Dandelion Kenya is a grassroots organization founded in 2009 to empower women and youth in the Rift Valley. We have over time found our niche in empowering communities with information and education particularly health information. Our programs enable women, girls and youth access sexual and reproductive health and rights information and services. We provide the information ourselves though various training modules such as the I Choose, My Life program for young people and link young people to access services through our partner SRHR service providers. We also provide economic empowerment information and business literacy skills through our HELA Program. HELA is a Kiswahili word for cash and we work towards women and girls economic self-reliance. We are involved in community sensitization working with our partners from various parts of the country to implement programs combating maternal deaths though reduction of unsafe abortions. At least 2,600 women die from unsafe abortion in Kenya every year; Kenya’s abortion fatality rates are substantially higher than the African average. 16 % of abortions in Kenya involve women below 20 years of age, while women between the ages of 20 and 34 account for another 73 % of abortions in Kenya. Previous to the enactment of the new constitution of Kenya in 2010, abortion was only permitted to protect a woman’s life.
With the new constitution, however, progress was made on issues related to women’s rights. Article 43 (1) (a) states that: “Every person has the right to the highest attainable standard of health, which includes the right to health care services, including reproductive health care.” The new constitution now offers a legal framework to constructively work to reduce unsafe abortions and an entry point for advocacy initiatives. Article 26(4) further elaborates on the legal provisions within which women can access safe abortions. We engage in policy advocacy at the national, regional and global platforms though various networks we are part of. We believe it is important to amplify the convergence between women and girls lived realities with policies. It is for this reason we have engaged extensively with the ICPD Beyond Review, Beijing+20 review and the sustainable development goals (Global Goals) that take over after the Millenium Development Goals.