Nairobi, 24 November 2023 – The “Activate Nairobi” awareness campaign was launched this morning, on the occasion of the global initiative of the sixteen days of activism against gender violence. The campaign is the the result of collaboration between the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (Aics), the Italian Cultural Institute (IIC), and the Offices of the Embassy of Italy in Kenya.
The event was inaugurated by Ambassador Roberto Natali and the Deputy Minister of the Department for Gender and Affirmative Action of Kenya, Anne Wang’ombe. Afterwards, the round table opened, featuring four women leaders sharing their strategies to combat climate change. Among the speakers were also Charlene Ruto, Elizabeth Wathuti, climate activist and former speaker at COP 27 in Glasgow, Francesca Di Matteo, deputy director of the French Institute for Research in Africa (IFRA) and Professor Mary Lucia Mbithi. The round table concluded with the inauguration of the photographic exhibition ‘I Want You To Know’ created by Gaia Squarci, National Geographic scholar and collaborator of Cortona on the Move.
Ambassador Natali stated: “The fight against gender violence is a priority for both Italy and Kenya and it requires collective and decisive responses. Italy is committed alongside Kenya to confront this challenge”.
Giovanni Grandi, Head of Aics Regional Office of Nairobi, underlined that “the role of cooperation initiatives is central to making women increasingly protagonists in all areas of society. The interventions we just heard in this all-female panel are a clear indication of this objective, which the Agency supports and will continue to support”.
Elena Gallenca, Director of the IIC, finally declared: “Culture is a bridge between nations, and we know how, unfortunately, women’s voices are historically underrepresented. The activities of the Activate campaign want to send a clear signal, bringing Italian culture to the foreground in the fight against gender violence, which is a global cause”.
The ‘Activate Nairobi’ campaign will continue until 10 December with events including a theater performance, two evenings of stand-up comedy, film screenings and two forums dedicated to survivors of gender violence cases in Kenya, authorities and stakeholders.
Note to editors
‘Activate Nairobi’ is an awareness campaign organized by the Nairobi office of Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (Aics) and the Italian Cultural Institute (IIC) of Nairobi, together with the Embassy of Italy in Kenya. The campaign, carried out in conjunction with the global campaign of 16 days of activism against gender violence, aims to stimulate debate on this and complementary themes, such as the promotion of equal opportunities, gender stereotypes, the of climate change on the gender issue, respect for the rights of girls and boys. With this objective, various events have been designed that use different channels (theatre, forum, stand up comedy, etc.) to reach different segments of Kenyan society, including university students, teenagers, adults, with the aim of encouraging the most widespread dissemination of awareness messages.
The launch event, organized in the prestigious University of Nairobi (the oldest in Kenya), focused on the relationship between climate change and female empowerment through the testimonies and experiences of four women activists. The photographic exhibition ‘I Want You To Know’, inaugurated at the end of the panel, was created by Gaia Squarci of Cortona On The Move, who, thanks to the collaboration with IIC, AICS and WeWorld Onlus, during the month of October 2023 was involved in an artistic residency in Nairobi. During her stay, Gaia met, interviewed and photographed women activists, and held a workshop for disadvantaged young people in Mathare, an informal neighborhood in Nairobi, in collaboration with the Mwelu Foundation, active in promoting photography and videography as tools for emancipation from poverty.
The Activate campaign program is available here.