HALIMA MOHAMMED CRUSADES FOR WOMEN'S RIGHT
HALIMA MOHAMMED CRUSADES FOR WOMENS RIGHT
A woman has been a victim of all sins in this world.
Susan Anthony an American social reformer and women rights activist who played a pivotal role in the women's suffrage movement.
The scenario has not changed to date and the fight for women rights is gaining momentum by the day,
Susan who was prevented from speaking at a temperance conference because she was female. This the struggle has not come to an end since there are so many challenges that must be overcome.
Halima Mohamed founder and director of the Coast Education Center (COEC) has been on the frontline fighting for women's rights in the Coast region and the nation at large.
Her vision led her to launch the Coast Women CVE charter which provides a framework to involve women from the coastal region in the prevention and combating violent extremism.
According to Halima, the Coast Women CVE charter will also provide an action plan for all stakeholders with proposed actions that aim to address unique issues faced by traumatized and affected women.
She wants women to face head-on the monster of violent extremism that has been experienced in the region for decades.
Halima desires to see women engaged in countering violent extremism.
“Women have been victims of all sorts of abuse from bartering, violent extremism and neglect," she said.
She decries the sate they go through since there are no rescue centers from such victims and the only haven for such victims are orphanages or children's homes.
“When a mother calls in the middle of the night she has been chased away by the husband we have no secure place to take her but instead link them to any nearby orphanage”. She narrates.
Through her hard work and motivation, she is tirelessly working on a project on women against violent extremism (WAVE). Working closely with women whose husbands and sons have been lured to join extremist groups. These women are shunned and isolated by family members and communities because of the relationships they have with their husbands and sons.
“I’m proud to have said we have a support group of 200 women at the coastal counties that we support and work with. These women go through trauma and depression, and as an institution we felt it's important to hold their hands to help them psychologically by establishing a safe home for these women.
Women have been historically and systematically marginalized through distinct social and legal imperfections. Halima advocates the rights to get girls and women empowered, women, taking upstands and leadership positions at both county and national levels.
Halima a member of the Women Alliance for security leadership (WASL) that brings together existing women rights and peace practitioners, organizations, and networks actively engaged in preventing extremism and promoting peace, rights, and pluralism.
She was among the featured speakers of the UN Group for the prevention of violent extremism during a high-level meeting at the United Nations convened by the governments of Norway and Jordan. Sharing a case study of Kenya on psychosocial support on trauma healing on violent extremism.
Under her speech Halima noted mothers are often the first to observe the early warning signs of extremism in their families, as there is a need for women to play a role in the prevention and resolution of conflicts in peacebuilding, urging women to be equipped and supported in their efforts to prevent their children from joining extremist groups.
As early marriage infringes the rights of women and girls, Halima came up with a network of 600 girls at the Coast region who they work with to prevent early and arranged forced marriages which impede girls education, psychological wellbeing, and health.
“Many factors interact to force a child into early marriage. The family believes that marriage will provide protection, family honor, social norms not knowing they are subjecting girl's development by resulting in early pregnancy and social isolation. Interrupting her schooling, limiting her opportunities for career and vocational advancement and placing her at increased risk of domestic violence.
Also having a network of women by the name ‘mothers initiative’ that champion for the rights of both the children and the girls.
In the last decade, she has been agitating for the rights of women and girls at the grassroots level. Halima is committed to championing women's rights.
The founder and director of Coast Education Center (COEC) stands and goes against the tides where inequality touching on the girl child reigns.
Operating as a community-based organization for eight years and officially registered in 2016 by NGO Coordination Board as a national organization, today Coast Education Center operates into six Counties working with women and girls empowerment in Lamu, Tana River, Taita Taveta, Kilifi, Mombasa, and Kwale.
As an institution, their niche is women and girls and core thematic focus areas are Lands as a natural resource, democracy and governance, peacebuilding and conflict transformation, women and youth empowerment.
She says girls and women from the Coast are disadvantaged in accessing education, nutrition, legal rights, medical care, violence against women and early marriage.
“While growing up I witnessed young girls pregnant or drop out of school due to poverty and forced marriages, which should not happen in this century.
Halima believes that a girl's empowerment requires education, life skills, and knowledge.
Men and women have equal rights to opportunities in political-economic, cultural and the social sphere according to the Kenyan constitution.
She narrates how women are not taken seriously in this country despite fighting for gender-equal rights.
“The the only person who can bring the change we need to start and initiate is ourselves, women’’ she added.
In her journey that has led a team of land experts in developing Mombasa County Land Policy that was adopted in 2016 at the Mombasa county assembly, she has championed for inclusion and administration of land that guides and facilitates the Mombasa county integrated development plans.
Championing women to inherit land or to own land, trying to educate and empower women to understand land rights as women, to understand that they can inherit land both using the secular and sharia law.
"Today as an institution, we are happy to say that we have developed since 2016 the first-ever Mombasa County Land Policy that looks at issues to do with the acquisition of land, administration of land, usage of land and the interest of women in ownership of land" Halima explains.
Today Mombasa County has a document that they can use to both protect the interest of women and the general public on issues of land ownership and also the forced evictions that most of the time takes place within the counties.
Halima also champions human rights the perspective of women and gender rights, holding different forums in six counties and trying to empower women and girls on their rights.
Making them understand both the girl child right and women rights, and how to participate meaningfully in the decision making in the county running affairs both in the budget-making process, to be able to question and also audit for the things that the County propose to them.
To hold the state actors countable in different actions whether in health and education.
The challenge that they face is funding; adding that funding is constrained because every donor comes up with an objective of want they want and making them narrow out-there ideas to what they want to fund.
Adding girls and youth need to be at the lookout especially when approached as most of the young girls are into social media that can easily be recruited.