- Age: 31
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The progress of a people shall be judged by how they treat the most vulnerable members. Let us create a world that is caring, equal, fair, and just to every person.
- Liz Guantai
Liz Guantai was born and raised in Kenya. She received a Master of Laws from the University of Cape Town. As Project Manager of Faith and Community Initiatives at International Network of Religious Leaders Living with or Affected by HIV, Kenya Chapter, Liz is responsible for training and capacity building for rights holders and duty bearers, promoting community and faith sector participation in gender equality and HIV, ensuring access to treatment for PLHIV, online and media advocacy, facilitating legal aid and access to justice, stakeholder engagement, fundraising, research, and monitoring and evaluation. As Global South Justice Team at Social Movement Technologies, she is responsible for supporting movement organizations and individuals globally in organizing strategy, training, and campaign support to build progressive power in the digital age.
Additionally, Liz is a board member and Advisor to the International Network of Religious Leaders Living with or Affected by HIV, Kenya Chapter, volunteer and mentor at St Marian Children Centre, Nairobi, a Catholic rescue center which serves as a temporary shelter to children rescued from sexual and physical abuse, Writer at Ananke Magazine, Writer at Girls’ Globe Magazine, and Co-founder of Think Change Foundation.
What ignited your pursuit for gender equality?
In 2014, I took up an internship at a GBV Recovery Center in Nairobi. I worked closely with the psychologist to facilitate rescue, treatment, and psycho-social support for survivors. It was devastating to see the impact of GBV on physical and mental health. This sparked my interest in gender equality.
Please share your biggest wins as an advocate for gender equality.
Culture-based violence poses a big risk to the health and rights of women and girls. This entails the continuity of cultural practices that are harmful to women such as FGM, child marriage, and women disinheritance. Between 2017 and 2018, our organization implemented the Faith In Action to end Sexual Gender Based Violence in Narok County, identified as one of the Counties with the highest GBV prevalence in Kenya. The main challenge was that the practices were deeply rooted in the traditions and culture of the community. Upon mapping the problem, I worked closely with the traditional and community leaders who were responsible for shifting the norms in that particular society. I actively championed against SGBV and harmful cultural practices in the region by building the capacity of the community leaders and representatives from state actors. Specifically, I empowered the participants on human rights, gender equality, and child protection with a specific focus on understanding the harmful nature of such practices to the health and wellness of women and girls. Following the training, the leaders were able to identify the cases from the community, facilitate rescue, and expedite access to justice for survivors through the referral system and close collaboration with the county hospital, the childrens’ department, the police and the judiciary.
Outside of your gender equality advocacy work, what do you enjoy doing?
Reading, writing, traveling, cooking, and playing boardgames.
- English (Advanced/Native)
- Swahili (Advanced/Native)