March 26, 2012

MEET THE CANDIDATE: Rev. Mary Ndinda Paul is lifting spirits in Machakos County

Reverend Mary Ndinda Paul
Candidate for County Representative
Wiper Democratic Movement (Former ODM – Kenya Party)
Machakos County 

Mary Paul’s energy is magnetic; the moment that you meet her, you feel like you’ve known her for many years.  Perhaps her energy is derived from her spiritual convictions as a reverend, or her sisterly embrace as an avid advocate of climate change and disaster risk reduction and women’s issues in Kenya as a national leader with many diverse roles, including the Secretary of Women’s Affairs for the Wiper Democratic Movement.  

In 2012, Mary is embracing the opportunity to run for County Representative in Ndithini Ward in Machakos County----a dream that may have taken her most of her career to fulfill.   

Mary was inspired to engage in politics during her childhood by her Aunt who was a politician and she supported her Aunt’s political campaigns by preparing meals for her supporters. She spent the early portion of her career studying counseling at the university level, working in the Ministry of Planning and later serving as a reverend.  Mary discovered renewed enlightenment in her faith-based work and soon returned to Ndithini Ward in Machakos County to reach out and help marginalized members of the community. 

In 2008, she founded an organization named Kyeni Kya Ndithini  (meaning  The Light of Ndithini Village) in Masinga Constituency – Machakos County.  She has since created self-help groups for people with HIV/AIDS, people living with disabilities (PLWD’s), widows, youths and groups that are working on climate change and disaster risk reduction.  Additionally, she has established training programs on entrepreneurship that are supporting the economic independence and autonomy of widowed women and young adults in Machakos County.   Mary believes that “faith in God brings about good change”, and whether by her own faith or a combination of factors including her unfettered will and commitment to making life better for her community, the imprint of her work is clearly evident through the respect that people show her.

On the day that I join Mary on a community visit in Ndithini Ward in Masinga Constituency – Machakos County, we journey away from the urban buzz of Nairobi by highway, moving through the suburbs and into a landscape marked by diverse agricultural production; from rose farms in hoop houses to fields of pineapple that Delmonte Farm will harvest when in season.  As the air seems cooler in the hills, we see cabbages, carrots and a multitude of fresh produce when we stop at a market in Kenol Town to gather a trunk load of food for delivery to the Children’s Home for orphans at Mananja.   

By the time we arrive for our first official stop, a large group of young motorcycle drivers had already gathered at a busy intersection Tumu Tumu stage along Thika Road in anticipation of Mary’s visit.  Although courting motorcycle drivers may seem unusual to politicians in the West, in Kenya, “bodaboda” drivers are an important demographic of young male voters, and also a group of constituents that are eager to listen and be heard by the community.  

Mary is popular among the group for her work to provide loans to young people who are interested in starting their own motorbike (Bodaboda) business, as well as for advocating for free or reduced cost helmets and gear that could reduce health problems attributed to prolonged dust exposure and casualties caused by roadside accidents.  Through her outreach to this demographic, Mary has not only gained popularity in her constituency, but also found a unique channel for promoting women’s issues.  As the group of motorbike operators circle around Mary to hear her speak, they vigilantly listen to her words and clamor to receive copies of brochure on the rights allocated to women in the new Kenyan constitution. Despite the many cultural obstacles that I witnessed during my visit, I was infused with a sense of optimism when I saw this group of young men embrace the principles of gender equality.  As we departed for our next stop on our community visit, the riders show their camaraderie with Mary by creating a caravan of motorcycles that escort her via motorbike to the next stop of our community visit.   

If you have ever walked down a red carpet or escorted royalty through a shouting crowd, you can understand the emotions that overcame me as I ushered Mary Paul to the Tumu Tumu Women’s Group; adorned in their best traditional garb, the women greeted their local hero with song and dance, as they wrapped her with a shawl and moved closer to her.  According to local tradition, this type of greeting is a sign of pride and for Mary, a warm embrace of her leadership and an endorsement of her future aspirations for political office.  
In part due to Mary Paul’s seed money, the participants involved in the Tumu Tumu Women’s Group have been able to create a successful goat raising program that is allowing the women to generate funds to support themselves and pay for school fees for their children.  In the near future the group would like to take the income they are generating to purchase cattle and poultry keeping- which would bring a healthy income to their families.  With new found leadership skills, the women are working together to address their challenges.

Our day does not end without a stop visit to an agriculture site at Kasuvilo along Masinga Dam where local youths are cultivating corn, watermelons, pawpaw, and tomatoes for a market program---one of many such training programs that are investing in the potential of youths by taking advantage of the local dam (Masinga Dam), by buying water pumps for their agricultural projects. 
Supporting children who are orphans are also important to Mary, who regularly donates food and volunteer services to children's homes in Ndithini Ward in Machakos County.  We had a stopover at Ndovoini Children’s Home, athough the orphans were at the homes of the local students as it was a school holiday.  We delivered at least a dozen cabbages, baskets of bread, boxes of cookies and other food to the orphanage.  To see the condition of the beds, wheelchairs and rooms the children live in would cause frustration among anyone who cares about children, and perhaps this is one of the reason that Mary is so invested in making the lives of these youth better---even if only a little bit at a time.
In a perfect finish to our day, we visited the 7 Sisters Women’s Group, a collective of widows who generate income to support themselves from a nursery and tree planting program; Mary is focused on  empowering women and educating the community on climate change and disaster risk reduction.  As seen during our visit with several other groups which she has organized, her positive energy seems to resonate in the women and youth who are uniting themselves together to create opportunities that may seem impossible to achieve as individuals.  Due to the many challenges  for women and youth in the Ndithini Ward in Masinga Constituency , Mary has established a training center in Machakos County.

Seeing Mary’s work in action is much better evidence of her potential to win a seat in the County as the County’s first Woman Representative 2012 than any written words can show.  Through her involvement in political training and mentoring programs, including the Women’s Democracy Network (WDN-Kenya), she has built a network of support with other women leaders and political aspirants from across Kenya.  As a women of “heart” and humility in the Kenyan Politics, I have no doubt that more positive work would happen to improve human rights and economic opportunities for the people of Kenya.
1.) Climate Change and |Disaster Risk Reduction  
2.)  Improving Infrastructure 
3.) Increasing Attention to Health Issues
4.) Empowering Women and Youth
5.) Providing Support to Orphans  
1.) “If you have a dream, bring it to reality”
2.) Doors will open up despite your age.
3.) “Wake up, shout out and share your dreams to inspire others”

March 15, 2012

MEET THE CANDIDATE: Ms. Emmaculate Musya is Organizing the Women of Kibera

Ms. Emmaculate Mbengwa Musya
Women County Representative
Nairobi County, Kenya
Orange Democratic Party (ODM)

Home is what one makes of it, and home to Emmaculate Musya is the hillsides of the Kibera informal settlement.  As an entrepreneur and community leader, home is not just the small one-room space that serves as her family’s bedroom, kitchen, and a community meeting space for local women, but also the many small hotels, restaurants, beauty salons, and other businesses of Kibera that weave themselves throughout the community and along the railroad tracks that define it.

Through her own hard struggles in early life, Emmaculate learned much about how to multiply the little resources one may have into bountiful dividends. Unlike some leaders who only “talk the talk”, Emmaculate “walks the walk” and has results to show for her creative entrepreneurial empowerment efforts.  With the original objective of paying school fees for her children, she started a Chalma for women to collectively pool their resources together.  Although a few shillings a day from a handful of individuals may not seem like much, when 1600 slum women scrimped and saved their spare change, they fundraised through hamrambee (the Kenyan version of putting money in a basket or hat) three million shillings.  When divided up among each other, the money was used not only to pay for school fees, but also to help cover start up costs for small businesses----creating a sustainable legacy.

As the elected chair of the Slum Women’s Voice----a constituency of over 10,000 women from various clusters in the slums of Kibera and across Nairobi, Emmaculate has been a formidable figure in mobilizing poor grassroots women to make their voices heard and listened to.  Emmaculate’s organizing skills are impressive, and on the day of our interview she was making phone calls and texting her network of women leaders asking them to engage other activists for an impromptu action of media inundation via mobile phone call-ins on the day that the viability of women’s representation as stated in the new Constitution was to be questioned on parliament floor; the success of her mobilization was visible less than 24-hours later through the tremendous coverage that the topic received on morning radio and tv shows. 

Emmaculate believes that one doesn’t just become a great leader, but must taught to be a good leader and given the opportunity to lead.  She has encouraged leadership by establishing organizations such as the Forum for Women that convenes small groups of about 20 women to practice leadership and plan out strategies for civic engagement.  These small gatherings have not only allowed women the chance to “be present” in decision making, but have also created economic opportunities.  The group that was hosting the meeting I attended during Emmaculate’s community visit had bought a piece of land, created a community space and have generated a consistent source of income generation by renting the space to leaders and groups that need a venue for meetings and other gatherings.  Finding secure and safe locations for people to meet in the informal settlements is challenging, but by creating a much-needed commodity, the women are profiting.

As 54% of the Kibera population, women are the largest demographic and a powerful voice in politics when they run for office and vote for candidates. Emmaculate and organizations including Slum Women’s Voice have provided organizing trainings for women, who now nominate other women to run for office and coordinate election outreach in over eight slum communities in Nairobi.  In fact, in 2007, with the encouragement of her peers, Emmaculate ran for a Council leadership position.   Despite a very strong door-to-door campaign, Emmaculate faced unforeseen roadblocks as she challenged the corrupt Kenyan elections culture of vote buying and seat appointments to friends.  Male politicians felt particularly threatened by the powerful influence she was building in the community and showed resentment that a women could potentially “steal” away their powerful seats in office. In one attempt to deter Emmaculate from completing her campaign, she was lured into the tight confines of a local salon, where she faced interrogation from men who were armed with machetes and knifes.  Not only did they steal all of the money she had, but the men also stripped her naked and threatened to rape her.  Her resolve and fearlessness scared the men from perpetrating her or any others with her, but the experience left an indelible mark on Emmaculate.  It is quite unfortunate that Emmaulate’s campaign challenges in 2007 were not unique; many women candidates from across Kenya faced resistance to their campaigns and even violence during their candidacies.

In the years that followed the 2007 elections Emmaculate and other women activists have benefited from the opportunities set forth in the new constitution and have been teaching other women to refuse a candidate at their door if they are not open to supporting issues that impact women and families.  In 2012, Emmaculate is running for Women County Representative in Nairobi County, and is confident in her opportunity for success.  Actively involved in the leadership of the ODM party, and organized financially, she is equipped to win her race this year.  Her passion for bringing positive change to her community is evident in the strength of her voice as she commands a room of women leaders with great respect.  If she continues to educate her legions of on-the-ground grassroots women with the message that “ your vote is your right.  Your vote is your life, “  2012 could be an exciting year for not only Emmaculate, but also all of the women of Kibera who can take pride in having genuine voice and representation in the national Kenyan Parliament.

1.) Take advantage of opportunities for education
2.) You can be anyone
3.) Our Position is where we are…..come out with other women and let your voice be heard.

February 1, 2012

MEET THE CANDIDATE: Ms. Agnetta Nyalita wants to be elected to office in Makueni County in 2012, President of Kenya one day

Ms. Agnetta Mumo Nyalita
Makueni County

To have deep community roots and the wisdom to soar highly like an eagle are attributes that one generally associates with a wise soothsayer who has lived life for many years.  When you meet someone who embodies this sense of uninhibited confidence and vision for the future, you are inspired to join them in their journey, and I saw such characteristics in Ms. Agnetta Nyalita.

From the moment that you meet Agnetta, you realize that she is not a typical 25-year old.  Her sense of responsibility to Kenya is so great, that if every elected official in Kenya adopted just 1/10th of her commitment and determination to making the country empowered, the whole of Kenya would be obliterated of the economic and social inequities that currently hinder its progress. Although she is young, she has not hesitated from defying the “impossible”.  She sees a Makueni county that uses innovation to make water accessible to every resident year-round, a community that gives every youth the opportunities they deserve to be educated to their greatest capacity and employed gainfully, and a place where women and young people are not only local political, economic & social leaders, but also regional and national representatives.  She is not just envisioning change, but embodying it by running for office in Makueni County in the coming elections.  As an ambitious and focused change maker, her words carry tremendous credibility.

As the last child in a family of ten children, Agnetta has always exceeded expectations,  and creatively embraced leadership opportunities in her early career.  While completing a Bachelor of Commerce degree in Management Science in just two years and eight months at the University of Nairobi, she served as a student representative and a Volunteer Projects Administrator of the National Volunteer Network Trust (NAVNET).  Upon graduation, she continued working with NAVNET as a Programmes Administrator, and further pursued her interests in youth empowerment and economic development by founding the Itaava Development Youth Group, an organization dedicated to tackling food poverty by mentoring unemployed and youth susceptible to drug-addiction with opportunities to contribute to their communities economically.  With a passion for connecting with local youth and the larger international community, Agnetta is a prolific user of social media and the author of the Hands on Africa blog. Her networking and writing skills have given rise to her involvement as a coordinator and correspondent for the International Association of Volunteer Effort (IAVE) and NOPE Kenya & Shabaa Youth Leadership Movement, where she regularly organizes peer education sessions in person and on the radio.  In 2011, her distinctive contributions to youth engagement were honored with The International Women's Day Top Service Award. Although her list of leadership accomplishments and international awards may outnumber those of some Members of Paliament, it does not change Agnetta’s sense of humility, nor hinder her ability to realize that real impact is not about what she does, but who she empowers and how many young people she can catalyze to action. 

During my community visit to Makueni County, we ride into a landscape that evokes images of what a dust bowl might look like.  Every living thing, from the thickets and sparse vegetation on the roadside to the unfettered motorcycle riders, are covered in a residual coating of powdery red earth.  We drive across at least five dried out streams, and the only water in site seems to be pumped from underground and out through spickets at several public water stations where women wait in line to fill their jerry cans.  This is Makueni County, a geographic pocket in eastern Kenya that seems more like the deserts hundreds of miles away in Northeastern Kenya, than like the lush landscape of the hills of the Central Valley, neighboring the area just an hour or two to the north.

I am not the first outsider, nor the last one that Agnetta will introduce to her community.  As I observe the small rocky hills of the Makueni landscape and ask if they are utilized for hiking or recreation, she smiles, and quickly replies back that it was a resource she never thought about until a friend from Europe asked if he could go rock climbing on them during a recent visit. From this insight, Agnetta grew a vision for creating innovative tourism initiatives that could generate jobs, increase revenue for roads and infrastructure, and bring diverse opportunities for local residents, who are struggling to survive in agrarian lifestyles. Agnetta frequently invites outsiders from other parts of Kenya and the globe to her home, because they may see things that she could not see by herself.  In fact, during my community visit we are joined by an entire entourage of youth volunteers from the Itaava Development Youth Group, a NGO volunteer from Australia, several donors, and a staff member of the Kianda Foundation--- an educational trust that awarded Agnetta and her family an social innovation award for building the first library and community resource center in Makueni County.

You do not have to search very far to see the tangible impacts that Agnetta has already made in Makueni County and in Kenya. When termites and weather caused the ceilings of multiple classrooms at the Itaava Primary School to cave in, Agnetta responded to the unfortunate tragedy by convincing a contact that she had met via an international event to donate a painting to be auctioned off to generate funds for repair work. Her gratitude for the education she received motivates her to ensure that every child in forthcoming generations is as fortunate as she was.  Improving local school infrastructures, as well as guiding their curriculums is not only important to her, but also to the entire Nyalita family.  As both of Agnetta’s parents were primary school teachers, all of their children completed University studies.  As educational opportunities in Makueni County have not improved significantly from what was available during her childhood, Agnetta recently convinced her siblings and her parents to contribute funds to start the Partnership for Growth Foundation –an NGO that established in 2011 to promote access to quality education, healthcare, food security, safe water and environment conservation to the most needy in rural areas. In the fall of 2011, the family opened a Community Resource Center that serves not only as a library with classic literature, daily newspapers, and educational resources for adults, but also as a community center that hosts monthly movie showings about creative international development approaches, and after-school reading rooms for local youth.  As the Community Resource Center is not located in an area with electricity, the center uses solar energy to provide basic power needs to the center. With funding from the Kianda Foundation, the Nyalita family has staffed the center with one full-time officer and two assistants, and plans to acquire computers that would give local residents access to the web.

With strong roots in the community and extensive involvement in the NARC-KENYA party, Agnetta is well prepared to run for office in Makueni County.  Although she did not always imagine herself participating in politics, she realized it was “...her time to rise  up to the occasion” in 2007 when she noticed the lack of elected youth leadership in Makueni County and across Kenya. With mentorship and political training through the Young Women’s Leadership Institute and FIDA Kenya (Federation of Women Lawyers), she now envisions herself serving as Kenya’s President in ten to fifteeen years.  If her previous accomplishments are any measure of her impending success, I have no doubt in my mind that this determined young woman will find a way to achieve her dream.  Watch out world, this young eagle is growing her feathers through experience and will be flying out front as a national leadership icon soon.

1.) Food Poverty
-Makueni County is fertile, but most farmers cannot produce food from their land
-Consequentially, Makueni County receives food from relief funds twice a year
-More funding for youth organic farming initiatives could solve much food insecurity over the long term
2.) Water Access
-Extreme drought occurs during some seasons
-Access to water is frequently determined by where leaders can get vote
3.) Education
-High performing students in Makueni County have no money to attend National Schools
-Limited educational resources in the community---Partnership for Growth Foundation’s Community Center will be the first in the county

1.) Don’t discredit your vision, but remember that “Vision without action is hallucination”
2.) Be socially responsible to having an impact on the world
3.) Being educated is just the beginning of being learned

January 27, 2012

The Network of Young Women Leaders is asking young Kenyan women to “Answer the Call to Lead”

Gathered at a quiet retreat center that is nestled in a residential area of Nairobi, Kenya a group of over 25 young women leaders gather for the “Answer the Call to Lead: Public Leadership Training”, a program that may change these young women’s lives and give them the skills and motivation they need to engage Kenyan policymakers on issues of legislation, and perhaps to one day run for office themselves.

The Answer the Call training was created and coordinated by The Network of Young Women Leaders (NoYWL)-----a non profit organization committed to advancing young women to take on recognized leadership and decision-making roles through public leadership training programs.  Founded in 2011, The Network of Young Women Leaders is the vision of Ms. Kinya Mururu, a young Kenyan who has managed political campaigns for women internationally, as well as been an advisor to and supporter of many organizations that are working to for women’s political equity.  As the youngest board member for Running Start, a US based nonprofit that trains and inspires high school and college women to actively pursue public leadership opportunities, Kinya witnessed the importance of “planting the seed early to encourage women to run,” and was motivated to create a similar program in Kenya.  Unlike many existing women’s political training organizations that operate in Kenya and East Africa, the Network of Young Women Leaders focuses primarily on equipping students and younger women with the various tools they need to participate in policy making---whether as a elected public officials, or in equally important supporting roles as civic leaders, business leaders and campaign contributors.

Coordinating the inaugural NoYWL’s training in the Fall of 2011was not an easy feat, but Kinya and a small network of program supporters were able to secure donations from local vendors, as well as volunteered time from talented community leaders and experts that represented both public and private sector, academia and business.  Over the course of three weekends, the Answer the Call training explored the history of public leadership in Kenya, the implications of the new Constitution, campaign management, as well as leadership building and communications skills.  The program combined classroom style dialogues lead by professionals who shared their firsthand experience with interactive leadership exercises that helped the young women find their individual voices. Based on the initial reactions of the women in attendance, the training had not only given the participants a solid foundation of public leadership skills, but also a new network of peers to turn to for support.

Planning for subsequent trainings in 2012 is underway, and many women involved in the first Answer the Call Training have met for a reunion in Nairobi to share updates and inspiration, as well as support the women in the group who are managing campaigns and running for office in 2012.  The NoYWL will be launching their new website, along with programming for this year very soon.  If you’re a young women interested in getting involved in the NoYWL, or a donor who would like to help bring future trainings and programming to fruition, please follow the organization on facebook at or by sending an email to

December 6, 2011

MEET THE CANDIDATE: Beatrice Karore is Inspiring the Women of Starehe to Dream Bigger

Ms. Beatrice Karore Amathi
Candidate for Civic Seat in the County Assembly
Starehe Constituency
Nairobi County

Ms. Beatrice Karore stands with great pride as she gestures across a sea of tin roofs from a hilltop on the far edge of her home village of Mathare.  Although the landscape of tv antennas, clotheslines, and homes of earth & tin sheets in Mathare may not be like the glass and concrete high rises of Nairobi’s business center, like the ocean floor, this informal settlement (more commonly referred to as a slum) of nearly ½ million residents is much more complex and vibrant when one explores what flourishes below the surface.

As we weave our way down into the Mathere Valley, a community of ten distinctive villages defined by tribal origins, Beatrice navigates her way through a maze of small pathways teeming with trash and water runoff. We cross one of only three footbridges that connect the villages together across the Mathere River, as children play and women wait in line with yellow plastic jerry cans to collect water for their homes. At every turn we make, Beatrice encounters familiar faces that are eager to greet her and to share the latest news and community concerns with her.

As I quickly observe, the community has many unique challenges: landlessness, lack of access to clean drinking water & electricity, high youth unemployment, security concerns and higher than normal rates of poverty. During the 35 years that Beatrice has lived and raised her family in Mathere, she has not only experienced many of these challenges, but also found windows of opportunity to overcome them through leadership.

As a recognized leader within the Bunge La Wamama (or Women’s Parliament), Beatrice has empowered local women to stand up for themselves and to think collectively about coming up with solutions to the problems around them.  As a group of about 25 women gather with Beatrice for a meeting to discuss how to recruit women leaders to run for office in 2012, they sip tea and highlight the achievements that women leaders have made so far. A newly opened community resource center has consolidated services to make resources like childcare, health services, and the internet available in one place.  The new resource center also includes a laundry farm and safe baby care service for working mothers; both of these programs have created economic opportunities for underemployed women.  As the meeting comes to a close, the group expresses their excitement for her candidacy for a civic seat on the Nairobi County Assembly by eagerly giving her their names and mobile numbers so that she can mobilize them as members of her campaign team.

Her desire to create positive changes in Kenya may be rooted in the unfortunate injustices and inequity that have and continue to be perpetuated in her community. In the aftermath of the 2007 elections, many vigilante groups and the Mungiki incited violence with police authorities that resulted in widespread destruction of many homes and businesses as well as the killing of 22 men and boys along Biashira Street, a main business corridor that sits at the heart of the community.  In appearance only, you would not detect that such crimes have taken place, but for the mothers and wives who were left widowed by these killings, their struggle to support their families is a constant reminder of an irreplaceable loss in their lives. 

Many widowed women in the Mathere settlement earn their livings as casual workers--day laborers who are hired to wash clothes, clean homes, and sometimes even to prepare dead bodies for funerals by wealthier dwellers in neighboring communities.  A day’s wage for such work may be as little as 100 ksh(about $1.12), and frequently women are denied promised pay and may encounter sexual and physical harassment by clients.  Sexual and physical violations of women are often ignored by local authorities, and Beatrice has worked with the Mathere Gender Defenders to create a safe space for women to find help in the face of adversity--whether legal, financial, medical or emotional support. In her leadership role within the Bunge La Wamama, she has been able to impact great change in her local community.  She is helping casual workers apply for economic development grants for starting their own businesses, as well as working to empower the women to “talk for themselves” by forming women-run union in the slums. 

Beatrice is poised and ready to take her leadership to the next level as a representative to the Nairobi County Assembly.  As the recently elected coordinator for the Bunge La Mwananchi (the People’s Parliament), she has already been planting roots in important grassroots networks, as well as establishing herself as a leader who is capable of creatively solving even greater challenges.  Although there are many male leaders who will vie for the role of the Starehe Civic Seat, as a mother of young children and a venerated community organizer, Beatrice is able to build the trust of women---a key demographic that if educated and mobilized can help her win the election.  She may not have piles of cash at her disposal, but her genuine commitment to empowering her Kenyan sisters and her trustworthiness are attributes that make her a rising star in Nairobi politics.  Her strength may be the catalyst for inspiring other women in the Mathere slums to dream bigger than their imaginations allow.

1.) Land Ownership for the People of Mathare
2.) Elevating the Community out of Poverty & Improve the Economic Potential of Women
-Bring more opportunities for youth and women businesses
-Increase access to education
-Bring electricity to community to improve security and safety
3.) Empower Women to take Leadership
-Organize Trainings
-Collect data on issues affecting the community
-Build resource centers

1.) Love Each Other: Recognize the Potential of Young Women
-Find mentor(s) that encourage you to leadership
-Bring strong women to politics that “have what it takes to win”
2.) Network Together
-Create bridges across class and backgrounds
-Problem solve together
-Create round tables for raising funds
-Build support systems that foster each others’ strengths
3.) Empower Women Against Exploitation
-Help women stop rape, gender based violence, pay inequity, etc.
4.) VOTE for Women