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Talking politics. Part one Featured

Jorge Burón, a Political Science student at UAM (Autonomous University of Madrid), shares his experience during the first workshop of a four-part cycle on Rights, Freedom and Democracy from the point of view of politics he will undertake for Afrikable’s women beneficiaries, as part of his internship in the area of women empowerment in Lamu.

"I was feeling nervous when I came into the room half an hour before the time of the talk to prepare my introduction in Swahili, it was translated by Khadija. It was just five sentences but many of them do not speak English and it seemed to me a small gesture, although I continued in English with Khadija as an interpreter.

What shall I begin with? Should I tell them about Kenya’s political institutions first? Do we talk directly about the August 8th elections? Do I ask them what they think about the rights of their Constitution? After a presentation on what it means to have rights, to be free and to live in democracy, I did not know what to do. Until it began, and then they did it.

All I had to do was ask them about their concerns: everyone said education and health. One said safety, another equality for women. Khadija only said corruption. That is the problem here and she knows it; she knows a lot. What is the point of a Constitution or voting if everyone steals from us, if women continue to be battered and raped, if the police only work for those who pay them and for others can be a danger?.

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And then they definitely took over. They discussed, shouted, grumbled, laughed with resignation. I didn’t understand anything they said because they spoke in Swahili, but I understood them. They talked about politics and rights, many of them for the first time.

The first day we found out that democracy is not just voting. Democracy, as they said, means to be free. Democracy is knowing which are our rights and demanding them when we are not allowed to exercise them. It is to keep fighting for what we deserve instead of giving up. It is discussing our problems and solutions. The society that we have and the one we want.

At the end of the talk I asked them what they wanted to discuss at the session the following week: constitution, institutions, women’s rights... Everyone, with no exception, said women’s rights. It is obvious that they know what they want.

It was only the first talk and I learned more about politics, democracy and society; about fighting, hope, resignation and progress than in all years of my degree. I hope they continue to teach me and that when I leave, they feel like they can achieve what they want. What they are so sure about."

 

Author: Jorge Burón | Translator: Sonia Moscardó

Read 707 times Last modified on Friday, 21 July 2017 14:58
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ABOUT AFRIKABLE

Afrikable is a Spanish charitable organisation, registered in the National Register of Associations under number 1/1/594088 and in the Spanish Agency of International Cooperation for Development (AECID)'s Register of Non-Governmental Organisations under number 2033.

 

In Kenya our association is called Afrika Able Organization and is registered with Kenya's NGO Coordination Board under number 10976.

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