaken and organize themselves to fight for the liberation of this country. Women must understand they must take back their space, women must take back their space. But that’s…it’s a it’s so patriarchal, it’s so male dominated. But when women realize that, what is their space, and where, what is their role in the community, then that’s when it starts. That is the journey or the journey of revolution begins there. So we have a long way to go, because women really need to wake up, really women need to take up the space, and understand that no one is going to tell you, Hey, wake up, you have to be in a political space. It’s ourselves to take up those spaces by force by fire. So we are taking those spaces, you know, giving up because actually what the majority and why is it that you’re not in those spaces, you know, and actually, we the women need also to voice our voices and address the issues. We understand our issues better. So no one is going to speak for issues but as ourselves to sit on those tables and say this is what we want, and this is our problem, and these are how we can enrich this gap. So, but most of the times that women are not that are not in those spaces, and most of the time, we may lose spaces that their voices still not add. pacetti still continues to stomp on the voice of the women. So it’s it’s upon we the women to unite together and say, we are going for spaces again, we are taking our spaces, and we are not going to relent. Yeah.

Firoze Manji 45:31
So Wanjira, any last points you would like to convey to people watching this program?

Firoze Manji 45:56
I think the internet connection is very poor.

Firoze Manji 46:11
I don’t think she’s getting through. So I’ve been talking to two activists from the informal settlements in Nairobi, Juliet Wanjira and Maryanne Kasina. As a as a sort of final point, then you’ve mentioned that it is not just Nairobi, where we are seeing the establishment of social justice centers, where else are they, and what kind of links are being made and connections with these other social justice centers?

Firoze Manji 47:01
Maryann?

Wanjira 47:02
Yeah. So apart from Nairobi, where we have the western chapter, we have Mombasa and kajiado. And so the link in between us with other chapters, we have a structure as a social justice movement. So that we have a national structure whereby we are able to understand or connect together with other chapters. But apart from that, we have exchange programs as a movement, where we are able to land and understand the struggles of people in West and the struggles of people in Mombasa, the struggles of people Kajiado and the struggles of people in Nairobi, and then how do we unite our struggles. Because our struggles are connected, it’s just a matter of uniting our struggles. So we have structures whereby the structures of social justice centers, we have a convener, co convener, and then now every chapter has had its own leadership, where they also have a convener, a working group, and this working group is where the decision, it’s the decision body making of the of the of the movement. So it is not, it is not one month, or once one person show that owning the decision and everything are the visual they are of the movement, by the collective decision, because we must make collective decision all together. So we have a working group body that makes the decision. So this working group code, you have the voice of the women, the representation of women, where they are, where I sit as the convener …, this issues of women, and then we have committees around what committees around the struggles from where we’re coming from, like in Nairobi of committees on gender based violence on police brutality, women in social justice center, whereby now women are on the seat of the working group, to represent the voice of the women and to address the issues of women. We are, we are a committee on art iand art for social justice, our committee on research, because we have to do research and speak out of out of the person’s perception of facts. So we have our research committee. So I guess it was as good as some of the committees that we have. So out of those committees. We have a Colombian and a co convener that we sit at the working group, and so we also have To represent our teams, that is their mass gender equality. So we have a total representative from the social from the centers that we have.

Firoze Manji 51:04
…..

Firoze Manji 51:10
Wanjira, Tell us about the the committee’s that you are forming in Mathare and the connections you’re making with other social justice centers.

Firoze Manji 52:43

Wanjira 52:54
Okay, so I was saying in Mathare, we have several campaigns, we don’t call them committees, we call them campaigns so that it can broaden into a whole campaign. We have a campaign on people living with disability. And we launched a report on that, I think, two months ago. Um, so that campaign is about the struggles of people living with disability in informal settlements, we have a campaign on a water base. This is a huge issue on lack of water in matauri, and contaminated water. We also launched a report called marjani, hakima jinu. High you can find that in our website, Mathare. Social Justice Center. We also have a campaign on political education where we go to the community to the business and conduct a political education with the youth. We have a campaign called mothers of victims and survivors network that brings together all victims of police violence, not just in Mathare. So every other informal settlement This is one of the campaigns of the social justice movement … and she’s also a campaign of the social justice movement. This is the focus on social justice. I think it’s almost like the heartbeat of the movement because it consolidates all the struggles in like all the committees of the movement. So what we have been doing is there’s a campaign head in every other campaign challenging gender based violence is headed by Mama Rama, who is doing an amazing job in teenagers, from early pregnant from early marriages, especially in the Borana community. We are also we’ve also come together as the Justice centers in Mathare It’s called the Mazare social justice network to consolidate all our efforts, so that instead of … having their dialogue on sexual and gender based violence on Friday, and MSG, is having their dialogue on Saturday, we actually merge and hold one big dialogue together. So that’s one of the strengths of this social justice …

Firoze Manji 55:48
seem to have lost connections again.

Firoze Manji 56:08
Oh, well, it’s a real shame that we have such poor connections. But it does tell you something about the difficulties that people in Mathare face. But I’d like to express my thanks to both of you, Marianne, and Wanjira for sparing time to, to join us on this show. And, and to express my admiration for your courage and commitment. And, yeah, I think it gives us a lot of hope, for the future, the kind of work that you’re both doing. So I’d like to thank you for having joined us on the show. You like to say some last few words before we.

Maryanne 57:12
Okay thank you so much for this opportunity, and for giving us the opportunity to enlight our struggles of people from a grassroots level. Yeah, so thank you so much.

Firoze Manji 57:29
Thank you. Okay. Well, I hope we’ll have a chance to talk again. Good luck in your struggles. Send lots of solidarity. Take care of yourselves,

57:42
Comrade. Firoze.. Can I say something before we close?

Firoze Manji 57:49
Please? Yes.

57:54
Can I can? Can you guys hear me?

Firoze Manji 57:57
Yes.

Wanjira 58:00
Thank you. Thank you for having me. I apologize for my internet mishap. But I want to send a message of hope to everyone that’s listening. All is not lost. And we can change things. We just have to be united and know that we can only win, things can only get better. It cannot get worse than this. So it’s to encourage us to do whatever little we are able to do in our own little ways. And we shall win. Because things can only get better. It’s too bad. It’s it can’t get worse than this. All we need to do is consolidate our effort, especially let’s not do one man shows. Let’s come together. Let’s be united, and we shall surely win. Thank you so much for having me. I look forward to having a conversation with you. Again, I don’t feel like I gave you a I. The Internet didn’t let me speak so much of my mind today, but it’s at least. Yes, hopefully. Thank you so much.

Firoze Manji 59:08

Firoze Manji 59:30
I’ve been talking to Juliet Wanjira and Maryanne Kasina. From the informal settlements around Nairobi, both of whom are leading activists in the establishment and expansion of the social justice centers. Thank you for joining us on the show today, on Thursday in a couple of days time. I’ll be talking with comrades from the Alternative Mining Indaba in South Africa, about the work that they’ve been doing, and in particular to bring us up to date with the conference which was held last week. This is Firoze Manji signing off for today on Organizing in the time of COVID.

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