Mathare Social Justice Centre (MSJC) is an initiative by young members of the community to promote social justice in Mathare. For years Mathare has been a place where much violence has been allowed to go on without any redress for the community, especially as most continue to live in fear of consequences of standing up for their rights. These forms of structural violence include, but are not limited to, land grabbing, forced evictions, police abuse and extrajudicial killings, political impunity and other economic, social and psychological violations. In view of this ongoing situation, a collective of young community members and experienced social justice activists in Mathare came together to envision a centre that would promote more participatory forms of justice.
Towards these ends we have the following vision, mission and principles:
Our Vision: To have a Mathare free of human rights violations
Our Mission: To promote social justice through engaged community and social movement platforms
Principles: Commitment; Solidarity; Integrity; Inclusiveness; Nonpartisan and Collective Leadership
Since February 2015 we have undertaken a number of organizing activities with all cross-sections of community. In particular, a mainstay of our work is to document extrajudicial killings (EJE). We have also organised and led a number of community forums that have seen the participation of hundreds of residents. Some of these are: The Mathare Youth Dialogue on Extrajudicial Killings, Kia Maiko Land Grabbing and Extrajudicial Killings Forum, the Political Accountability and Social Justice Forum in Mathare and the #Tubonge forum on Reproductive Health and Sexual Violence.
Despite being a fairly new organization our work has been documented in news platforms such as the Daily Nation (http://www.nation.co.ke/newsplex/matharekillings/2718262-3402710-i8sa8o/); the BBC (http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-36733808) and The Star (http://www.the-star.co.ke/news/2016/02/10/routine-cop-cruelty-is-making-us-numb_c1291900), among others.
In addition, Rahma Wako, one of the coordinators of our reproductive rights campaign, was the 2016 HRD of the year awardee (awarded by the National Coalition of Human Rights Defenders), and also received the 2015 Mathare Heroes Award. You can read more about Rahma’s former award here: http://www.nation.co.ke/oped/Opinion/Honouring-the-gallant-few-who-risk-everything-/440808-3497326-10sfvo0z/
We conduct all of our work guided by the above vision, mission and principles and through our 6 campaigns: Land grabbing and forced evictions; Reproductive rights; Participatory Action Research (also overall coordination); Illegal detention, police brutality and extrajudicial killings; Social media and communications and Political Accountability.