July 18, 2005 - New York - A MADRE delegation returned today from Kenya, where Rose Cunningham - an Indigenous Nicaraguan, longtime MADRE partner, and internationally-renowned human rights educator - conducted workshops on human rights with Indigenous Samburu and Maasai women. The MADRE delegation also delivered donations of school supplies and teacher training materials to schools in rural, Indigenous communities.
MADRE partners with the Indigenous Information Network in Kenya to promote Indigenous Peoples' and women's human rights throughout the country, including the environmental preservation and sustainable development of Indigenous lands.
As in other parts of the world, Indigenous Peoples in Kenya often live in extreme poverty without access to education and adequate health care, including HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention. These conditions are worsened by economic and security policies of the Bush Administration, which exacerbate poverty and threats to women's human rights.
Indigenous women's human rights are also under attack within their own communities. Denied the right to own land, women are made more vulnerable to poverty and gender-based violence. Yet, as those primarily responsible for preserving their Peoples' natural resources and traditional knowledge, Indigenous women hold the keys to combating poverty and creating strategies for sustainable development.
Vivian Stromberg, MADRE's Executive Director, commented: "Our partners in Kenya are working to change the conditions of poverty that are perpetuated - not eradicated - by policies such as those recently championed by the G8. Facing growing threats to their rights and resources, the Indigenous Information Network is working with MADRE to deliver life-saving information about HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention to Indigenous women and youth, and to demand Indigenous Peoples' and women's human rights on local, national, and international levels."