Friends of Utah: Alice Maranga

Ms. Alice Mocheche Maranga is a Program Officer for the Women and Governance Team at the Federation of Women Lawyers. Ms. Maranga works on legislation and policy analysis, liaises with donors and international networks and coalitions, engages with the media, builds community-based networks, and mobilizes resources to address gender-based violence and other issues of importance to women. Ms. Maranga’s goal - to learn how various institutions such as governments, the legal system, service providers, and nonprofit organizations clearly outline their roles and work together - made her an ideal candidate for the Gender-Based Violence program, a program administered by FHI 360.

During her time in the U.S., Ms. Maranga reviewed best practices for preventing gender-based violence, examined education and outreach initiatives which focus on women’s legal rights, and discussed techniques to identify forms of gender-based abuse, report abuse, prosecute abusers, and provide assistance and protection to victims. Her experiences in Utah empowered Ms. Maranga to become more connected with her own community, organizing community engagement and volunteer activities and working to change local laws. According to Ms. Maranga, the practices she acquired in the U.S., including Gender-Based Violence documentation, referrals, and connections with other GBV organizations - is a “strategy quick in assisting survivors.”

Ms. Maranga’s group met with the Bureau of Forensic Services Laboratory System scientific staff where they learned forensic evidence protocol and the comprehensive forensic science training for Utah law enforcement and Bureau scientific staff to become court-qualified forensic experts and provide expert testimony in legal cases.

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Ms. Maranga visits the Bureau of Forensic Services.

Ms. Maranga also had the opportunity to meet with representatives at Utah Employers Against Domestic Violence South Valley Sanctuary where her group received a tour of the shelter and discussed their various domestic violence programs.

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Ms. Maranga visits the South Valley Sanctuary.

According to Ms. Maranga, the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic saw a dramatic increase in cases involving intimate partner violence and gender-based violence, including rape, incest, sexual harassment, child marriage, and female genital mutilation. The already troubling situation is complicated by Kenya’s status as a developing country, whereas “the survivor or target group could not be easily reached because most of the areas do not have internet [and] are not able to report and receive support because they could not afford credit or data”. Ms. Maranaga’s ability to continue her work in GBV advocacy and campaigns was further complicated by the move to a virtual setting at the beginning of Kenya’s mandatory quarantine. Yet, despite these challenges, Ms. Maranga continues to work tirelessly to advocate for the health and safety of women affected by GBV.

Of her many contributions, Ms. Maranaga has trained mentors on catalyzing new generation content to lobby against genital mutilation and child marriage during COVID-19 pandemic. Ms. Maranga shares, “I have been able to implement a project of issuing adolescent girls with dignity kits together with the office of County Commissioner of Kajiado. These projects will enhance the hygiene of girls and prevent them from being cheated by men who impregnated them in the process.” While the impact of COVID-19 changed her work, the pandemic has empowered Ms. Maranga to utilize her skills to make a difference and bring citizen diplomacy into her own community.