Your Excellency the first lady of the republic of Kenya, I never had an opportunity to congratulate you when you recently won a United Nation’s recognition for your committed efforts to provide a solution to the challenge of child and maternal deaths across the country. I would have loved to congratulate you then but my message would have not captured your eye the way I would have expected because of the overwhelming number of messages coming your way then.
I know you will read this message or get to hear of it from the able team of the communications staff hired by the presidency. The administration is friendly to the dynamic nature of the media context. It is a digital administration and I have not doubt that the leverage I have used (social media) to relay this message is easy & free from the demands of the analogue path to delivering this kind of a message to a person of your stature in person.
The award you received told the world around us in all the possible colors that you indeed are a strong woman in possession of what it takes to spearhead a significant campaign aimed at securing the lives of mothers and children in Kenya. I hardly write to people mama wa taifa, but to you I take time to write because of the strength of a woman in you epitomized by the vigor and determination with which you have invested in to drive the noble beyond zero campaign. Thank your Excellency for standing in the gap for our beloved women of Kenya and congratulations for winning a global recognition for your effort.
I wish you all the best this week and ahead of the 2015 International Women’s Day (IWD) headline activity in Kenya the first Lady’s Marathon. May the best athlete win, and may your efforts continue to win big time for our mothers and children.
As part of my contribution to the ongoing Action–2015 global campaign, I had proposed to mobilize a delegation of fifteen 15 year old girls from the urban poor population in Nairobi this week to deliver a thank you note to you for the Beyond zero campaign. I had at the same time anticipated to use the opportunity to draw to your attention to what they would love the world leaders to include for mothers & children in the new set of development goals beyond 2015.
Acknowledging the power of your proximity to the highest office in the land, I know the 15-year-old girls would have requested you;
- To keep reminding the president to ensure that they would love to see in the new development framework, a strong & transformative stand alone goal on women’s empowerment, women’s rights and gender equality. They would love the world leaders to ensure that the following target areas are enshrined in the new development goals: freedom from violence, gender equality in the distribution of resources, in decision-making, power, and voice in public and private institutions.
- To influence all the first ladies in Africa to urgently develop a common advocacy position paper on what should be captured in the new development framework to address the challenges of women and children in Africa. In position paper implore world leaders and those currently involved in the process to make sure that the Sustainable Development Goals will address structural barriers to gender equality, taking into consideration the three dimensions of sustainable development namely; economic, social and environmental.
- To influence action against hospitals that mismanage expectant mothers who opt for safe delivery. Cases of expectant mothers dying or receiving lifetime damages while in hospitals for delivery services are on the rise in Kenya and if left unpunished the trend threatens to undermine the efforts you and other advocates of safe delivery option for mothers, are investing in.
- To campaign for a truly free healthcare for expectant mothers and infants in all hospitals. No one should receive an invoice after birth beyond 2015. In many countries, women must pay for vital health care when they give birth. Those unable to pay often give birth at home without access to qualified help. In Norway healthcare is free for women & infants is free of charge. This is a possibility in all countries under the sun.
- To develop a sustainable strategy for the Beyond Zero Campaign or if it is existing to communicate it to the public so that they are kept confident that the campaign is not a political bait likely to end up as a seasonal & short term solution to life time challenge. It would be good to have the campaign anchored in the country’s laws to safeguard it and ensure that it receives funding support from sustainable and reliable sources.
I have no doubt that, as mother who is passionate about the concerns of mothers and our nation’s future – our children, the First lady would have listened to the 15 year olds keenly and do the very necessary in 2015. I on behalf of the 15-year-old girls who will be 30 by 2030 thank the First lady for accepting to acknowledge that year 2015 is crucial and a critical year for the people and planet. We look forward to your continuous action beyond 2015.
As we approach the IWD, we get closer & closer to December 2015 when the word is to adopt a new set of targets on environment, we continue taking note of the fact that the environment is very important and has a potential to affect the welfare of women. We highly hope that whatever the world leaders are currently preparing and fine-tuning will serve well in future to safeguard our women from the anger of a degraded environment.
As I wish all women a productive International Women’s Day 2015, I recall that my father (whose presence on this year’s IWD will be highly missed following his demise towards the end of 2014) encouraged his wife and daughters to plant commemorative trees on the International Women’s Day. His was a very good lesson and I encourage all men during this year’s IWD to encourage or sponsor their spouses, mothers, daughters, sisters, fiancés, or girlfriends to plant a commemorative tree at home or within the compounds of their respective places of work.
The commemorative trees will play in well as an appreciation to environmentalists and a symbolic call to our leaders to adopt acceptable & sustainable new binding climate targets in December 2015.
Kindly feel free to share your tree planting “selfies” through social media forums and do not forget to send them to firstname.lastname@example.org