Wanjala Wafula is a writer and Founder / CEO of The Coexist Initiative, a not for profit synergy of men and boys community‐based organizations committed to eliminating all forms of Gender based violence in Kenya.
It is a haze of confusion that exemplifies the very existence of human beings today. We exist in a sphere that is impulsive and leaning its way to the inevitable. What is in the mind of the world today if I may ask? Every time I open my eyes, I am profoundly confronted by a world choking from a multitude of sorrows, a load of conflicts and fights. Gloom is thriving with lunacy in this age of the presumed modern and digital. Woe unto us the relics of the millennium.
I feel very inspired today and I dare anyone to challenge me. Personally, I find this time in history to be visibly special, yet the light I feel from the world is detracted by its equal gloom. I believe you cannot have Light without dimness, and in my heart I see just how beautiful the world is, and similarly just how appalling it can be. I confess that I could go on for an entire day writing of all the horror reported locally, nationally or from across the globe. But, what is the point? I only wish for an equal, just and peaceful world.
I desire a globe that has returned to the rails of humanity and compassion. I miss a day when consciousness shifts beyond the individual and toward the celestial principle. I am craving for equality and justice in the world. I know the hour reckons and my tears just can’t stop flowing. If I be or not be, my prayers will always be for the world. My reflections will permanently hold the truth. I hope that more would do the same and spread the fire of gender equity and justice. Please hear my cry for the sake of those with us now, and for the future of life and freedom for all. Please forgive me, just let me dream on.
I am currently involved in discussions branded post 2020 and the entire dialogue is to replace the Millennium Development Goals that experts rightly confirm to have spot-lighted issues around women and girls. I do not malign the outstanding advances made by women and girls around the world. However, I would like to suggest that we are all hacking at the branches of the continuing societal evils facing women and girls. The world has neglected to hack at the root “source” of these problems which is the vulnerable and neglected demographics around boys. Boys today are the least parented compared to any other time in history. A recent survey in South Africa confirmed that over 85% of the parents hardly spent three hours average a week with their boys. Experts in Kenya do not see much of a difference here.
They are the most targeted generation choking from negative role models around them as well as those portrayed in the media. This negativity and lack of positive role modeling has led to confusion, lack of self-respect, sexual and drug abuse, conflict and other harmful practices. I have always insisted in this third rate column that there is nothing more dangerous than a boy without a purpose and especially a boy who feels he has nothing to lose.
I dare the world to believe that as we continue to advance the causes relative to girls, we must also begin to address the feeble linkage in their progress: boys and men. If the desire of those working at the UN and grass-roots organizations, is to fortify the gains made toward empowering a new generation of girls, to work toward a future where girls rights are indeed part of all human rights, and establish an equitable peace-building process, then we also need to establish and stabilize a generation of boys who will not be threatened by this process; but rather understand their role to safeguard these gains and work in tandem with girls to ameliorate the societal traumas that threaten to destroy them both.
If we are to encourage women to raise their voice, to have their needs, concerns and solutions given credence, then should we not educate men and prepare boys who will not only listen to women, but who will also respect their voice, their wisdom, their ideas and their unique and critically important perspective? It has been said that we must look away from what has been done in order to observe what has not been done. We need to urgently relook at our gender programing and address what is not currently being done in regard to boys.
When we begin to hack at the root and teach boys the aforementioned principles, we take a critical step toward truly helping not only girls, but boys as well. As boys begin to envision their purpose and the vital role they play in establishing peace in all of its forms, a conciliatory attitude of collaboration ensues. We should be reminded that “peace” is not simply the absence of war. It is also the absence of hunger, ignorance, abuse, violence, and gender disparity in all of its forms. It goes without saying that this lack of peace affects the world’s sons, as well as its daughters. So let’s start changing the world.
I am sorry, I was just dreaming!!