Kenya: all-women village thrives

Kenya: all-women village thrives

Verma, Priya

Seeking to escape domestic violence, rape, forced marriage, and other abuse, several dozen women have founded a matriarchal, womenonly village that is drawing both economic prosperity, and hatred and jealousy of local men.

The village of Umoja, meaning “unity” in Swahili, was founded 10 years ago on an abandoned plot of land among dry grasslands. Their dung-and-mud huts are built in a circular pattern and house several dozen women in a thriving and happy village. The women have built a cultural center, a camping site for hikers destined for the nearby Samburu National Reserve, and a business making and selling traditional beadwork necklaces.

In response local men tried founding their own, men-only village and tourist center. The tourism plan flopped and the men have turned to spying on the women’s village, filing a court case to try and shut down the village, and physically attacking the women. The village leader, Rebecca Lolosoli, has even received death threats after attending the recent United Nations world conference on gender.

“We do not have peace in the village now. These men are so angry because we have money and we do not give them any,” said Lolosoli.

-info from Worldpulse Magazine 7/05, news.telegraph 8/1/05

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