Thursday, January 24, 2008

What can one woman do to help the women of Kenya?

In December 2006, I was blessed to be one of thirty- six U.S. women who had the remarkable experience of attending the first Grassroots African Women's Conference in Bondo, Kenya. This gathering brought together 513 rural African women leaders to share information, idea and resources. During our two weeks in Africa, we were able to witness firsthand the courage, commitment and competence of the women of Kenya.

As all of you know, Kenya is caught in the grip of conflict and violence at this moment. In the words of my friend Joyce Oneko who anchored that women's conference "We have taken our 40+ years of peace for granted...we realize that the election violence was just a symptom of something that has gone terribly wrong." Joyce has been doing what Kenyan women do every day: she has been showing up to do whatever needs to be done in the slums of Nairobi and the the Mathare Camp where many displaced people have settled.
This is a remarkable moment in time... and a perfect opportunity for women everywhere to communicate their support for the women of Kenya as they face the challenge of restoring peace and sustainability to their communities and to their beloved country.

You are invited to step into this opportunity for global sisterhood in any of the following ways:

FINANCIAL SUPPORT TO RESTORE KENYA

You can contribute directly to the Kenya Restoration Fund, a special fund that has been established by Global Partners for Development. This fund will allow money to flow through Kenyan partners of GPFD directly to women's projects for the purpose of restoring their communities.

http://www.gpfd.org/global_pages/global_conference.html

ENABLE THE VOICES OF KENYA WOMEN TO BE HEARD ON A GLOBAL STAGE

Joyce Oneko has been invited to participate in a global women's summit being convened in Jaipur, India in March 2008. This event, 'Making Way for the Feminine For the Benefit if the World Community", is being anchored by Global Peace Initiative of Women (http://www.gpiw.org/) and will bring together 400 world leaders from religion, government and civil society.

A special fund has been created to allow Joyce and two rural Kenya women leaders to travel to Jaipur so that their leadership may be acknowledged and their voices be heard in this global forum. This opportunity to go to India is not a frivolous thing in this time of crisis in Kenya; it is a powerful way to gain visibility and generate the global support that African women need to continue toward self-sufficiency and caring for their extended families.

You can send a check made out to Gather the Women
(with the notation JOYCE in the memo line)

Gather the Women
P.O. Box 80026
Rancho Santa Margarita, CA 92688

SEND A 'LOVE NOTE'

At the Grassroots African Women's Conference in Kenya, we were able to give each African woman a personal handwritten 'love note' from an American women ... and to experience how treasured these personal messages were to women who received them. It was a deeply personal and uniquely feminine connection which was received with tears of gratitude by many of the African women that evening.

We will again be collecting hand-written notes of support and encouragement to be delivered directly to the women of Kenya.

You can send your note to:

Gather the Women
P.O. Box 80026
Rancho Santa Margarita, CA 92688

ANCHOR A PRAYER CIRCLE

In one of Joyce's e-mails sent from the midst of the conflict, she asked "Please pray for our beloved country Kenya." One way you can support the women of Kenya is to anchor a prayer circle on their behalf.

We are so blessed to be living at this time
when we can act locally and connect globally.
I trust the women of Kenya to show up and do what needs to be done in this moment,
and I trust each of you to do the same.

Love,
Kathe

P.S You can read a collection of recent letters from our Kenya friends at a special Gather the Women Africa website

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