KENYANS: let us build and not destroy our country!

Mike Mungai


“After a long, tedious and bloody struggle for self governance,Kenya achieved independence on the 12th of December 1963. The struggle for independence arose from a combination of several factors. The British settlers through the colonial government had forcefully and without compensation taken and occupied the most fertile lands, they had forced the local populations to work on theirnewly established farms, the colonial government had imposed hut system of taxation on the local population, and introduced the “kipande” system. These and other acts of exploitation of the Kenyan nationals in the guise of “bringing civilization,” led to the growth of trade unions and political groupings.

Even before the British had settled, they were countered by individuals such as Mekatilili wa Menza at the Coast and Koitalel arap Samoei in the interior. Later on, there emerged individuals such as Harry Thuku, Tom Mboya, Jomo Kenyatta, Bildad Kaggia, Achieng Oneko, Jaramogi Oginga, Paul Ngei, Pio Gama Pinto amongst many others. They all in their singularly unique and at times collaborated efforts struggled to ensure that the grievances of the people of Kenya were addressed by the Queens government. At the same time, there were many men and women such as Dedan Kimathi, Field Marshal Muthoni, General Mathenge of the Mau Mau who led an armed resistance against the colonial government.
I believe that their struggle was one which was meant to see an end to oppression of Kenyans from all corners of the country. A vision to see a country where people would live without fear of being harassed, and where people would live in peace and unity and at any corner of the country. Such a vision can not be stated better than by the very words of our Kenyan national anthem: “”may we dwell in Unity, Peace and Liberty- Justice be our Shield and Defender.”

As such, it is heart breaking especially these days almost 50 years after we gained independence, to see that Kenyan are killing one another due to tribal, political or religious differences. When we resort to fighting our neighbors, destroying other peoples property, killing and displacing one another – do we really solve the problems that we are faced with? I am sure that the answer is NO. A big one in that case. Whenever people resort to using violence because to them it seems to be doing good, the good is only temporary whereas the evil it does is permanent. Our nation would leap greater steps if the populations especially the most active ones politically, socially and economically would veer away from negative thinking, physical and verbal conflicts. If the all people would contribute each in their own special way to resolving differences and promoting unity then we would show to the continent and to the entire world that war is not the answer, that love is.

Let us not remember where where we are coming from, because if we do-then we won’t have a sense of where we are headed to. Let peace reign and brotherhood prevail. Our fathers-mother, grandfathers-grandmothers and probably those before them struggled to see days such as these. Here we are now, let us live and let others live, let us build and not destroy our country.”


Njuki  Githethwa & Faith Mwende of  KCOMNET TEL: +254 00202379949



a paper presented during a counter human trafficking symposium for the faith based and grassroots organizations in east africa held at shalom house nairobi, 22nd to 24th november 2011


Established in 1995, the Kenya Community Media Network (KCOMNET) is a national network of individuals, media practitioners, community communication groups, media professionals and non-governmental organizations committed to the promotion of community media and development communication in Kenya. KCOMNET advocates for the creation and sustainability of community-based media owned, controlled, and produced by, for, and about communities.

Our Vision

To be the key driver of the national community media movement and voice of social change in Kenya.

Our Mission

To champion and popularize community communication initiatives through representation, capacity building and policy advocacy for transformative social change in Kenya.


“Community Communication-Giving Voice to Communities”

Our Key Objectives

The Kenya Community Media Network has, but is not limited to the following three key objectives: –

(i)     To lobby for the establishment of a dynamic communication regime in Kenya that includes community media as a third sector after public and private media

(ii)  To execute a rigorous training programme for community communication groups to make them strong and vibrant

(iii)      To act as a capacity building arm for individual groups and for zonal joint communication groups efforts.

Our Programs

KCOMNETS main programs include:

1.      Community Radio and Radio Listening & Production Groups

2.      Community based Information Resources and Documentation Centers

3.      Community based Folk Media i.e. art, drama, puppetry, song and dance

4.      Community driven Video Production

5.      Community Newsletters

The role of Community Media in Society

Community media is any form of media that is created and controlled by a community, either a geographic community or a community of identity or interest. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), The World Bank, and the European Commission recognize community media as a crucial element in a vibrant and democratic media system.

Community media is a platform which enables the “voiceless” to have a “voice”. This kind of media exists in many countries in all continents, and in media systems they usually stand in-between public broadcasting and private media outlets.

Experience has shown that participation is the key defining feature of community media; it is what places community media outside of traditional media models, in which audiences are passive receivers of messages. In the community media model, senders and receivers together create messages and meaning through participatory processes.

Community media enables marginalised communities to speak about issues that concern them at the local level, creating linkages between development, democracy and community media. This presents a snap-shot of community needs and aspirations and allows a community to map its future using the bottom-up approach. The historical philosophy of community media is to use this medium as the voice of the voiceless, and the mouthpiece of oppressed people, or by communities that have not been served by conventional communication structures.

More so, community media offers space for creativity and is also a tool for empowerment. Besides this, community media is able to integrate different mediums of communication e.g. drama, song and dance, storytelling, puppetry, radio listenership groups and community radio stations.

The role of Community Media Groups in tackling Human Trafficking

An effective media can raise the awareness level and can also bring reduce vulnerability to human trafficking and other crimes. Community media is capable of performing the following roles in preventing human trafficking:

§  Education and Training: This can take the form of workshops, songs, drama, dance, storytelling, poetry, live music, bands, community newsletters puppetry and radio listenership groups among others.

§  A Channel for Communication and Discussion: One of the roles of media is to open the channels for communication and foster discussions about human trafficking and implications on women, girls, men and boys. Addressing human trafficking in the community radio program can have an enormous impact on the society.

§  A vehicle for Creating a supportive and enabling environment: Community media can be instrumental in breaking the silence that envelopes the practice and in making positive changes in the society. For example, Radio Mang’elete which use the Kikamba language to address issues of the community.

§  Education through entertainment: For creating an efficacious awareness about human trafficking, the messages need to be informative, educative as well as entertaining as these are mutually exclusive.

§  Mainstreaming: Broadcasters need to mainstream the human trafficking issue across a number of programs. A coordinated, multifaceted campaign has greater impact than a single programme. Documentaries, concerts, songs, drama, public service announcements, competitions, hotlines, books and websites can be linked together to reinforce awareness, information and messages about human trafficking.

§  Putting human trafficking on the News agenda and encouraging leaders to participate: The more the leaders see and hear about human trafficking in news the greater the resources they invest in anti-human trafficking strategies, which in turn leads to increased media coverage of the issue and helps to sustain public awareness which again has an impact on leaders’ priorities.

§  Making every citizen a “reporter”: Citizens reporting like journalists may be the only way for human rights abuses and other violations of a criminal or environmental nature to be brought to face broad public scrutiny.

§  Encouraging participation: From an audience perspective, it means that it can influence the content in a very proactive way and it enables individuals to access a readymade platform through which they can share their opinions.

  • Policy Advocacy Work: Through campaigns against human trafficking aimed at raising public awareness, to give chance to women, men and young people to contribute to activities against human trafficking and to lobby government response to human trafficking issues. Awareness raising can also be pursued through the production and distribution of information education materials, using the media for a wider reach as well as visual materials, using the media for a wider reach as well as visual materials in public areas.
  • Organizing regular dialogue forums at the grassroots to disseminate relevant information on human trafficking.


Community media is a very essential tool for development and can be used to disseminate information on human trafficking. Additionally, community media plays a crucial role in addressing issues of the community and offers a chance for debate on everyday community issues. There is need therefore to collaborate and create linkages in order to use community media as a means to report news differently from the mainstream media.

New Study on Law and Child Labour in Kenya

By Philip Wairire,  AFCiC Kenya. For the full report  follow the following link Rapid assessment of working Children in Thika final report

ILO considers that “child labour” is “work that deprives children of their childhood, their potential and their dignity, and that is harmful to physical and mental development”. In similar terms, the UN Convention provides that child labour is any form of work that violates the four basic rights of children, namely survival, development, participation and protection.

Any work that threatens these rights is considered child labour and ought not be tolerated.

Action for Children in Conflict (AfCIC) has been conducting a study on the effectiveness of Kenyan law in curbing child labour in Kenya since 2007 using data collected around Thika Municipality.  The study is entitled “making the law work for children: A Case Study of Child Labour in Kenya. The main aim of the study is to examine the gap between the present legislative environment and the reality. This study will be useful to children organizations and also policy makers.

The preliminary work of this study was presented at the counter trafficking symposium for the faith based and grassroots organizations organized by Consolation East Africa in Nairobi on November 23rd 2011.

The AfCIC study has highlighted the challenges pertaining the interpretation of what constitutes child labour both locally and internationally.  That there is no universally acceptable definition on this area. However what is usually considered in the discourses of child labour are dimensions such as hazard, work effects and degree of involvement. The work involved therefore should not be harmful to the physical, emotional and mental development;  or one that denies children of their basic rights, the enjoyment of their childhood, potential and dignity.

The study sheds light on the international and local legal instruments available to protect children against labour exploitation. The international instruments are:

  • ILO Convention 138 on the minimum age for starting work (1973). This convention was ratified by Kenya in 1979.

ILO 138 defines “child labour” as: any work performed by a child under the age of twelve; any work other than “light” work undertaken by children aged twelve to fourteen; and “hazardous” work by children aged fifteen to seventeen.

  • The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (1990) which was ratified by the Kenyan government in 1990.

The UN Convention defines a “child” as “below the age of eighteen years”. It stipulates in Article 32 that the child is to be protected from “economic exploitation” and from performing any work that is likely to be hazardous or to interfere with the child’s education, or to be harmful to the child’s health or physical, mental, spiritual, moral or social development.

  • ILO convention 182 on the worst forms of child labour ratified in 2001 and lastly

ILO 182 calls on states to take immediate and effective measures to prohibit and eliminate the “worst forms” of child labour. These are specified to include:  (a) all forms of slavery and slavery-like practices, such as child trafficking, forced labour and forced recruitment into armed conflict; (b) using a child for prostitution or pornography; (c) use of children in illicit activities, for example, drugs; and (d) “hazardous” work.

  • ILO convention 184 on safety and health in Agriculture.

It specifies, at Article 16, that “the minimum age for assignment to work in agriculture which by nature or the circumstances in which it is carried out is likely to harm the safety and health of young persons shall not be less than 18 years”.

Kenya has also developed various  local instruments instruments to domesticate the international  conventions. Hence children are protected by:

  • The 2010 Constitution of the Republic of Kenya

Section 53 protects children from exploitative labour and promotes the best interest of the child.

  • Children Act of 2001

Section 10 protects children from economic exploitation that interferes with their education and sets the minimum year for labour as 16.

  • Employment Act of 2007

Part VII of the Employment Act makes  provisions on the on “Protection of the Child” (sections 52 to 65). However, it bears note that there are major contradictions as between this Act and the Children’s Act as to the age at which children should be employed. For one, while the Employment Act [sec 56 (2)] allows for children of between the age of 13 and 16 to be engaged in light work, the Children’s Act holds that only children above the age of 16 should be employed. The Act allows anyone to lodge a complaint if s/he witnesses the worst forms of child labour.

Some of the most important findings of the study are:

1. Kenya does not have up to date statistics on the extent of child labour in the country. The statistics available are those of 2002 by the ILO’s International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour (“IPEC”) and the govenment survey of 2005/6. It is important that data is created so as it may be possible to understand the scale and scope of the problem in order to encourage effective interventions.

2. The domestic legistaltion has gone to a great extents to safeguard the welfare of the children. However acording to the reality, child labour is still very rampant in Kenya. Hence bringing about the need to bridge the law and the reality.

3. Both international documents and local documents have no single accepted definition of child labour. In Kenya while the Children Act of 2001 sets the minimum age at 16, the Employment Act sets it at 13. Hence bringing about the need for the Kenyan courts to harmonize the two instruments.

4. The introduction of universal free primary education in Kenya was an important intervention against child labour. However indirect costs such as providing food to retain the children in the schools have a bearing on the success of this intervention. This calls for a multi stakeholder involvement to meet this indirect costs to make this intervention a success.

5. Policy reforms to tackle inequality and poverty such as the community development fund (CDF), local authority transfer fund (LATF) and the street family rehabilitation trust fund (SFRTF) are also positive measures introduced that will definitely help in suppressing child labour. It is important that these resources target those who need them and that the data of their impact be made available.

6. The government formed a multisectoral committee at districts and provincial levels to oversee the extents of child labour. However the study found that no such committee exists in Thika. Hence the call for a need to start such a committee.

Lastly the AfCIC study recommends a new definition to harmonize the Kenyan instruments on the definition of child labour as follow: Child labour constitutes work undertaken by children under 13 alternatively any work that is not considered light that is undertaken by children between the ages of 13 and 16. The  study however leaves the readers to make their own definition of light work by giving an example of domestic work and harmful by giving an example of mining. Also it suggests that all work given to a child should done so in due consideration of the child’s age.

Using RE-AIM Framework to Evaluate CTIP Endeavors

Consolation East Africa  in Collaboration with Tom Omwenga of Child AID Kenya

RE – AIM stands for Reach, Effectiveness orEfficacy, Adoption, Implementation and  Maintenance or sustainability. Its application to health interventions is applied in these slides

REACH is defined as The number, percent of target audience, and representativeness of those who benefit. Key Issues:  Does program reach those at highest risk or the most vulnerable?  Are different interventions required?

EFFECTIVENESS: Change in temporally appropriate outcomes, and impact on quality of life and anyadverse outcomes. Key Issues:  Logic model helps to clarify anticipated :  Logic model helps to clarify anticipated effects; quality of life provides common metric across conditions and interventions; anticipate
unintended consequences.

ADOPTION: Number, percent and representativeness of settings and clinicians who end up adopting the suggested methods for example the likelihood that 30% of recipients to a campaign will heed to the message of the campaign. Key Issues:  Need to focus on “denominator” and barriers among non-users.  Do initial adoptees include peer opinion leaders?

IMPLEMENTATION: Extent to which a program or policy is delivered consistently, and the time andcosts of the program. Key Issues:  Consistency across staff, program components, and time.  Balance between fidelity components, and time.  Balance between fidelity and local customization.

MAINTENANCE: Individual long-term effects and attrition.   Extent of continuation, discontinuation, modification, or sustainability of program. Are the changes being sustained as a result of the program? Key Issues:  Does attrition bias results; qualitative approaches to understanding program adaptation.

RE-AIM has been used by organizations to  to evaluate practicality and
generalizability of evidence-based interventions.  It uses both qualitative and quantitative data. It can also be used as an action research tool, a tool to aid in planning and networking. Hence in summary it helps understand the disparities i.e. who participates and who benefits; costs involved and cost effectiveness, the effects of different interventions and how to combine different factors to produce composite interventions.

RE-AIM therefore can be used for interventions that also do:

Reach large numbers of people, especially those who can most benefit

It can widely be adopted  by different settings

Be consistently implemented by staff members with moderate levels of training and expertise

Produce replicable and long-lasting effects (and minimal negative impacts) at reasonable cost

Organizations working to address the challenge of human trafficking could use this tool to assess their interventions in social support, legal assistance, prevention, advocacy and victim support.

The Child AID Kenya an organization working to address the challenge of Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation has been using the  RE –AIM framework  as a tool during different phases in  project planning and implementation. Here they use a different sets of questions for each element of RE-AIM.



What percentage of target population will participate in the program?

  • These are the groups  we reached:
    • Professionals at provincial administration office across- Area Advisory Councils (AAC) level:  Leadership for  area advisory councils (AACs), NGOs/CBOs who sit at AACs – participation in AACs:

Per AACs

  • 2 schools each, 2 teachers per school (guidance and counseling) especially involved in school life skills curriculum/or guidance and counseling teachers
  • Student Volunteers – at least 1 per AAC
  • Youth & sports coaches  – 2 per area
  • Community leaders, ex. faith based(pastors/Imam) and other leaders  in legal organized community groups, women, parents,  Area residents associations etc.
  • Business community/or Merchant networks. Ex. domestic workers’ employment bureaus/or Agencies; small bars and restaurant owners


  1. Will the program be effective?
  2. Is the program achieving the outcomes you set?
  3. Is the program producing unintended consequences?
  • Established a check list of actions to monitor at TOT organization level
  • Are organizations actually using the materials?


  1. What percent of targeted settings are estimated to participate?
  2. Are the participating settings representative of all targeted?
  • Do TOTs deliver trainings in their organizations?
    • Do Advisory committee plan activities for the following/next year?


  1. Will the program be delivered as intended? How?
  2. Are different components delivered as intended?What parts of the program are adaptable without consequences?
  • Do TOTs continue doing training?


  1. Does the program keep participants engaged? Produce long – lasting effects?
  2. Can organizations sustain the program over time?
  • Retention of knowledge by individual trainees.
  • Change in practice continues.
    • TOTs continue  to do training, does  advisory council develop plans/additional activities related to CSA/E prevention, are there other groups/settings in AAC that want to receive TOT training?
    • Advisory Committee continues to keep it in the plan.
    • Community  Members continue to generate new ideas for how to apply in their committee/community.

Civil Society Communication and Human Rights

By Paul Kisolo

Communication plays a great role both at the organizational level and in our personal lives. Hence it’s important  that other people, the public and the other intended audiences are communicated to about organizational activities in order to encourage feedback,  collaboration and networking. The networking comes in handy to ensure that  we preserve the scarce resources, mobilize more resources, market our activities, get assistance in areas where we are limited and also add skills from learning from the others.

Organizations play an important role in the society by  addressing the different challenges faced by communities. They also develop new strategies to educate communities and develop linkages to solve these challenges. For this reason it’s important for all organizations to understand the powers and influence that communication may in general may have towards our work. The media of communication are many and may include the social networks, media houses, the community dissemination points etc.  In developing an effective communication strategy,  it is important to systematically understand the goals and the roles, the  energy to be invested in the communication process, tools, the media, the message and the audience. I will treat each of these topics briefly.

Goals and Roles

I intend to address organizations that work to address social injustices in different locations of our country. It is important that they understand why they need to communicate. Understanding clearly their need to communicate and also the need for feedback, will help them better their interventions. With proper understanding of the goals and roles it will be very easy to design communication that will influence other stakeholders, generate ideas, draw attention bringing positive change, educate and express their identity

Communication process

Communication process is very important.  A Process may be defined as: ‘a particular course of action intended to achieve a result.’ The desire to have  effective communication will lead any organization start by identifying  stakeholders,  the communications needs of these stakeholders, type of communications event effective to target these stakeholder as well as ensuring that  the right people receive the right information at the right time. More so understanding communication process  ensures that communication hitches  do not occur and future communication are improved.

The communication process is very important as it assists  in identifying the right message, the target audience, the message format and timing, draft message and facilitates the gaining of approval where required. It also helps in deciding the type of communications events, how to gather feedback and improve your communication processes.

Communications Tools

There are a number of communication tools that a project or organization can use at its disposal some these tools include: E-mails, blogs, websites, social communication media, telephone, letters, etc. to communicate with its partners and stakeholders it is important that an organization or projects uses the tools that are least costly but most effective and that will achieve the intended impacts.

Media Relations

Media plays an important role in enhancing the reputation of organizations. This positive reputation in turn  assists in attracting resources to our organizations where as negative reputation will hinder the attraction of these resources. Apart from the resource issue, the media may also assist organizations to market themselves or champion for an important course, or even pursue an advocacy campaign.

In order to create a good relationship with the media it is important for projects or organizations determines the capacity ad capabilities of human resources who will be involved in communication endeavor, technicalities involved. Important factors that may influence the communication process should also be determined to ensure that we avoid small mistakes that can cost our organizations both in the short and long run.

Knowing the media

Knowing the media is as essential as it helps you to understand clearly the target of entry point at the time of forming relationships with  media houses. This prior knowledge is important as it helps organizations  have the right amount of budget for its communication purposes. It’s  important that the civil society actors  have a clear understanding of the media given that they need the media to communicate their messages. The civil societies are also competing for the same communication space with profit making organizations who have large budgets for communication.  Despite the challenge, that faces the civil societies where their only focus are the  social issues,  they must also think about communication  and allocate some budget for it. On the other hand, understanding the media houses could lead to network formation with the journalists and media house owners. This too could be a resource.

Pitching Ideas

Coming up with the right ideas for communication may not be an easy thing. Some of the issues to consider when pitching up ideas for communication include the styles of communication  and the creativity required to communicate. When creating stories it’s important to come up with stories that are different from what others have been presenting , it’s also important to relate  lessons gained in the previous  communication  to better the current ones.

Target Audience

There are a number of Audiences that our communications may be targeted to such as the government, local citizen, partners and collaborators etc. It’s very important to know the right media to use when creating communications targeted different Audience. In this case for our projects to get the audience of the government we can use commercial media, we can reach the local communities by use of local FM station, printed media, etc.

Creating the message

It is important to define the message and structure it into two or three wording about your organizations and the activities. It is also necessary   to have something specific  that embraces all your ideas. This is important given that most journalists  or media  houses work in a specific angle which regulate order of reporting, with this in mind we need to create messages that take the same angles as reporters and journalist.

Avoiding the traps

During most communication when dealing with the reporter there are a number of traps that we create  for ourselves. This may sometime  put us in awkward positions that are difficult to explain. Thus it is important that when we create messages we have these records for future references, we should create clear messages  as well as keeping records of all communications.

Combating Human trafficking along the Kenya Coastline

Article by:  Paul Adhoch the Executive Director of  TRACE KENYA.

This presentation is based on the experiences of Trace Kenya in its attempt to, jointly with other organizations, state and non state actors, combat human trafficking in the coast region. Trace Kenya is a non governmental organization (NGO) working in partnership with individuals, organizations and government agencies to combat the trafficking of persons in Kenya. Trace Kenya works in Kwale, Mombasa and Kilifi counties in coast region – Kenya.

The paper shows i) the current situation, ii) emerging trends and iii) attempts by Trace Kenya and other civil society organizations in combating human trafficking in coast region. This paper will also describe challenges facing none state actors in their attempts to combat human trafficking and what measures, if any have been put in place to support these organizations in this endeavor.

1.0 Introduction – Trace Kenya

Trace Kenya was established in 2006 to counter the trafficking of persons in the coast region. Our mandate, though national, has remained focused on Kwale, Kilifi and Mombasa counties in the six years of our work. Trace Kenya works with individuals and organizations to counter modern day slavery. The target population is children, and young persons, who are vulnerable to human trafficking for exploitative purposes.

2.0 Situational Analysis

2.1 Returnees from the Middle East

Trafficking in persons in coast region is now publicly seen through the eyes of the returnees from Middle East. This follows the current media attention to the circumstances of Kenyan women working there. Trace Kenya has in the past one year, had to deal with the situation of young women faced with exploitative labour relations in the Middle East, in what has been described as travel bondage. Through labour agents in Mombasa and Nairobi, young women are lured into skewed labour contracts in the Middle East, especially the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and they must, for the first 18 months or so, repay their travel and accommodation upkeep in virtual slavery, after which their contracts expire in less than six months.

Labour Agents receive as much as Kshs 450,000.00 per young woman delivered to the Middle East, whose pay is on average Kshs 16,000.00 per month with over 18 hours of work and very poor food and accommodation. In some instances, the girls have come back in a casket.

Trace Kenya was able to facilitate the return of six girls since the month of March 2011. Two girls are still stuck in Saudi Arabia and Qatar, with the latter’s telephone number being switched off. This is just the latest face of human trafficking which has evolved around the region. Trafficking is ever changing tact and perpetually manifesting itself as a normal activity with no ill motives or illegal intent. At the moment, girls in the coast are recruited for jobs in the Middle East through hair salons, and restaurants, in the most innocuous manner. However many of the recruiters of girls have moved out to western Kenya following a lot of cries and media attention in the coast region.

2.2 Other forms of human trafficking

There are other forms of child and human trafficking manifesting themselves in the Kenyan coast region. These include, but are not limited to:

i)             Child trafficking and sex tourism

ii)            Street begging and street family phenomena

iii)           Commercial sex work and trafficking in women for Commercial Sex Work

iv)           Radicalization of youth for militia groups and terrorism activities

v)            Child sex prostitution

vi)           Child labor and domestic servitude

vii)         Early Child Marriage

viii)        Men to men sexual exploitation for male commercial sex workers.

All these forms of human trafficking target children from poor background or youth desperate for employment and economic development, willing to take the chance, even when they are not necessarily unaware of the potential pitfalls.

3.0 Emerging Trends in Human Trafficking in the region

3.1 Child Trafficking

There is emerging trend towards child trafficking targeting the girl child for sexual exploitation in the three counties. Many of the traffickers promise the girls work in massage parlors, hair salons or hotel industry. Some are lured with the promise of marriage and escape from poverty, but end up sexually exploited by their captures. Fortunately, the much aware public has been able to fight back and in many cases the law has been used to convict a number of culprits. Incidentally, the law applicable in all the reported cases has been the Sexual Offenses Act 2006, and not the Counter Trafficking in Persons Act 2010, which has harsher penalties for persons convicted of child trafficking.

3.2 Sex Tourism

Sex tourism, especially in middle level hospitality establishments and villas and cottages is on the increase. This is mainly due to the fact that star rated hotels have ensured that this does not occur in their establishments. This follows campaigns made by Non state actors in the mid-2006 to 2008 on the code of conduct for the protection of children from sexual exploitation in the hotel and tourism industry. The traffickers have now devised ways to avoid public scrutiny by engaging in sex tourism within private villas and cottages. Attempts by Trace Kenya and other non state actors towards scrutinizing villas and cottages have met with heavy resistance. Working with the local residents association, the police and the representative trade unions, there seems to be some progress, at least in the last couple of months.

Young people seeking jobs in the villas and cottages are also lured by some traffickers to produce pornographic movies. The fact that villas and cottages are private, make it difficult to know what actually takes place in there unless reported by other workers or the victims themselves. In Kilifi County, the villas and cottages are situated in Malindi and Watamu, while in Kwale, they are in Diani, Msambweni and Tiwi areas.

4.0 Combating Human Trafficking in Coast Region

4.1 Local networks

Trace Kenya has worked closely with Solwodi, an NGO working with commercial sex workers to combat human trafficking in Kenya, in shared information on trafficking in persons as well as shared experiences. Trace Kenya has also been able to work with grassroots organizations, CBOs and FBOs in the region to counter child trafficking and trafficking in young persons. In Kwale County, for instance, through the Diani Residents Association’s effort, whistle blowing and reporting to the police is encouraged to ensure the illegal activities are combated. Similar efforts are being made to enhance local networks with community organizations to support monitoring of illegal activities.

4.2 Non State Actors’ Program works

Using small grants support from our collaborators, project work towards elimination of trafficking and sexual exploitation has been recorded by Trace Kenya in Kwale and Mombasa counties. Other none state actors have had successful programs in Mtwapa, Taita Taveta, Kilifi and Mombasa targeting children, commercial sex workers and persons with disabilities. The organizations working in various parts of the coast include Kituo Cha Sheria, Muslims for Human Rights (Muhuri), Solidarity with Girls in Distress (Solgidi), Abused Children Rescue CBO, Mji wa Usalama, The Catholic Peace and Justice Commission (CPJC), Kenya Community Support Centre (Kecosce), Kenya Muslim Youth Alliance (KMYA), Child Welfare Society (CWS), Solidarity with Women in Distress (Solwodi), Harvest of Hope, Malindi District Children Department, CISP, COPDEC Taveta, and Kenya Alliance for the Advancement of Children Rights (KAACR) among others.

5.0 Challenges

5.1 Poor data and Information for Effective Advocacy

One of the challenges facing Non state actors in combating human trafficking is the dearth of accurate data. This has also meant that financing of programs for the same has been difficult as it is difficult to assess the level of the situation. Though information on trafficking is readily available, no coherent manner of information capture has been established. Added to this is the fact that victims of trafficking do not easily come out to seek support, mainly out of fear of further victimization, stigma and shame as well as the trauma that they may have come through with.

5.2 Capacity of partners to deal with human trafficking at all levels

As a human rights phenomena, programming for counter trafficking is fairly new in Kenya’s civil society realm. In the past, organizations simply addresses aspects of trafficking such as violence against children, sexual violence against girls, socio-economic support for women, youth support and so on and so forth. The complexity of human trafficking is such that no one organization can and has come up with a comprehensive program to combat it. This has necessitated networks and joint activities to combat trafficking. Secondly, the secretive nature of trafficking in persons has been such that it is not apparent to a casual observer – until something goes wrong!

International Organization for Migration (IOM), The Cradle, KARDS and Consolation East Africa have been at the forefront of training organizations on human trafficking and how to support victims of trafficking in coast region. Trace Kenya has similarly organized trainings for grassroots organizations and her staff to build capacity for countering human trafficking.

Together with Solwodi and the CJPC, Trace Kenya has also hosted a number of organizations both local and international to share information on human trafficking in the region. Literature from partner organizations has been shared as has links to useful blog-sites to enable partners appreciate the magnitude of the problem of human trafficking. Media reports and campaigns especially by the local Standard Group and international CNN have been used to illustrate the situation both locally and abroad.

5.3 Entrenched belief that trafficking is legitimate

In the mind of many community members, aspects of trafficking are legitimate and even acceptable. When a young girl, for instance, gets involved with an elderly white person, the community see themselves as moving out of poverty. They do not imagine that the elderly person is exploiting the younger person, indeed they believe they are the ones exploiting the elderly person! In some instances, couples arrange to befriend and even engage in sex with a white stranger, both male and female, and when the stranger is visiting, then the other spouse is referred to as worker or cousin or even house servant. Sex in exchange for gifts is easily acceptable as normal hence building ground for further exploitation.

6.0 Way Forward

Research and baseline on trafficking in the region

The last major research on sexual exploitation as an aspect of trafficking in persons was undertaken by UNICEF in 2006, targeting children. We believe that there is need to undertake a comprehensive baseline on the different forms of trafficking in persons in the coast region., and indeed in the country to inform policy makers and relevant stakeholders on the best form of intervention.

There is still need to build capacity of individuals and organizations working to combat human trafficking in the region.

There is need to continue with community awareness programs, coupled with enforcement of existing laws to reduce human trafficking in Kenya.

Masculinity as a social construct promoting human trafficking

Presentation by Koech Charles – research and Documentation officer-Men for the equality of men and women (MEW)


Men for the Equality of Men and Women (MEW), is trust registered in Kenya and works in partnership with Ford Foundation, Trocaire and Kenya Women Finance Trust(KWFT).

VISION: Men and Women who have become human, sovereign and equal.

MISSION: To transform men and women into being human, sovereign and equal as a prerequisite for the attainment of human rights and democracy.

OBJECTIVE: To discern and deal with the root causes, nature, character and ethnicity of Kenyan masculine barriers to the attainment of equal human rights.

STRATEGIES:  Unearthing Kenyan masculinity from its various cultural fossils and diagnosing its composition, origins, nature and character so as to identify how masculinity imposes upon gender relationships.


  • Masculinity– refers to roles and behavior that are traditionally assigned to men.

        ”           -it is comprised of multiple things; the sliding scale that men put

  • Kenya’s masculinity is characterized by the following roots, the ability  provide, protect and own property
  • Gender violence is bound to erupt when a man can no longer feel competent enough to provide, protect and own property but continues to expect from women submission and services. According to MEW clinical findings at Laare, “In order to shorten your life, you must force somebody to do for you the activities which if you did would have prolonged your life”. Violence will occur when women fail to do the activities which men would have done for themselves, or for failure to complete the tasks that men expect them to and according to men’s specifications.
  • Patriarchy refers to a situation where women‘s stories and thereby there experiences have been ignored, forgotten, misinterpreted and devalued, while stories about Men and thereby their experiences have been elevated, remembered, emphasized and overvalued.
  • Machismo– refers to excessive masculinity. It is an exaggerated sense of manliness characterized by domineering, fierceness and bravado attitudes.

Unequal and broken material relationship

  • Women who comprise half of the world population, do two-thirds of the world’s work, earn one tenth of the world’s Income and own one- hundredths of the world’s property”- United Nations.
  • The unequal material relationship between men and women is flawed. This is because while men are providers and donors to women and children, hence for women to get any thing from men they must surrender their lives, bodies and bodily products like children, free-labour, their earnings and sexual services.
  • The complete overhaul of unequal material relationship is the only legitimate platform for men and women to work together.
  • The brokenness in material relationship leads to brokenness in all other relationships social, cultural, political, spiritual and economical.
  • This indicates that when the material relationship is broken other relationships are bound to be broken. A good example is the materialism of Jesus parable of the Rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31), when both of them died under broken materialism, Lazarus went heaven and the rich man went to hell.
  • Language as a cultural tool of male dominance, for example the Kikuyu word for a woman is called Mutumia meaning shut up, in Luo is thako meaning the one to be penetrated, in Kipsigis Kwondo meaning the one to cook.
  • A wife becomes a property once the husband has paid the bride price thus giving him absolute freedom to discipline the wife if she does contrary to man’s expectations.
  • Dowry in all Kenyan cultures is an intra- masculine trade between fathers and sons- in law

Masculinity disordersrefer to a chain of reactions that erupts in men when trying to make up for the deficit between what the market expects them to provide for women and children and what they have failed to provide.

Socialization process in Kenya is flawed due to the fact that Men are said to be menonly if they have accomplish the following 3 major roles:

  1. Provision –being bread winners for their wives and children
  2. Protection – acting as security providers
  3. Ownership of property i.e. possession of material power.

When men fail to fulfil the aforementioned roles as society expects of them, they exhibit some disorders to cover up for their failure. Some of these chain reactions include the following:

  1. Self-assertive aggression personality disorder:- in this kind of disorder  men make up for their failure by engaging in unethical sexual behaviours such as Rape and incest, corruption ,gang-fights, cattle rustling and other acts of violence against the society. Example
  • Cain killed his brother Abel because the lord God did not accept his sacrifice of his harvest but preferred the Abel’s sacrifice (Genesis 4:1- ).
  1. Self- defensive aggression personality disorder:-This is a scenario where men after realizing their failure to provide, protect and own property, they shift their blame to other people of whom the worst hit are women and children. For example, a man will blame his wife that before they got married he was doing well and thus she is the cause of his woes. Other manifestations of such a disorder include: a man blaming his wife for the deteriorating relationships between him and other members of extended family, neighbors and even with God.
  1. Offensive -aggression personality disorder: – this is against women by men on realizing that women can deliver more than them, thus they feel their flawed masculinity is threatened. It occurs when a man cannot feed or fend for his family thus his natural instinct would be to destroy the evidence – the family he sets out to protect and provide for. For example, in a family set up, the husband will pick a quarrel with the wife and then vent his anger on Cats, dogs and Utensils by kicking them around, insulting everybody in the house to instill fear on them to avoid being asked of what he has failed to fulfill. In nut shell the man becomes violent with the slightest provocation. He will hate and threaten those whom he should protect and provide for.
  2. Self-Incrimination aggression personality disorder:-in this kind of reaction men react in a way to teach those who value and depend on them a lesson. They do this by involving themselves in vices like abuse of alcohol and drugs, refusing to eat, harming themselves while others commit suicide.

Examples in include:

        • Dismembering of genitalia- A man by the name Igongo when his wife refused to give him money for his business as a cobbler cut his private parts, another did the same after suspected his wife of being infidelity and the third one did so again after his wife refused to mate with him.
        • Drug Abuse-A man whom I know in Nakuru who had borrowed a Loan of half a million shillings but disagreement with his wife on the use of that money arose.  The man wanted to buy a car but the wife was for the idea of buying a piece of land. Because of this turmoil the husband with a view of punishing the wife misuse the entire amount by abusing alcohol such that within a span of one week he was insolvent(broke)
        • Refusal to eat-Another example, is husbands who refuse to eat when they are angry with their wives
        • Committing suicide, a man by the name Benson Shimenga in Musoli area Kakamega South District killed himself by hanging after suspecting his wife of being unfaithful (D/N-3/02/2011 pg 22)


  • Personalities from being property into human, this is by fighting against commercialization of dowry which renders women as property which can be bought.
  • Intellect from success narrative into moral excellence, dignity, respect of human rights, creativity, productivity and vision for service for all,
  • Transforming dominance into governance where both men and women are equal and can be providers, protectors and owners of property.
  • A research conducted by MEW at Naivasha Maximum Prison revealed that the prisoners convicted of committing sexual offences against their female relatives would kill anyone they found attempting to rape their wives, mothers and daughters or sisters
  • To men every time you think of violating your wife, girlfriend or colleague, stop and ask yourself: “would I beat, demean, insult or rape my mother? Why do so to somebody else’s mother?”
  • “Men and women are like wings of a bird, if one wing is broken the bird cannot fly” Baha’i faith.


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