Monday, June 8, 2009

An opportunity to support Joyce Oneko of Kenya

On Memorial Day, I had the opportunity to spend some time with Joyce Oneko who was in the U.S. visiting from Kenya. She and Elizabeth Stephenson were driving from Ojai to Palm Springs, and the three of us met at a Starbucks along the freeway for a lovely long chat and numerous hugs and kisses. I am delighted to report that Joyce had been resting and renewing under Elizabeth's watchful care, that she is as full of passion and ideas as ever and that she remains a remarkably clear visionary leader.

Joyce is not only the founder of Mama Na Dada, an innovative NGO in Kenya formed by and for African women to support the empowerment of the African girl child. ( She was also the organizing force behind the remarkable Grassroots African Women's Conference held in Bondo, Kenya in 2006 which brought together 513 grassroots African women to share ideas and build networks of support.

At this moment, there is an opportunity to help Joyce evolve the next layer of her own leadership, of the collective leadership of the women of Kenya and of Mama Na Dada.

Joyce has returned home to Kenya with the plan to hire a full-time director for Mama Na Dada -- a woman from Kunya Village who can begin to manage the eight projects of Mama Na Dada in a focused and collaborative way so that Joyce has the flexibility to respond to the many national, regional and international projects which have been flowing toward her. (One of these is a UNIFEM grant to provide training for women in the displaced-persons camps about their rights under the law and the government aid that should be available to them.)

Joyce feels that the work of Mama Na Dada and its projects originating in Kunya Village must become first even more effective on the ground and then be broadcast as a model for other villages in the region. Her plan is to hire and pay a full-time director who will work using a shared leadership model - empowering and facilitating more women amd young leaders to become involved in leadership roles. Joyce has given this much thought and builds upon her keen understanding of local politics, the complex dynamics among the women and the best use of local resources. She remains commited to capacity building at the grassroots level.

This project will require a fund of $5000 per year.

Your donation of any kind would be much appreciated and would directly impact the lives of rural women in Kenya. You can send funds payable to VILLAGE VOLUNTEERS (with MAMA NA DADA DIRECTOR marked in the memo line) to the following address:

Kathleen Kraemer
309 Benton Street
Santa Rosa, CA 95401

Village Volunteers is a 501.c.3 in the U.S. which has generously volunteered to pass through 100% of all donations to Mama Na Dada.

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