Human rights defender
Rose is a human rights defender from Kenya who focuses on women’s and children’s rights and sexual and gender based violence (SGBV). She leads a network involved in rescuing girls who face early marriages and female genital mutilation (FGM) and making sustained efforts to keep them in education. Prior to this, she worked as a community health worker for 11 years providing medical services to young girls. Witnessing first-hand the detrimental health effects of harmful cultural habits drove Rose towards activism.
Human rights violations in Kenya
In Kenya, despite the ‘Prohibition of Female Genital Mutilation Act 2011’, which criminalised the surgery and any stigmatisation surrounding victims, this is not always implemented by officials for fear of compromising community support. At present, an estimated 23% of girls are married before their 18th birthday in Kenya. The prevalence of FGM in women aged 15-49 is 21% The World Health Organisation has denounced this practice for violating the rights to health, security and physical integrity, the right to be free from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, and often the right to life.
Threats and harassment
Rose comes from a pastoralist community where such patriarchal traditional cultural practices are paramount. In addition to perscecution as a result of her human rights work, Rose’s activism has totally ostracized from her community and from family members.