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MEN CAN DEFEND WOMEN RIGHTS TOO- Story of Charles Omwanro

“Violation of one’s right threatens personal safety and peace. Therefore, if we are unable to prevent human rights violation then we should ensure that justice prevails,” Charles Omwanro, HRD

Charles is a Human Rights Defender who champions for the rights of women and children with a focus on prevention and response to gender based violence. His human rights work started in 2003 when he became a volunteer with Gender and Development Centre as a project assistant addressing the escalating gender based violence within the flower farms. It is within the period that some farms founded gender committees and others went further to develop work based Gender policies.

Charles Omwanro (left) receives a nomination certificate for HRD of the year Award 2017 from NCHRD-K Board Member Ahmed Shire and Selection Panel Member Lorna Dias

n 2008 Charles and his colleagues spearheaded “Yes We can”, A campaign that recruited over 4,000 people to be agitators of ending all forms of violence against women (VAW) in Naivasha. In 2010 he and his colleagues founded Young Men Champions in Ending Gender based violence (YMCEG) a community based organization that has influenced a substantial number of young men to join in the fight to end all forms of violence on women and children, enabling victims/survivors to access the required services and access to justice. As a paralegal, he has worked on over 80 cases since 2014. Through his work, he has been identified by media houses to assist them in highlighting some of the violation stories. He was featured in “Dangerous flowers” a documentary by Mohamed Khamis that highlighted the plights of women in the cut flower industry.

In his work, the biggest challenge is having insufficient finances to address the needs of the survivors and the cost of operations, which he has tried to address through linkages with organisations that work within the same scope of work like FIDA- Kenya, Women Empowerment Link, CEDGG, PEACENET, Legal Resource Foundation, National Coalition on Human Rights Defenders and the local Human Rights Organizations who have supported Charles financially or technically.

Nominate someone for HRD Awards 2018 here:http://nchrdk.org/call-for-nominations-for-human-rights-defenders-awards-2018/

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