Campaign Against Drugs & Crime Dada Talks GBV Campaign Women in Social Justice Centres

Women’s Football Against Gender Based Violence

Women Against Gender Based Violence is an initiative of the SGBV Campaign at Mathare Social Justice Centre (MSJC), in collaboration with grassroots organizations’ advocating against gender based violence and drugs and crime in Mathare. Mathare is one of the largest informal settlements in Nairobi, with almost 300,000 inhabitants in population, the majority of whom are youth. The rate of gender based violence related cases has been growing in the post-covid period.

Kenya has undergone slow progress in realizing an end to gender based violence and inequalities. However, the process has witnessed obstacles and hurdles due to the societal differences that exist within our various communities. Most of the informal settlements in Nairobi are prone to social injustices and gender related violence, which is intricately connected to the social factors at play.

The majority of the population in Mathare lives under the constant challenge of poverty, thus making them prone to abuse and exploitation. Mathare Social Justice Centre (MSJC) has documented and championed for social justice against sexual violence and other human rights abuses such as rape, domestic violence and defilement. Most of the violations happen from the normalization of the violence within the community, and the exposure of children and young people to the harsh environment has contributed to the increasing rates of gender based violence within Mathare.

On Thursday August 17th, 2023, the “End Gender Based Violences and Sexual Harassment Tournament” was aimed at creating a platform for interaction, exchange and advocacy against the culture of the normalization of gender based injustices. The initiative was inspired by the need to interlink social injustices to all spheres affecting women including their livelihoods and empowerment. Therefore we must prioritise the creation of safe spaces and an environment for the people. The tournament brought various individuals and organizations, which permitted a rich opportunity for robust discussions, healing and advancing to the next step towards realizing an end to gender based violence in Mathare.

The tournament targeted the young mothers who mostly got pregnant at a tender teenage period. Some of whom are referred to as MSJC teen moms. Other objectives of the tournament included the generation of mechanisms to influence policy. Gender based violence cases seem to take a longer period to be processed or acted upon. Members of the community, on the other end, fail to understand or know the what to do when faced with cases of this nature. Therefore, it was important to create awareness of the existing policies, and enable an environment to discuss the challenges in addressing these grave situations. The tournament was held at the Austin Grounds in Mathare with various teams and participants from the Mathare community. It was a collaboration of the Mathare Social Justice Centre (MSJC) and the Coalition of Grassroots Human Rights Defenders. Other centres and committees present included the Githurai Social Justice Centre, Kasarani Social Justice Centre and the Ecological Justice Movement.

MSJC teen moms is a support group comprising of young women aged between 13yrs – 19yrs in Mathare. The team’s works towards community transformation, and fighting the systemic violence against women and young girls in Mathare. They also want to find practical means of sustaining themselves through art for social justice. The group is roughly 30 teenage moms from Mathare, who are actively engaged in community initiatives.

On, Thursday, August 17th, 2023, the MSJC teenage moms support group held a match against the CGHRD young mothers in the “End Gender Based Violence & Sexual Harassment Tournament.” Recently, there has been an observable rise in the number of cases of sexual and gender based violence against teenagers aged between 15-19 years. Most of the cases are perpetrated people close to the victims. From family members to friends, and people they know. After the crude encounter with the injustice, most victims tend to isolate themselves from the community and general reality.

The tournament’s main objective was to create awareness on the
fight towards ending these kinds of violences in Mathare as a whole. It also served as a psychosocial support extension for teen moms. The tournament was well attended by the members of the community, and especially men who were the target. After the
tournament, we had an interactive dialogue on the same theme that involved different actors and members of the community. The forum’s purpose was to stir a discussion on the way forward and the next action points. It was also meant to instigate a debate and offer a platform for community assessment and deliberation on issues related to gender relations and the increased rate of gender violence.

As a guide to the action plan, the participants proposed the following:

  1. Organizing monthly football tournaments to create awareness and intensify advocacy against gender based violence.
  2. Consistent documentation and referral of gender based violences. This needs an active gender based violence desk in specific zones, and during the tournaments.
  3. Collective design of mechanisms to promote psychosocial support among victims and survivors of gender based violence.
  4. Adopt creative modes like art, sports and theatre to sensitize and advocate against gender based violence.
  5. Consistent reflection, analysis and proposal of relevant policy.
  6. The creation of a collective framework in the fight against gender based violence.
  7. A campaign on drugs and crime in Mathare and other informal settlements.

More pictures from the tournament are below:

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Dada Talks

Dada Talks @ MSJC for Young Women’s Health, Safety & Menstrual Justice

The COVID-19 pandemic has made worse many of the social justice issues we do advocacy around. It has also unearthed many other issues that tend to be overlooked in our push for social justice. For example, following the outbreak, it became clear world over that the ‘work-from-home’ approach to the crisis was a luxury that many could not afford and that many families were sleeping hungry due to the pandemic. In response, as a social justice centre and in collaboration with our partners (both individuals, government, non-governmental organisations and the broader social justice movement), we received food donations that have helped feed many families most affected by the pandemic. While distributing food to the needy in our community, we noted that not only had the pandemic severely affected people’s livelihood, it had affected teenage girls and young women in unique ways that we had not dealt with before. Specifically, we noted that, often, most of those sent to collect food packages were young women and teenage girls no longer in school due to the pandemic. Often, the girls would collect the food packages and request for sanitary towels.  After noting a pattern of teenage girls and young women needing help with menstrual products, we mobilised within and included sanitary towels in our packages. We also started talking to the girls to understand their experiences of the pandemic. It was from these initial talks with individual girls and young women that it became clear that young women and girls were a group uniquely affected by the pandemic and whose needs brought together many issues of social justice that we’ve long advocated for. Among the issues that became clear were that:

  1. There was limited awareness on menstrual health management (MHM). Many of those that provided food packages did not for instance include sanitary towels.
  2. Menstrual health was not a priority in many families. With many parents out of work, most families prioritise food and shelter over other expenses.
  3. COVID-19 has both exacerbated and highlighted the need for a menstrual health focus. Access to menstrual products has been deprioritised by the government and parents, while most young girls and women would have access to these while in school, many are now forced to stay home as their parents cannot afford sanitary towels.

I was in this regard that we started holding weekly meetings with girls on menstrual issues that has since expanded to include broader social justice issues.

Target group

Our target group is young girls and women aged 12 to 22 years, as most of them have an understanding of menstrual health matters and can speak for themselves about issues affecting them in their communities.

Linked to broader social justice issues

We saw menstrual health as linked to many social justice issues and campaigns we’ve started since establishing MSJC. For instance, among the issues flagged by participants was that it was difficult for them to have proper menstrual hygiene when their families have to buy water during this difficult period under the pandemic. Related, the participants noted that it was often embarrassing to dispose used sanitary towels in the community as the community lacks basic sanitation facilities. Further, the issue of menstrual health is about lack of political accountability in that despite the 2019 Menstrual Hygiene Management Bill, many women and girls still lack access to affordable menstrual products. Some of these issues were highlighted by participants in the following MSJC menstrual health campaign video.

 The Objective of Dada Talks

  1. To create confidence among young women and girls (ages 12-22) for them to better express themselves when faced with challenges in the community.
  2. To understand and harness some of the young women and girl’s ideas in better managing menstrual health. E.g. some have great ideas on making reusable sanitary towels and other reusable menstrual products.
  3. To push government to change its approach to menstrual health by ensuring access of menstrual products, initially availed in schools, in communities during the pandemic and beyond.
  4. To create a safe space for young women and girls to express themselves.

Activities/ structure

  1. Hold weekly sessions with a group of 25 girls from Mathare on various topics that are affecting girls in communities.
  2. Those trained where possible to mentor others in their respective neighbourhood in the community as the centre is yet to develop a capacity to host more than 25 girls and young women.
  3. Air documentaries of women trailblazers to inspire the young women and girls
  4. Conduct community outreach where possible to reach the young women and girls unable to participate.
  5. Expose the girls to other people outside Mathare.
  6. Advocacy.


  1. To have cells in every ward in Mathare Constituency creating awareness on menstrual hygiene and providing a safe space for young women and girls to convene.
  2. To have better access to menstrual products provided by the government
  3. Confident girls and young women that know their rights


See pictures from some of our sessions below!

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