Women’s Empowerment Through Popular Education

Kisii Mission, in Western Kenya, is the latest KELC community to host a seminar to learn about women’s issues. In December, a delegation from the Women’s Department, together with their partners from Hope Foundation for African Women facilitated a 4-day workshop to discuss the topics of Gender-Based Violence, Female Genital Mutilation, Human Rights, and Economic Empowerment.

The facilitators used a new learning model called Popular Education (PE). PE engages all participants to collectively and critically examine their environment and everyday experiences, so that they can take control of their own learning and development. This style of learning requires a lot of active participation and discussion. PE is a new style of learning for many people in Kenya. The participants in the seminar received it with excitement. Each successive day more people came to the seminar, as positive word of mouth had spread through the community of the new and engaging presentations.

At the end of the seminar, participants responded that they learned about legal rights that they did not know they had, including rights concerning their health and their access to social services. Other participants shared that this seminar has inspired them to work together as a community to improve on the economic standing of the whole community, rather than letting jealousy divide them. Lastly, they learned that ordinary people can create change, even if only few resources are available. Together they can protect each other from gender-based violence and insist on their human rights, within their families and their communities.