Not This Girl appeal | ActionAid UK

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Not This Girl appeal

Lavender lives in Nyarongi, Kenya, where many girls are affected by period poverty.

Period poverty is a problem. One in 10 girls in Africa miss school during their period because they don’t have access to sanitary products, or because there aren’t safe, private toilets for them to use at school.1 In a class of thirty girls, that means three students are falling behind with their studies every month. Simply because they’re girls. When girls can't afford to buy sanitary products, it can stop them from achieving their full potential. Find out how period poverty is affecting girls in Nyarongi, Kenya, and how you can help make sure that periods don't hold girls back.

Thomas is the station manager at Ruben FM. Along with his team, Thomas is raising awareness about sexual and gender-based violence in Mukuru slum, Kenya.

Tackling violence against women and girls isn’t just about supporting survivors. It’s about changing attitudes and challenging the inequalities at the heart of gender-based violence. Thomas Ochieng is doing just that. He’s the station manager at Ruben FM, a community radio station in Mukuru - a large slum to the east of Nairobi. Alongside ActionAid partner, the Wangu Kanja Foundation, Thomas and his team are raising awareness about gender-based violence. They're using the airwaves to challenge sexual violence and get ActionAid's message out into the community. 

Christina works in the peanut butter factory in Mukuru slum, Kenya. The factory was set up by ActionAid-partner, the Wangu Kanja Foundation, to empower survivors of sexual violence.

Peanut butter is a miracle spread. It makes smoothies creamier, bagels crunchier, and sauces richer. Oh, and melted peanut butter trickled over ice-cream is a life-changer. But for a group of Kenyan women, this humble spread is changing lives in a very different way. The spread is empowering women in Kenya who have set up a business to produce and sell peanut butter in their local community. Set up by the Wangu Kanja Foundation, an ActionAid partner, the peanut butter factory is helping women who have experienced sexual violence achieve financial independence and have the skills and knowledge to be their own boss.

Two girls making their way to school in Kenya. Many young girls living in poverty are subjected to harassment on their journey to school. This leaves them feeling vulnerable, frightened, and has a negative impact on their education.

"Hey, sexy!" Millions of women and girls around the world will have heard that phrase - or something like it - cutting into their daily lives, unwanted and uninvited, as they walk to work or get the bus to school. Some might say that it's harmless, just a joke, or perhaps even a compliment. But catcalling is none of those things. It's an explicit demonstration of power, one that is intended to frighten or intimidate the person it's addressed to. It is based in deep-rooted gender inequality, which sees women's bodies as not their own. 

Mary is a member of the Nyarongi Women’s Network and the Chairperson of their paralegal team

Women and girls living in the poorest parts of the world are vulnerable to sexual and gender-based violence. Only a tiny minority of survivors report their cases to the police. Many are too afraid to speak out because of stigma, because they don't know their legal rights, or because they don't trust the police. Our Not This Girl appeal, supported by UK Aid Match, is empowering local women in Kenya to support survivors of sexual violence and bring perpetrators to justice. ActionAid is training local women, so they have the knowledge, skills and confidence to support survivors through the legal process. We want to introduce the police woman and empowered paralegals, who are helping survivors of violence and sexual abuse get the support they need.

Gender Defenders from Mukuru slum, Kenya (left to right): Veronica, Jurusha, Alice Waruniguru, Patience, Nancy, Rukia

Gender Defenders are courageous community volunteers, trained by ActionAid, who stand up to sexual and gender-based violence in Kenya. It's a name they came up with themselves, and one they bear with pride.From helping survivors reach hospital to navigating the legal system, each one – women and men – plays a vital role in preventing and responding to violence. Some are mums whose daughters have been raped. Others have personal experiences, like Alice, whose story I'd like to share with you.