Gwaridi FEMSpace’s Stand for Young Muslim Women in Meru

In Meru County, Kenya, a remarkable group called Gwaridi FEMSpace shines as a beacon of strength under the YW4A programme. 

Comprising young Muslim women, this collective stands united to empower each other and confront the daunting challenges faced by girls in their community. Operating at the intersection of cultural norms and religious beliefs, Gwaridi FEMSpace addresses issues like forced early marriages, which often place young Muslim girls in vulnerable situations.

Gwaridi FEMSpace was born out of a collective realisation of the numerous challenges endured by young Muslim girls, particularly the prevalence of forced early marriages. In a community where skepticism towards girl child education persists, parents sometimes subject their daughters to unions with older men as third or fourth wives, exchanging them for livestock or food items. Determined to tackle these systemic issues, the young women of Gwaridi FEMSpace actively collaborate with local authorities to end these harmful practices within their community.

Photo: Gwaridi safe space gathered to learn and share insights from the RiseUp! Transformative Leadership Manual during one of their meetings.

Through their efforts, Gwaridi FEMSpace has already made a tangible impact. 

In a recent case, they intervened to rescue a young girl forced into marriage for economic reasons. Holding the perpetrators accountable, including the girl’s own mother and the elderly groom, who both were captured by the police, they ensured that the necessary steps were taken. They secured the girl’s safety by ensuring action was taken against the perpetrator. He was arrested, and the girl was taken back to school under the watch of the area sub-chief, who put an order to be notified if the child missed school attendance.

Committed to empowering both young Muslim women and their communities, Gwaridi FEMSpace is dedicated to challenging harmful traditions and facilitating positive change to end Gender Based Violence in Meru County.