Nairobi based organisation works to ‘give Kenyan women a voice’
Association of Media Women in Kenya (AMWIK) is a non-governmental organisation (NGO) that aims to raise the profile of national women’s issues through media broadcasting, in order to tackle female inequality and inequity that exist within the country.
According to the organisation, women are continuously pushed aside from important decision making roles and their voices noticeably underrepresented within mainstream media.
Formed in 1984 by four veteran media women who felt they needed to lobby within the media to promote female rights, AMWIK is based in the Kenyan Capital, Nairobi. The organisation now has a membership of 300, which continues to grow.
Jane Thuo, Executive Director, said: “We have lived in a society which trivializes women, it’s stereotyping from society that being a woman, you won’t go far, we see women portrayed as sexual objects, and we’re coming from that background.”
AMWIK believes that the media has a responsibility to give women a voice through several media platforms.
Media and partnerships
As well as an established website, AMWIK produces several magazines targeted at the female community about upcoming schemes and news. Some of the publications are even published off the back of the organisations own research, including a book that documents the rise of 32 Inspirational female Kenyan Members of Parliament.
Recently an audio production studio has also been set up. The studio, which is located at AMWIK’s head office, is used to make radio packages which they distribute to the local female groups. The organisation also plan to hire out the studio to the community in the future.
AMWIK has set up has several partnerships with other NGOs and organisations. These include Girl Child Network, Action Aid International, Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA – Kenya), Media Council of Kenya and Men for Equality of Men & Women (MEW) .
An annual budget of 50 million Kenyan shillings, equivalent to £376,500, helps the organisation to reach its main objective progress: to improve life for Kenyan women. This objective has now stretched further with the launch several other partnership organisations across Africa.
Jane said: “(There is to be) a likelihood of other partnerships.”
The organisation also runs numerous campaigns to raise the profile of marginalized issues within the media.
Their campaign against sexual and gender based violence uses radio broadcasts and packages to, among other things, stop FGM/C (Female Gender Mutilation/Cutting), a common practice in many African communities.
The HIV/AIDS Campaign provides Kenyan communities with detailed edited online articles and personal accounts in order to provide information and highlight HIV/AIDS related issues.
In 2003, the Kenya Union of Journalists recognized AMWIK’s dedication to this campaign, honouring their work with an award at the national Journalist of the Year Awards.
AMWIK recognizes that the organisation is still in the process of growing.
AMWIK commented: “We want do everything, but it’s not realistic.”
AMWIK currently provides their young members the opportunity to access a university scholarship fund. Established in 2004, the first of its kind, this scheme has the objective of helping some AMWIK members to help access higher education.
A rotating finance system, the scholarship fund means that those who benefit pay back a percentage, so that in turn others can then benefit. AMWIK have helped 30 members to date enroll in university through the scholarship scheme.
As an organization, AMWIK has several partnerships in operation. Girl Child Network, Action Aid International, Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA – Kenya), Media Council of Kenya and Men for Equality of Men & Women (MEW) are just a few of the connections they currently have.
Jane Thuo – Executive Director
Charles Mugo – Finance and Administration Officer
Joyce Nyarygi – Programme Assistant
Mercy Muirkali – Office Assistant
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