Amongst the organisations marking the day is MWA or Minority Women in Action whose executive director Akinyi Ocholla told Behind the Mask, “Together with [the] Kenya Human Rights Commission and [the] Gay and Lesbian Coalition of Kenya, Galck, we plan to launch our ‘Stop the Hate Campaign’ on May 17. We shall also distribute information, education and communication material to a variety of organizations.”
MWA was established in 2006. It is a member of Galck and its core mandate is to advocate for the rights of LBTI women in Kenya by engaging with national and international structures. One of their objectives is to ensure more inclusion for Kenyan women who have sex with women (WSW).
MWA also serves as the International Lesbian and Gay Association’s (ILGA) women’s secretariat organisation and they plan to roll out a survey in three Kenyan towns later in the year.
This collaborative effort includes MWA, the group 3W which is based in Kisumu (western Kenya) and PEMA–Kenya from Mombasa.
The study aims to capture information on physical, sexual/reproductive, mental health aspects of WSW. It also aims in capturing the knowledge and attitudes of health care providers toward WSW.
However, the study is still awaiting ethical approval, a vital requirement, from the Kenyatta National Hospital – University of Nairobi Ethical Research Committee.
As a preamble, ILGA conducted an online survey that ran from December 2011 to February 2012 which sought to find out about the different work of women organisations. The survey yielded 35 respondents.
Akinyi spoke about other activities that MWA has carried out saying, “We’ve managed to provide 20 of our members with pap smears and breast examinations this year at Nairobi Women’s Hospital. We have a tradition of looking for new gynaecologists every year to encourage members look after their reproductive health and also to sensitize health care providers.”
Other LGBTI organisations have released press statements regarding their planned activities to mark IDAHO 2012 on May 17 include Galck, the KHRC and Nyarwek
Gay and Lesbian Coalition of Kenya (GALCK) and Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC) have planned celebrations on May 17 at the GoDown Arts Centre in Nairobi from 3pm-7pm.
KIPE Kenya (Kisumu Initiative for Positive Empowerment) and the Nyarwek group have planned activities in Kisumu to mark the day. From 10am to noon there will be the ‘Gay Games’ at Mabatini.
Between 3 and 5pm there will be a panel discussion tackling the theme ‘LGBT & Human Rights’ held at the Nyarwek offices. Meanwhile, from 6 to 9pm there will be a ‘Dance & Karaoke at KIPE offices.
All the day’s activities will include free HIV and STI testing and treatment offered to gay and bisexual men at all the event locations.