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Ethnic Minority Defenders: Amplifying the voices of indigenous human rights defenders to advocate for the rights to health and education

Duration: May 2020 – April 2023

Country: Kenya

Communities: Ogiek Mau, Ogiek Elgon, Sengwer, Endorois, Awer

What is this programme about?

This project aims to improve access to quality health care and education for ethnic minority communities in Kenya, providing support to strengthen the capacity of ethnic minority human rights defenders from Ogiek Mau, Ogiek Elgon, Sengwer, Endorois and Awer groups. Drawing on Minority Rights Group’s experience working alongside ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities and indigenous communities, conducting research and producing eminent data, this project will support ethnic minority human rights defenders and communities to monitor and advocate for education and health rights, while holding duty bearers accountable for the reach of services in the five communities within the project. By reinforcing the capacity of ethnic minority human rights defenders to advocate their social, economic and cultural rights this action will have a sustainable impact on ethnic minority communities’ ability to voice their demands and concerns regarding systemic discriminations in the future.

Why are we delivering this programme?

Previous work experience with indigenous and minority groups in Kenya as well as testimonies from partners have highlighted the persistence of systemic marginalisation against ethnic minorities fuelled by perpetual exclusion from development planning processes resulting in unequal allocation and access to resources and services. The five communities targeted by the action all have suffered through decades of human rights violations from the colonial state to their current government. Although Kenya has registered improvement in most health indicators at the national level, this progress is yet to be observed across all strata of the population. Significant inequalities persist in rural households and the income poor, with ethnic minorities registering the worse health care coverage. Socioeconomic development challenges ignore, by focussing on bigger populations, the challenges that smaller groups are facing. As a result, ethic minorities have continued to live in extreme poverty with unstable economic livelihoods, poor access to food security, education and health.

What are we aiming to achieve?

  • Increased knowledge, awareness and capacities of ethnic minority human rights defenders and members of targeted ethnic minorities to understand regional, national and international laws/policies relevant to the implementation of their right to equal access to health and education;
  • Increased participation of targeted ethnic minorities in annual county, national and regional budget development processes on health and education;
  • Increased psycho-social support to address stigma and improve access to health for community members of targeted ethic minorities; and
  • Increased networking within ethnic minority human rights defenders grassroots movement and with national, regional and international activists on policy formulation and ethnic minorities’ rights advocacy.

Who are our partners?

Our partner is the Ogiek Peoples’ Development Programme (OPDP).

Who is funding this programme?

This programme is funded by the Delegation of the European Union to the Republic of Kenya.

This content represents the views of Minority Rights Group only and is its sole responsibility. The European Union does not accept any responsibility for the use that may be made of the information it contains.