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Photo: Taken by Aidlink partner GCN, Kajiado, Kenya 2017.

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Today is the UN World Day of Social Justice. The Oxford dictionary defines social justice as ‘justice in terms of the distribution of wealth, opportunities, and privileges within a society’. We uphold the principles of social justice when we remove barriers that people may face due to their culture, gender, age, race, ethnicity, religion or disability. Aidlink and its partners in Uganda and Kenya have created programmes that aim to alleviate the social injustice faced by people, particularly women and girls, within these regions.

The empowerment of women is central to Aidlink’s work, with a particular focus on ending child marriage and FGM (female genital mutilation),harmful practices that are prevalent in the areas where we operate.

FGM comprises all procedures that involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons. FGM is recognized internationally as a violation of the human rights of girls and women. It reflects deep-rooted inequality between the sexes and is largely associated with cultural ideals of femininity. Many people believe it is a necessary practice when raising a girl and preparing her for marriage. It is intended to ensure pre-marital virginity and after marriage it is intended to reduce a woman’s libido, therefore reduce marital infidelity. There are absolutely no health benefits to FGM and it can lead to the women experiencing health issues such as excessive bleeding, urinary problems and an increased risk in childbirth complications, to name a few of the major concerns. More than 200 million girls and women are estimated to have undergone FGM worldwide and 3 million are at risk each year. In a recent article in  The Guardian, Rebecca Chelimo, a woman from Alakas village in eastern Uganda, describes how she felt undergoing FGM at the age of twelve. “I feared abuse and insults from the community. I was told it was a shame to be an uncircumcised girl. I believed no man would marry me if I didn’t cut. So I did it.”


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Photo: Taken by Aidlink partner GCN, Kajiado, Kenya 2017.

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Child marriage is another injustice effecting woman in the regions where Aidlink works. Child marriage is a formal marriage or informal union where one or both of the parties is under the age of eighteen. Girls Not Brides reports that if there is no reduction in child marriage, the global number of women married as children will reach 1.2 billion by 2050, with devastating consequences for the whole world. Child marriage is fueled by gender inequality and cultural traditions with climate change increasingly acting as an additional motivating factor in recent times. With many livelihoods destroyed by droughts or flooding. UNICEF reports that in 2017, 40% of children in Uganda were married before the age of eighteen, 10% were married by the age of fifteen. In Kenya, 23% were married by the age of eighteen and 4% married by the age of fifteen. In January of this year, reports emerged from a Kenyan news publication of the rescue of a four-year-old girl who was saved from a planned marriage to a seventy-year old man in Samburu, in north-central Kenya. The reported motivation for agreeing to the marriage was the bride price (the agreed sum of money or goods given to the bride’s family by the groom in exchange for their daughter).

FGM and child marriage are barriers that women are facing within Aidlink target communities, particularly Kajiado and Turkana in Kenya, and Karamoja in Uganda. Not only are these harmful practices violations of women’s human rights but they also often signal the end of education for girls and women within primary and secondary schools. On the 20th of February, the UN World Day of Social Justice, we highlight the issues that Aidlink is working to tackle. Through our education and rights programmes, we are supporting girls to stay in school and gain an education, and empowering both them and their families to reject early marriage and FGM in an effort to eradicate these practices.


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Photo: Taken by Aidlink partner GCN, Kajiado, Kenya 2017.



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Social justice is possible when we remove barriers based on gender, race, ethnicity, religion, culture or disability.

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Photos: School Children from Endonyo Wuas Primary,Kajiado, Kenya,2017.