In 2013, the Centre for Rights, Education and Awareness (CREAW) in Kenya was facing closure. Nearly 5,000 cases affecting women that CREAW was overseeing were still within the legal system but the organisation — like many in the country — was in the midst of a funding crisis. CREAW is a national, women’s human rights nongovernmental organisation based in Nairobi, whose vision is “a transformed and just society”. Its mission is to champion, expand and make real women’s human rights with programmes grounded in core values of integrity, professionalism, passion, innovation, and synergy. It is headed by leading woman’s activist, Wangechi Wachira. CREAW’s relationship with the African Women’s Development Fund (AWDF) started in 2007 when another leading women’s organisation and grantee partner, FEMNET, suggested the organisation apply for funding for their women’s programmes.
“By the time we started the relationship around 2007, Kenya was going into a general election. AWDF funded a programme that worked to support women to be able to participate in decision-making processes,” recalled Wachira. “Before the election, things were fine but after the elections, things went south. We were able to play a role in peace building during that process. We went back to AWDF and said that women had come out in big numbers to vote but in the aftermath, women had been abused and violated. We wanted to go back to the communities and document the stories of the women we had worked with,” she explained.
“The country has made a lot of strides since 2007. In 2010, Kenya passed a Constitution and women were able to push for their issues at a constitutional level. Since then a lot of laws have been passed that deal with the issues of women. What remains, however, is to make sure that they are finalised, implemented and that the relevant government institutions take responsibility for them to be enacted,” said Wachira.