• No products in the cart.
View Cart
Subtotal: £0.00


Episode 4: Fighting Against Injustice and Being a Mom, Serbia to Africa

Marija Markovic is a strong, outspoken and deeply empathetic advocate who embraces these roles as rigorously as those of wife and mother. In this episode of Fatima’s Hand, she brings 20 years of wisdom in democracy and governance in the context of democratic transitions to the conversation. Starting from the Balkans, Marija talks about her leadership in the student movement that played a critical role in mobilizing voters in the historical 2000 election in which Slobodan Milosevic was defeated at the polls – through massive street demonstrations against his bid to prolong a 13-year dictatorship.

Hear about how Marija took this experience and applied it to work across Africa and the Middle East. Her formative years spent as an activist in the Balkans made her more sensitive to conflict and the way political systems influence people on a cellular level. Through the Balkan Center for the Middle East she worked with civil society actors from the region on institutional transformation post Arab spring. As director of the offices of Freedom House and the International Republican Institute in Kenya, she has strong opinions about the difficulty of measuring improvements in democracy one quarterly report at a time.

In this episode Marija also shares her perspectives on feminism – rooted in justice. After being raised in a gender neutral household, it wasn’t until later in life that she was exposed to discrimination. She talks openly about her approach to bringing up a son who can see by example what gender equality means in the household, and the decisions she has made to prioritize family. Her hope for the future is that girls will learn not to be nice, be open to transforming themselves and pay it forward to other women. Her political wish for women in the US is that maternity rights develop more so that American women can pursue their purpose in life while having the support systems that enable them to focus on their families at the same time.

Episode 3: Peace, Conflict and Motherhood

Leah Kimathi is a professional peacemaker. She brings a depth of experience to the field and clarity of vision in how she utilizes the tools of conflict mitigation. Her on-the-ground know how, as well as her philosophical approach to the work, gives her a unique blend between practitioner and academic when it comes to healing divisions in society.

The conversation with Leah covers a great deal of ground – from the conditions of parts of Africa after the cold war and its influence on civic empowerment, to the spiritual side of peacemaking and what women need to do to gain more political power in society. Leah also opens up about the role of family in keeping her centered, the pressures she feels as a single mother, and the self-care needed to keep seeing the light in people.

We dive deep into the role of gender in peacemaking and talk about the methodology of interrupting violence. We discuss whether women are naturally better peacemakers and question the stereotypes surrounding this premise. A continually growing research base has now recognized the importance of women’s involvement in peace and security issues to achieving long lasting stability. This acknowledgment stems from the efforts by international organizations, national governments and civil society around the world to establish a women and peace security agenda, embodied in the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 which affirms that peace and security efforts are more sustainable when women are equal partners in the prevention of violent conflict, the delivery of relief and recovery efforts and in the forging of lasting peace.

Much like democracy, peace is a process, not a destination. Leah gives insights on the practitioner side of the field, unwinding the elements involved in this process, intertwined with the dynamics of gender and power. This is all communicated authentically with levity and wisdom, which is uniquely Leah — a woman who works everyday to make the world a less conflicted place.

Alternatively, listen to this podcast on Fatima’s Hand website.

Episode 2: Campaigns for Inclusion – In Advocacy and Life

In this episode of Fatima’s Hand, Carla Chianese gives insights about the nature of behavioral-based change campaigns – in work and life. This enriching and personal conversations covers a wide range of topics: how voter education is organized through grassroots campaigns, strategies for countering fake news, the impact of the #MeToo movement and what it’s like to raise a son in a racially blended family. Learn coping skills for deflecting harsh judgements put on the shoulders of mothers raising young children and what women can do to get more active and engaged in the business of change making.

Aussie born Carla is a changemaker and creative communicator. She is a civic engagement and strategic communications specialist with over 10 years’ experience in democracy education, advocacy campaigns and inclusion.

She has successfully designed and implemented nationwide public information and behavioral change campaigns covering political and social issues and has specialist knowledge in using opinion research to shape behavior change communications, creating inclusive and accessible messaging, intersectionality and designing complimentary offline and online campaigns.

Carla has spent the last six years in Kenya where she was appointed to government and civil society task forces, developed national outreach, public communications, rapid response and civic engagement programs and was appointed as the Director of the Nairobi Node of the Dialogue, Empathic Engagement and Peace Building (DEEP) Global Network. Most recently Carla has been working on creative engagement strategies around elections with Kenyan civil society and government institutions through the Kenyan office of the International Foundation for Electoral Assistance.

Follow Carla on Twitter

Listen to this Episode online

Episode 1: Running for Office in Kenya at Age 23

Suzanne Silantoi Lengewa is a trailblazer. Despite Kenya’s leadership in the region when it comes to women serving in political office they rank last out of all East African nations. Stepping up to run as a young woman in the largest city in Kenya — in a male dominated political culture nonetheless – takes a big dose of courage. Women who put their foot forward in politics face many obstacles – from sexist news coverage to having less access to resources to run their campaigns. The women who choose to move forward despite the unlevel playing field should be recognized and heard for their contribution to creating a more equal democracy around the globe.

The Global Picture

The World Economic Forum reports that the gender gap in politics is the biggest gap in existence, with 79% discrepancy between men and women in decision-making structures around the globe. Women having less access to resources to wage successful campaigns. They face the dual burden of balancing work and family, and rigid ideas about women’s capacity as mainly a caretaker perpetuates stereotypes among voters. In many places like Kenya, female candidates face a considerable number of security threats, including physical harm, intimidation and harassment, which deter women from taking part equally in the political process.

Nevertheless, when more women run for office, more women win. As a symbol of the growing recognition that women have more to offer in politics is Suzanne Silantoi Lengewa, a candidate at age 23. She is a communications professional who ran for office as Senator of Nairobi in the August 2017 election as an independent candidate. Until 2017, not one woman had been elected in Kenya’s history as a Senator. In an environment where the cards are stacked against women, stepping up to run for office as a female in East Africa is commendable.

Suzanne’s Campaign

Suzanne chose to run out of the desire to give young people – over half of Kenya’s population – more of a voice in Parliament.

“I know first-hand what it means to live in this country as a young person. I see hundreds of young people desperate for hope; the assurance that tomorrow will bring better fortunes than today and the desire to be who God made them to be. I heard of people who had changed their societies through the courage to step out. And it occurred to me that while I waited for the world to give me opportunities, the world itself waited for me to make a move. I was the change I had been waiting for.”

While Ms. Lengewa did not win her seat, she garnered nearly 30,000 votes on a grassroots campaign budget, establishing a solid social media following, and now serves as a more visible advocate for youth and women’s empowerment. And good news for Kenya, she’s decided she will run again!

Keep up with Suzanne to see where this woman is going in the world!
2017 Campaign Website

Listen to this Episode

Scroll to top