: NCHRD News

Call For Applications: The women’s digital safety fellowship for East Africa

Defend defenders is pleased to announce the 3rd round of our women’s digital safety fellowship program starting March 2019.

Two years ago, we started the work of building a community of tech-savvy East African women ready to stand up and defend digital rights and digital safety while fighting online harassment in their communities. Since then 21 amazing women from Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda, Ethiopia, Sudan, South Sudan and Tanzania have been trained to play an important role in their communities as digital security mentors!

We are excited to announce the expansion of this unique group of women. We are looking for creative, self-motivated and dependable women who want to take their digital safety skills and online activism to the next level – inviting women human rights defenders from Burundi, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda to apply.

Participation involves 

  • Minimum 4 hours per week for 3 weeks before the first workshop to complete self-study assignments and exercises. Please note these exercises are mandatory for participation in the workshop;
  • Must be available for weekly email check-ins with mentors;
  • Must be able to attend a one-week workshop to be scheduled in March 2019 in Kampala, Uganda;
  • Opportunity to seek small grants to carry out community digital safety activities of your own;
  • Working with mentors and peers as you improve your skills and work to defend your community; and
  • Opportunity to participate in a 2nd gathering of Safe Sisters to further grow skills and reflect on practice and experienced gained during project implementation.

Application requires 

  • Applicants must have a demonstrated interest in digital safety and security;
  • Applicants should have experience working in the human rights and/or media field with strong links to communities who are digitally at-risk;
  • Applicants must hold a sufficient level of english, as english will be the working language; and
  • Applicants must complete and submit the application form here.

Selection Criteria 

Priority will be given to applicants who:

  • Demonstrate experience with strong technical competencies (though this need not be formal education);
  • Have experience with tech and human rights initiatives;
  • Demonstrate an understanding of their own and their community’s digital safety challenges and needs;
  • Propose creative project ideas; and
  • Construct clear project objectives/goals.

There are a limited number of positions open and competition is fierce so do apply on time and with a strong application!

Application deadline 

Applications are now open until 15th February 2019. Please apply by filling out the online application form. We will not be accepting submissions after this date.

If you have any questions, send us an email at: safesister@defenddefenders.org

This 3rd round of Safe Sister: The women’s digital safety fellowship for East Africa is generously made possible by Bread For the World.



Senior Program Officer, Sexual Health and Rights (Africa)

Location of Position

New York, NY, Kenya, or Uganda

Reporting Relationship

Director, Sexual Health and Rights


American Jewish World Service (AJWS) is the leading Jewish organization working to pursue justice and fight poverty in the developing world. By supporting hundreds of social change organizations in 19 countries, we respond to the most pressing issues of our time—from disasters, genocide and hunger, to the persecution of women and minorities worldwide. With Jewish values and a global reach, AJWS is making a difference in millions of lives and bringing a more just and equitable world closer for all. 


AJWS works to increase access to services and end discrimination, violence and abuse of women, girls, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people and sex workers, so that they can access the full spectrum of opportunities in society and live in health, safety and dignity.


The Senior Program Officer (SPO) manages AJWS’ dynamic sexual health and rights grantmaking in Africa, coordinates capacity-building and programmatic opportunities for in-country staff and grantees, coordinates with other funders, and engages in strategic learning and evaluation in order to document AJWS’s impact and to improve grantmaking strategies, with a specific focus on Uganda, Kenya and Liberia. The SPO collaborates closely with country consultants and the Director of Sexual Health and Rights to develop and implement strategy in sexual health and rights. The SPO seeks strategic opportunities for partnership and collaboration that leverage AJWS’s grantmaking and promote the work of grantees, develops initiatives that advance AJWS and grantees’ work, and contributes to funder affinity groups and networks to deepen knowledge in the field.

The ideal candidate will have a proven record as a strategic grantmaker or related activism and advocacy in the field of sexual health and rights, with experience working in East and/or West Africa and in-depth knowledge of the legal, political, social and economic contexts in the region. S/he must also have a keen understanding of how local activists need to partner with national and global activist networks to create impactful change. 

Responsibilities include but are not limited to:

  • Develop, implement, monitor and evaluate dynamic grant making strategies in Uganda, Kenya and Liberia, in collaboration with the Director of Sexual Health and Rights, staff and consultants;
  • Advance grant making program in Sexual Health and Rights by identifying new grantees, developing proposals, supporting grantees with technical assistance and access to opportunities, respond to crises and emergencies and refining grant making strategies based on learning and evaluation in close partnership with country-based staff;
  • Identify and deepen relationships with collegial donors, civil society organizations, activists, policymakers and other allies;
  • In partnership with the Senior Program Officer of Land, Water and Climate Justice or other staff with a portfolio in country, directly manage AJWS country consultants/staff in Uganda, Kenya and Liberia, and work closely with them to implement portfolio strategies in country.
  • Engage staff to build capacity across countries and thematic areas to address key programmatic priorities aligned with AJWS strategic plan, staff professional development goals and portfolio needs;
  • Develop and oversee grantmaking budget and operational plans for Uganda, Kenya and Liberia, in conjunction with the Director of Sexual Health and Rights
  • Monitor the Sexual Health and Rights team grant making budget and operational plans in conjunction with the Director of Sexual Health and Rights;
  • Identify emerging issues and trends in Uganda, Kenya and Liberia, as well as across the East and West African regions, and utilize findings to determine funding priorities and develop grantmaking strategies and initiatives;
  • Collaborate with grantmaking colleagues to identify and analyze regional and global trends and document lessons learned and cross regional/thematic learning;
  • Partner with other members of the Sexual Health and Rights team to establish departmental priorities, learning agenda, be a thought partner with the Director of SHR in developing departmental processes, and build a shared departmental identity;
  • Organize and conduct at least two to three trips in the focus countries per year for exploratory research, site visits, partner meetings, and monitoring and evaluation;
  • Partner with Strategic Learning, Research and Evaluation division to identify research projects that can strengthen country-based grantmaking and/or document the learning emerging from AJWS’s grant making to inform the field of HR funders and related fields of philanthropy/development;
  • Partner with development staff to manage relationships, lead and plan study tours and other donor engagement visits to focal countries, write reports and fulfill other contractual obligations of donors that are supporting AJWS’s work;
  • Collaborate with members of the advocacy team and International Education and Jewish Engagement to ensure a close integration of the priorities of AJWS’s grantees with AJWS’s advocacy efforts in the U.S. and internationally;
  • Increase AJWS’s visibility and profile by presenting AJWS’s work to donors, collegial organizations, networks and policymakers;
  • Play a leadership role in funding networks and policy arenas to advance the advocacy agendas of AJWS grantees and improve the field of international human rights funding


  • BA/BS required; Masters degree in relevant field (law, public policy, public administration, public health) strongly preferred;
  • Minimum of seven years of working at a foundation, international development or human rights organization in the field of sexual health and rights, with work experience in East and/or West Africa required;
  • Experience with, and commitment to, grassroots social justice and human rights movements;
  • Demonstrated knowledge of issues related to stigma and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, expression and sex characteristics
  • Excellent analytical and writing skills; experience writing or reviewing grant proposals;
  • Demonstrated experience in managing staff;
  • Excellent public speaking and presentation skills and experience managing donor relations;
  • Proficiency in reading, writing and speaking in English required; ability to speak Swahili or French highly desirable;
  • Working understanding of human rights norms and practices, feminism(s), international development, and grassroots social movement building;
  • Proficiency reviewing, monitoring and evaluating budgets and financial documents;
  • Enthusiastic about spending up to 6-9 weeks per year traveling in the focus countries and/or internationally;
  • Willingness to work occasional evenings and weekends;
  • Highly organized, with the proven ability to work independently, prioritize and complete multiple projects, meet deadlines and maintain consistent attention to detail; and
  • Ability to work in and with diverse communities.

Compensation and Benefits Information:

  • Additional information will be provided as candidates progress further in the recruitment process.

Additional Considerations:

People of color; lesbian, gay, bisexual, intersex, trans and gender non-conforming people; women; and differently abled people are encouraged to apply. We also encourage applications from people of diverse religious, spiritual and cultural backgrounds.

All candidates must have legal work authorization in US, Kenya or Uganda.

How to Apply:

For immediate consideration, please email your resume and cover letter to AfricaSHRCareers@ajws.org

Deadline to apply is January 28, 2019.

We thank you for your interest in career opportunities with AJWS. Due to high volume, only those candidates selected for an interview will be contacted.

AJWS is an equal opportunity employer and provides competitive salaries and benefitsJ

Perception Survey on Communication Surveillance and Privacy of Human Rights Defenders in Kenya

The right to privacy is a fundamental right protected in law across the world including Kenya as
stipulated in the Bill of Rights in the 2010 Constitution. It is essential to the protection of human dignity
and serves as the foundation upon which many other rights are built. Privacy denotes “that area of
individual autonomy in which human beings strive to achieve self realization … alone or together
with others.”

Human rights work demands use of communication tools ranging from face-to-face, telephones
and e-mails and short message services (SMS). All these provide varied degrees of risk, which are
also specific to the work the HRDs are engaged in, as well as contexts. Numerous Kenyan HRDs have
raised concerns about their mobile phones being tapped and their communication intercepted.
These experiences have implications for HRDs and, therefore, it is essential to ensure that HRDs are
not the subject of unlawful surveillance practices and that they are able to do their work without
fear of snooping by anyone.

This report analyses the needs, concerns and areas of interest for HRDs in relation to privacy, data
protection and communications surveillance. It also establishes how surveillance impacts HRDs work
and their role as actors of change in society. Examining the risk levels based on these specifics as
well as finding the best-suited measures will be important for continued HRDs protection.

This survey set out to:
• Assess HRDs’ level of exposure, understanding, and perception of communication surveillance;
• Document HRDs’ current strategies for mitigating, perceived or actual communication

See the Fact Sheet of the Research here: https://wp.me/aagr4K-NA

To receive the entire report, Download it via:  info@hrdcoalition.org

Call for nominations for the 2019 Front Line Defenders Award for Human Rights Defenders at Risk.

Front Line Defenders is currently accepting nominations for the 2019 Front Line Defenders Award for Human Rights Defenders at Risk.

As 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the seminal Stonewall uprising which led to the global movement of LGBT+ Pride marches, the 2019 Front Line Defenders Award will prioritise honouring the work of human rights defenders (HRDs) at risk working to defend and advance the rights of the LGBT+ community.

The annual Front Line Defenders Award was established in 2005 to honour the work of HRDs who are courageously making outstanding contributions to the promotion and protection of the human rights of others, often at great personal risk to themselves. The Award focuses international attention on the HRDs work, providing them with a greater national and international platform to speak about and advocate for their work.

From an open nomination process, 5 HRDs will be identified as regional award winners for Africa, the Americas, Asia, ECA and the MENA and from these 5 regional winners, an overall global Award laureate will be identified by a jury of Irish and European parliamentarians.

If you would like to nominate a HRD working on LGBT+ rights for the 2019 Front Line Defenders Award for Human Rights Defenders at Risk, please follow this link to the secure online nomination form: 2019 Front Line Defenders Award – Nomination Form

Please note that the nomination process will remain open until midnight (12am GMT) on Friday, 5th January 2019.

Race against Extinction: The Plight of Sengwer Indigenous Women and HRDs in Embobut Forest

The Sengwer are a minority and marginalized hunter-gatherer indigenous community who occupy
present-day West Pokot, Trans-Nzoia, and Elgeyo Marakwet Counties. Over the years, the Kenyan
government, through the Kenya Forest Service (KFS) and other security agencies has made
attempts to evict the indigenous group from their land in Embobut forest under the guise of forest
conservation. These forceful evictions intensified in Embobut forest in December 2017. The Sengwer
homes were torched, crops and household items destroyed and their livestock disappeared. The
Sengwer community, particularly women, cried for help that hardly came.

These forceful evictions are human rights violations of the Sengwer as well as an infringement of
their rights to customary sustainable utilization of forest resources. In addition, the evictions deprive
the community the means of subsistence, integral to their identity, cultural survival, and forest life. It
is important to note that Article 63 of Kenya Constitution 2010 prescribes that an indigenous group
cannot be evicted from their ancestral territory without their Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC).

See the Fact Sheet of the Research here: https://wp.me/aagr4K-Nw

To receive the entire report, write to us via: info@hrdcoalition.org

Winners of the 2018 Human Rights Defenders of the Year Award 2018 Announced




30 November 2018 – Nairobi, Kenya.

The National Coalition of Human Rights Defenders – Kenya (NCHRD-K) and the Working Group on Human Rights Defenders announced today the winners of the 2018 Human Rights Defenders awards during a ceremony held in Nairobi at the Residence of the Belgian Ambassador.

The 2018 winners are:

  • Human Rights Defender of the Year: Anastacia Nambo and Is’haq Abubakar
  • Upcoming Human Rights Defender of the Year: Christine Kandie
  • Munir Mazrui Lifetime achievement: Okiya Omtatah

For the third consecutive year, and chosen by an independent selection panel of eminent Kenyans, chaired by Dr Willy Mutunga, the three different awards were handed out to the winners for their outstanding work in the field of human rights. Some of the selection criteria included civil courage, leadership, innovation, demonstrable impact of the Human Rights Defender’s work on the community, and creativity.

“In every community, there are individuals who stand out. They defend human rights, and they do so at times under very extraordinary circumstances,” says Kamau Ngugi, Executive Director of the National Coalition of Human Rights Defenders. “The good bit is that their work is appreciated by the society but they are rarely honoured with state commendations. The awards ceremony is a special occasion to honour those courageous individuals who do excellent work within our communities.”

The objective of the Awards ceremony is to honor the extraordinary work of Human Rights Defenders in the protection of human rights while they face many challenges in their capacity of agents of social change and transformation. An important aim of the awards is to improve the safety and protection of Human Rights Defenders as they benefit from the visibility and international recognition.

“As a country, Belgium strongly believes that respect for human rights is one of the cornerstones of a democratic society, as well as of development,” says H.E. Nicolas Nihon, Ambassador of Belgium to Kenya. “Human rights and the protection of Human Rights Defenders are a very important part of our foreign policy and we believe that solidarity in this domain is essential.”

The Awards ceremony is an initiative of the Human Rights Defenders Working Group, currently presided by the National Coalition of Human Rights Defenders of Kenya and co- chaired by Belgium. The Working Group brings together civil society organizations, activists and development partners to pursue the universal goal of protecting human rights and the defenders of these rights.

For more information, or interview requests, please contact:


Notes to the Editors:

Further details on the 2018 Winners:

Human Rights Defender of the Year: Anastacia Nambo and Is’haq Abubakar

Anastacia Nambo

Anastasia is a mother, a preacher by profession and an avid advocate of environmental rights. She started her human rights defence work in 2009 when a metal refinery was established in the Uhuru Owino slums without community consent or consultation. The adverse effects of the metal refinery led to active advocacy and lobbying by Anastasia and community members. Their struggle bore fruit in 2014 when the refinery was closed. Anastasia and the community have undergone various challenges including demolition of their homes, she has faced verbal attacks, threats through texts and attempts to break into her home. To deal with these challenges she sought refuge in Uganda for some time. She also realized that she had to have resilience to overcome some of the challenges. However, these challenges do not deter her from her quest for justice. The award will encourage members of her community that despite the challenges and struggles involved in advocating for what is right, there is hope of celebrating their successes with the world.

Is’haq Abubakar

Is’haq was born and educated in Lamu County where he is a public relations manager working with the indigenous community. He is also a human rights defender focusing on environmental rights issues. Is’haq was initially involved with the Wanaharakati Okoa Lamu Community Based Organisation (CBO), which his father founded together with Imams in Lamu. He however then went on and co-founded Save Lamu, an umbrella of CBOs established in Lamu in the onset of the LAPSSET project. Save Lamu sensitizes the community on the environmental impact of the LAPSSET project and represents the interest of the community by seeking legal redress through an environmental petition filed on human rights violations associated with the LAPSSET project. Is’haq is also the founder of Lamu Coastal Indigenous Peoples Right for Development. His father’s work and legacy is his greatest inspiration and keeps him going despite the challenges he faces in his human rights work. He has experienced threats from anonymous people and police harassment, which he has overcome through strategic partnerships with mainstream organizations in the country such as NCHRD – K, MUHURI and KNCHR. Is’haq believes that the award will legitimize his work, encourage and enhance efforts of HRDs in Lamu to work openly and in partnership with duty bearers in defending indigenous peoples’ rights.

Upcoming Human Rights Defender of the Year – Christine Kandie

Christine is a mother, an accountant and a woman leader in her Endorois community. Over time, Christine has grown to be a strong human rights defender advocating for the rights of the Endorois community both at a local, national, regional and international level. She has placed special focus on Endorois women land rights through her work with the Endorois Welfare Council (EWC) as a Program Officer – Women’s Land Rights. As a human rights defender, she advocates against FGM in the community and for the empowerment of the Endorois women and girls. She has also trained women in her community on their rights which has boosted their participation and confidence in the community. One of her


successes was when she represented her community and strongly articulated issues affecting her community at the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights (ACHPR) session in 2011. She was able to share the progress of the case that the community won in 2010 at the same session in Banjul, The Gambia. Christine has walked the fine line between being a woman from a conservative community and leading from the front as part of the community negotiating team, despite being a woman with a disability. The award will boost her spirits and will provide her a platform to advance the Endorois community case, as well as highlight the plight of indigenous women land rights.

Munir Mazrui Lifetime achievement: Okiya Omtatah

Okiya Omtatah Okoiti is a member of the Catholic Church who believes in the social doctrine of the Good Samaritan, and the call to be the salt of the earth as a witness of Jesus Christ, which influences his work. He is also a published author and an accomplished playwright who has published five plays in Kenya and in the USA. As a HRD, he mostly engages in civic action in defence of human rights for he believes a human being is created in God’s image and likeness and, therefore, must be respected in all circumstances. He advocates for rights through litigation as the outcome goes on record and becomes part of the law. He has prosecuted many cases on various issues to defend the Constitution and uphold the rule of law, because he believes that if the law is respected, violations of human rights will not occur. Okiya has been active in human rights for decades. One of his key earliest successes being his campaign in 1994 against the attempt by powerful individuals in Government to illegally acquire the land occupied by the National Theatre in Nairobi so that they could construct a silo for parking cars on it. He also notes that an important achievement for him as a creative writer was to defend the freedom of creative expression in the petition he successfully filed against the Government’s decision to ban a stage play titled Shackles of Doom, which was a winning script performed during the year 2013 National Drama Festivals by Butere Girls High School. As a result of his success, the girls were able to perform their play at the National Finals in Mombasa, with the Court ordering the Government to foot their bill. What is outstanding about Okiya is that he is driven by conviction in the worth of his work, which has served him well. He believes that winning the award will profile his work and offer him a veil of protection.


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