What inspires Anastacia to do the kind of job she does is her passion for gender equality. She hopes that harmful practices such as FGM will be a thing of the past.
Anastacia Mashidana is a Kenyan woman, born and raised in Kajiado county in Rombo Group ranch. She is an activist fighting to end Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and works with members of her community to ensure girls get a safe space to achieve their dreams. She is also a Chair Lady to the Enduet Women Group, comprised of 35 women dedicated to ending this harmful practice. Anastacia hopes that her women’s group can grow and expand to be able to start and run a rescue centre as many girls were affected during the pandemic. Through their advocacy work, she has arrested and taken seven people to court who were involved in FGM cases.
Anastacia’s work has been very impactful, touching the lives of over 200 girls. The REDD+ Project has provided bursaries to most of the children in Anastacia’s village and those directly supported by her. She has seen 24 girls in her village join institutions of higher learning successfully with others having meaningful careers. One of her first mentored girls is now a Lecturer at a Kenyan University with first-class honors. Anastacia alone takes care of 31 kids in her own home, some that are orphaned, others that have been rescued from FGM, and many who have had teenage pregnancies and been abandoned by their families.
“I participated in meetings when the REDD+ project was first introduced to us as a community, I was not quite sure about it at first, but now having seen what it does for us as community members, I can only advise our children and all youth that conservation is an important career to pursue in their studies. We need more conservationists as a community.”
The Enduet Women Group strives to empower themselves economically, to sustain their families and to help children in need in their community. They have 10 beehives that they can source honey from and sell to the markets and have dairy cows and goats that produce milk for sale. She mentioned that the ongoing drought in Kenya has however made things even harder for them.
What inspires Anastacia to do the kind of job she does is her passion for gender equality. She hopes that harmful practices such as FGM will be a thing of the past. She is keen to introduce alternative rites of passage that are not harmful to be accepted by both genders and especially by the elders in her community.