EMPOWERMENT

Girls not protected enough, Mombasa women leaders say

Girls easily give up when faced with challenges and this undercuts their potential.

In Summary
  • Woman Representative Asha Hussein, political activist Hamisa Zaja and Shanzu MCA Maimuna Salim on Thursday said oppression of the girl child creates a vicious cycle.
  • Hussein said parents have to up their game and frequently talk to their children, especially girls.
Political activist Hamisa Zaja, Woman Rep Asha Hussein and MCA Maimuna Salim at Uwanja wa Mbuzi on Sunday
CARING: Political activist Hamisa Zaja, Woman Rep Asha Hussein and MCA Maimuna Salim at Uwanja wa Mbuzi on Sunday
Image: BRIAN OTIENO

Poverty and poor parenting are pushing girls into early marriage, creating an uneducated society that ends up oppressing girls, women leaders in Mombasa have said.

Woman Representative Asha Hussein, political activist Hamisa Zaja and Shanzu MCA Maimuna Salim on Thursday said oppression of the girl creates a vicious cycle, which makes it hard to extricate them from many challenges.

Speaking after a meeting to take stock of their performance at Sunday’s activities during the Day of the Girl Child celebrations at Uwanja wa Mbuzi, the three leaders said the women leaders must work harder to protect the girl at the Coast.

Hussein said parents have to up their game and frequently talk to their children, especially girls.

She said in most cases, especially at the Coast, parents abdicate their responsibility to their parents. This means children end up growing closer to their grandparents than their parents.

“So, girls, do not be afraid to approach your parents on any issue that affects you,” Hussein said.

Zaja, who is also the United Green Movement secretary general, said girls easily give up when faced with challenges and this undercuts their potential.

“There will always be challenges. But these challenges should not stop any girl from achieving her dream,” Zaja said.

She said there are many examples of women who faced adversity in their childhood but still managed to overcome them and emerge stronger and better and are now successful in life.

“No challenge has no solution. All challenges are there to make us stronger,” the UGM secretary general said.

Shanzu MCA Maimuna Salim said through legislation, they are putting in place measures to cushion the girl against predators and other forces that may derail her progress.

“We are 12 in the county assembly and we have come together to ensure we give a voice to the girl in Mombasa,” Salim said.

Hussein said education is one of the ways through which the girl can be empowered. She has been working with Coast Education Centre to ensure the girl is not left behind.

She said she is ready, through the National Government Affirmative Action Fund, to support the girls' education by providing bursaries. Poverty, she said, has pushed parents to marrying off their underage children.

“I have rescued several girls who escaped from their homes because their parents wanted to marry them off saying they have no money to educate them,” Hussein said.

Lack of school fees should not be an impediment to education, she stressed, adding that there are many avenues that can be used to provide school fees.

She said apart from the NGAAF, there is the NG-CDF and the county bursaries that can be used. She said she wants to stop unnecessary deaths of girls.

“There are girls who stay silent with their problems which eventually overwhelms them and they end up making the poor decision of committing suicide,” the woman representative said.

Hussein said they are pushing to have the sanitary pads returned to the Sports, Youth and Gender ministry from the Education ministry.

Edited by Henry Makori