Category Page: NCHRD News

Feeling too young to Defend Human Rights?

A story of  Salma Abdulatif

Salma is a 23-year-old lady raised in Mombasa County who is currently pursuing her degree in Business Management (Maritime Option) at the Moi University, Eldoret Campus. She started her human rights work in 2015 and is also the founder and president of Motivational Talks for Youth Organization (MTY); a community based organization that focuses on youth empowerment and community outreach activities.

Passionate about a developing and leadership-oriented Mombasa, Salma designed an empowerment program under her organization, Motivational Talks for Youth that focuses on leadership, innovation, entrepreneurship, community development/mentorship and talent nurturing. Through her initiative; she has by now impacted 3,033 youth of Mombasa County by providing them with mentorship, motivation, and empowerment to allow them revive their dreams and aspirations. She has to date mentored 687 youth of Mombasa County. As a result, she has been awarded a number of accolades.

Despite her successes, she has also experienced challenges notably limited financial resources to sustain her human rights work which she has tried to address through proposals for assistance to sponsors and even organized fundraising campaigns. Their hard work bore fruits and they now have 5 partners and 502 members.

Salma’s vision is to create her own innovation hub where youth can come together to creatively tackle complex problems, nurture their talents, take courses to and skills, build on their ideas and start pitching their start-ups to investors, formulate new strategies that will favor youth empowerment and ensure a significant reduction in drug abuse, early marriages, gang groups, violent extremism, drop out cases and unambitious and demotivated youth.

“The world will not remember how much money you had, the world will remember how you changed and touched their lives,” Salma Abdulatif



“Violation of one’s right threatens personal safety and peace. Therefore, if we are unable to prevent human rights violation then we should ensure that justice prevails,” Charles Omwanro, HRD

Charles is a Human Rights Defender who champions for the rights of women and children with a focus on prevention and response to gender based violence. His human rights work started in 2003 when he became a volunteer with Gender and Development Centre as a project assistant addressing the escalating gender based violence within the flower farms. It is within the period that some farms founded gender committees and others went further to develop work based Gender policies.

Charles Omwanro (left) receives a nomination certificate for HRD of the year Award 2017 from NCHRD-K Board Member Ahmed Shire and Selection Panel Member Lorna Dias

n 2008 Charles and his colleagues spearheaded “Yes We can”, A campaign that recruited over 4,000 people to be agitators of ending all forms of violence against women (VAW) in Naivasha. In 2010 he and his colleagues founded Young Men Champions in Ending Gender based violence (YMCEG) a community based organization that has influenced a substantial number of young men to join in the fight to end all forms of violence on women and children, enabling victims/survivors to access the required services and access to justice. As a paralegal, he has worked on over 80 cases since 2014. Through his work, he has been identified by media houses to assist them in highlighting some of the violation stories. He was featured in “Dangerous flowers” a documentary by Mohamed Khamis that highlighted the plights of women in the cut flower industry.

In his work, the biggest challenge is having insufficient finances to address the needs of the survivors and the cost of operations, which he has tried to address through linkages with organisations that work within the same scope of work like FIDA- Kenya, Women Empowerment Link, CEDGG, PEACENET, Legal Resource Foundation, National Coalition on Human Rights Defenders and the local Human Rights Organizations who have supported Charles financially or technically.

Nominate someone for HRD Awards 2018 here:




HRD of the Year 2016 Winner, Rahma Wako

A personal message to all HRDs.

This is my story since I received the award;

I have had a number of positive experiences. Some of the most memorable are: further recognition of my contribution to human rights by the Mathare Social Justice Centre which offered me an employment opportunity. I am now the Assistant Administrative Coordinator and earn a salary at the end of the month that sustains me and my family.

I have also received recognition from my Borana Community, which was initially against my human rights work as it went against culture. In fact, after I won the award, the community organised a party to celebrate my success both at Kiamaiko, in Nairobi and back home in Marsabit County where they appointed me as the coordinator of Borana Community women in Kenya. In addition, a number of media houses have interviewed me about my work since then and Peace Brigades International (PBI) have done a biography on me and broadcasted it worldwide.

Being recognized through the HRD of the year award has put me in the lime light and people are now more interested in associating with me and the human rights work that I am carrying out. Initially the Borana community, to which I belong was against the human rights work that I do but now welcome my efforts and support my work. UN women have also accorded me full membership status and they consult with me from time to time on issues affecting girls and women in the slums as well as opportunities for new partnerships. Though I am not well educated, the UN Women has given me opportunities to share my experiences which I do using a translator. The monetary reward enabled me to pay school fees for my son who is in high school. He had stayed home for some time due to lack of fees as I could not manage to raise the required funds.

The respect I commanded from the community after winning the award increased and the human rights work I do has received massive support form the community which acts as a deterrent security measure. The community members will call me to check on my safety and where I am and they also have volunteers who accompany me from time to time as I do my work. The Netherlands Embassy has been calling me to check on my status and give me security tips based on the current happenings.

The positive recognition also came with an element of increased risk after winning the award. The perception by the community about the award was that it had a huge monetary reward. So the young men in the area, being an informal settlement, could tease me and even tell me to move out as I was no longer in their class. To mitigate against further risk to me and my family I organised a community party for my immediate neighbours and the young men in the area where I described the award, the amount of money I received and how I intended to use the money.

To the HRDs in Kenya, always remember that being a HRD is a calling and not a profession. You perfect your calling first and think about professionalizing it later. A HRD should aspire to be honest, fair, patient, loving, uphold justice and maintain integrity at all times…a reward will come your way one day. Since human security is not 100% guaranteed, HRDs should trust in God to protect them always. With this in mind, they will go far.

Nominate Someone for HRD Award 2018!

Yours Truly,                 

 Mama Rahma Wako, Winner, Inaugural HRD of the Year Award



Civic space in Kenya continues to be under pressure as a range of actions are being directed against the work of Human Rights Defenders (HRD) and Civil Society organizations in Kenya. Physical attacks, criminal and administrative actions, legislative restrictions, negative rhetoric and limitation of human rights have undermined the Constitutional and international protections available to HRDs.

It is against this backdrop that the Working Group on Human Rights Defenders in Kenya, which brings together CSOs and development partners concerned with the protection of HRDs, is organizing the third edition of the HRD Awards on the 30th of November 2018. The aim of the ceremony is to honour and publicly recognize the important work of HRDs in Kenya, by giving out awards to men and women who have demonstrated courage and impact in the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms. The awards are presented in three categories: the Munir Mazrui Lifetime achievement award, the Human Rights Defender of the year award and the upcoming Human Rights Defender of the year award.


The objectives of these awards are to:

  1. Honour the extraordinary work of HRDs in the promotion and protection of human rights;
  2. Profile the work of HRDs and challenges they face as agents of social change and transformation;
  3. Recognise and appreciate the human rights work of young and upcoming HRDs in Kenya and support talent;
  4. Enhance the safety and protection of all HRDs in Kenya.


  • Nomination:

The Working Group on Human Rights Defenders in Kenya develops a call for nominations which is then widely circulated by the National Coalition of Human Rights Defenders-Kenya (NCHRD-K) and other partners. This call outlines the criteria for eligibility for nomination.

  • Shortlisting:

A panel then shortlists five individuals per category within the set out guidelines for shortlisting candidates.

  • Verification:

The panel verifies the HRDs human rights work through field visits, and interviews with the nominators, the nominees and their references.

  • Selection:

The Independent Selection Panel, which comprises of eminent individuals in the human rights sector, will decide who will receive the awards based on the profiles of the nominated HRDs.

  • Award ceremony:

Will be held on the 30th November 2018 in the presence of CSOs, the government, selected HRDs, representatives from the international missions, and the media who will cover the event.


The following will be taken into consideration:

  • Grassroots based HRD
  • Demonstrable impact of the HRDs human rights work in the community
  • The role of the HRD in promoting human rights
  • ‘Civil courage’ of the HRD in his/her human rights work
  • Demonstrated leadership, innovation and creativity in his/her human rights work
  • Contribution to the development of a human rights based approach within his/her county in regards to the thematic area of focus
  • Future goals and likely impact
  • Degree of difficulty of the achievement and sacrifices made
  • Visibility derived from award to enhance the capacity of the HRD to promote human rights and active citizenship
  • The HRD should have a link to the community and his/her work should have built or should be working towards building a movement.
  • The HRD should be a seasoned or upcoming HRD.


  • Three awards will be presented to the overall winners : the Munir Mazrui lifetime achievement award, the HRD of the year award and the upcoming HRD award.

The winners will receive:

  • A cash award of $ 1,000
  • A plaque with the HRDs name on it
  • And will be guests at the 2019 HRD award ceremony

All nomination forms should be sent back to the NCHRD-K via with a clear subject line “HRD AWARD NOMINATION” by 20th July 2018, 12.00 pm.

Get the application form here:NOMINATION FORM FOR THE HRD AWARDS 2018



The National Coalition of Human Rights Defenders–Kenya (NCHRD-K) is a national organization incorporated in the Republic of Kenya as a Trust. Its mission is to strengthen the capacity of human rights defenders (HRDs) to work effectively in the country and to reduce their vulnerability to the risk of persecution, through protection, capacity building, and advocacy for a favourable legal and policy environment. Established in 2007, NCHRD-K is the only national organisation that works primarily for the protection of HRDs.

To compliment the work of the three programmes within the organisation, the NCHRD-K seeks to recruit suitable candidates for the position of Programmes Intern. Reporting to the Programmes Officer assigned, the Programmes Intern will be responsible for:

  1. Actively participating in the implementation of the NCHRD-K activities under the direction and supervision of the Programme Officers.
  2. Conducting research in the various NCHRD-K’s programme areas
  3. Assisting in logistical planning for meetings and trainings
  4. Assisting in communication of the NCHRD-K to partners via various platforms
  5. Representing NCHRD-K in meetings and partner activities
  6. Preparing timely reports as per stated guidelines
  7. Monitoring and documenting cases or incidences of violations of human rights


  8. Undertake case assessments for clients under the Protection Programme
  9. Assisting in administrative functions as will be assigned
  10. Participating in fundraising efforts together with programme staff. 11.Any other relevant duty as may be assigned by the supervisor


  •   Hold a Bachelor’s degree in relevant Social Sciences from a recognized University
  •   Demonstrate commitment to and interest in human rights and human rights defenders issues/work.
  •   High analytical skills and ability to conduct research
  •   Demonstrate understanding of national, regional and international framework

    for the protection of HRDs

  •   Demonstrated knowledge and experience in designing and executing communication interventions on governance and human rights issues
  •   Hands on experience in IT skills including working with website updates and social media
  •   Ability to draft documents including reports, policy briefs, concept notes
  •   Excellent communication and organizational skills: verbal, writing and

    presentation skills;

    The Applicant should possess the following attributes:

  •   Strong attention to detail
  •   Proactive problem-solving skills
  •   Self-motivationand ability to work independently, in a team and under


  •   Commitment to diversity
  •   Ability to be a team player

    Duration of internship:

    The engagement shall be for a period of three (3) months with possibility of extension.


    NCHRD-K will provide a stipend for the duration of the internship.

    Application deadline:

    The application deadline is 30th April 2018

    How to apply:

    If you would like to be considered please email your CV including three (3) contacts of referees and a brief covering letter highlighting your key skills and your availability to indicating on the subject line “APPLICATION FOR INTERNSHIP”

    Cover letter should be addressed to:

    The Secretariat
    National Coalition of Human Rights Defenders of Kenya (NCHRD-K) P.O. Box 26309 – 00100 GPO, Nairobi

    Only short listed candidates will be contacted.

2018 United Nations Human Rights Prize call for nominations

The 2018 United Nations Human Rights Prize will be given out at the United Nations in New York on Human Right Day, 10 December. Nominations are open until 6 April 2018. This year’s award will coincide with the celebration of the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The prize to recognize individuals or organization for outstanding achievements in the field of human rights is given out every five years.

It was last awarded in 2013. The winners were Mr. Biram Dah Abeid of Mauritania for his fight against slavery; Ms. Hiljmnijeta Apuk of Kosovo* for her campaign for the rights of people of disproportionately short stature; Ms. Liisa Kauppinen of Finland for her fight for the rights of the deaf; Ms. Khadija Ryadi of Morocco for championing a variety of human rights

causes; the Supreme Court of Justice of Mexico for its role in the constitutional protection of the human rights of Mexicans; and Ms. Malala Yousafzai of Pakistan for championing, at considerable risk, girls’ right to education.

The United Nations Prize in the Field of Human Rights is an honorary award given to individuals and organizations in recognition of outstanding achievement in human rights. The Prize was established by the General Assembly in 1966 and was awarded for the first time on 10 December 1968, the twentieth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Prize has since been awarded in 1973, 1978, 1988, 1993, 1998, 2003, 2008 and 2013.

Former UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson (right) presents the prize to Liisa Kauppinen at the 2013 award ceremony. © UN Photo

Former UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson (right) presents the prize to Liisa Kauppinen at the 2013 award ceremony. © UN Photo

The Prize is an opportunity not only to give public recognition to the achievements of the recipients themselves, but also to send a clear message to human rights defenders the world over that the international community is grateful for, and supports, their tireless efforts to promote all human rights for all.

The Prize is an opportunity not only to give public recognition to the achievements of the recipients themselves, but also to send a clear message to human rights defenders the world over that the international community is grateful for, and supports, their tireless efforts to promote all human rights for all.

How are the winners of the Prize chosen? 

An important feature of the Prize is that nominations can be received from a broad variety of sources: “Member States, specialized agencies and non-governmental organizations in consultative status and from other appropriate sources.”
Once nominations have been received by the UN Human Rights Office, a consolidated list is presented to a committee that selects the winners. The five members of this committee are: the President of the General Assembly; the President of the Economic and Social Council; the President of the Human Rights Council; the Chair of the Commission on the Status of Women; and the Chair of the Human Rights Council Advisory Committee.

Nominations for the 2018 Prize

The UN Human Rights Office has already sent written requests for nominations to Member States, UN programmes and agencies, non-governmental organizations and the national human rights institutions.

Nominations may be made by submitting the online nomination form with basic identifying information about the nominee and the reasons for making the nomination.

Hard copies can, alternatively, be sent by post to: Human Rights Prize, OHCHR New York Office, Room S-1306, United Nations, New York, NY 10017. A printable form for submitting a nomination by post is available for download here.

The deadline for submission of nominations is 6 April 2018, 23:59 hours Eastern Standard Time.

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