Home

Marren Akatsa-Bukachi

30 September 2005
I am the Executive Director of the Eastern African sub-regional support Initiative for Women (EASSI) based in Kampala Uganda. EASSI was formed in 1996 as a facility to monitor how governments in the sub region were implementing the Beijing Platforms for Action.

Before I joined EASSI in June 2004, I was a Programme Officer for Good Governance, Human Rights and later on Gender, at the Royal Netherlands Embassy in Nairobi. I joined the Embassy after working for four years as a civic educator with the Institute for Education in Democracy in Kenya. I mainly educated the youth on their rights and responsibilities, and trained election monitors.

Working at the embassy was tame compared to what I had been doing before and I began to feel restless as my activism could not be overtly displayed.  I wanted to be out in the field making a difference, not just disbursing funds and waiting for reports. In June 2004 I joined EASSI which is a woman focused organization. EASSI's work focuses on women's poverty at the household level and how this can be eradicated. The Millennium Development Goals look unreachable by 2015 unless they are scaled down to the household level where poverty is most acute.

Another area of concern for EASSI is conflict, and the lack of space for women's organizing. Our sub-region is replete with major and minor conflicts and bodies have been put up by governments to mediate conflicts. Women are not key players in these bodies yet they are the main victims during conflict situations.

Apart from that I am personally interested in women's political participation as a result of my experience in monitoring elections in Kenya, where women experienced both physical and verbal violence. I want to see women politicians recognised as political players and not 'women' political players. In a situation of insecurity many women will prefer not to play any role in politics whether as voters or as candidates.  I would like to see more of this subject debated.

Who's getting rich from COVID-19?

Boris Johnson's government stands accused of 'COVID cronyism', after handing out staggering sums of money to controversial private firms to fight COVID-19. Often the terms of these deals are kept secret, with no value-for-money checks or penalties for repeated failures which cost lives. And many major contracts have gone directly to key Tory donors and allies – without competition.

As COVID rates across the country surge, how can we hold our leaders accountable? Meet the lawyers, journalists and politicians leading the charge in our free live discussion on Thursday 1 October at 5pm UK time.

Hear from:

Dawn Butler Labour MP for Brent Central and member of the House of Commons Committee on Science and Technology

Peter Geoghegan Investigations editor, openDemocracy, and author of 'Democracy for Sale: Dark Money and Dirty Politics'

Jolyon Maugham Barrister and founder of the Good Law Project.

Peter Smith Procurement expert and author of 'Bad Buying: How Organisations Waste Billions through Failures, Frauds and F*ck-ups'

Chair: Mary Fitzgerald Editor-in-chief of openDemocracy

Had enough of ‘alternative facts’? openDemocracy is different Join the conversation: get our weekly email

Comments

We encourage anyone to comment, please consult the oD commenting guidelines if you have any questions.
Audio available Bookmark Check Language Close Comments Download Facebook Link Email Newsletter Newsletter Play Print Share Twitter Youtube Search Instagram WhatsApp yourData