Come Together Widows and Orphans Organization (CTWOO) is a non-profit making Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) founded by Dianah Kamande, a young widow and a survivor of Gender Based Violence whose experiences gave birth to the idea of creating a safe space within which widows could share experiences and draw support from others. In 2013 she formed a Community Based Organization which later blossomed into a National NGO. She now leads CTWOO which focuses on widows, orphans and survivors of Gender Based Violence. The organization supports and champions for the advancement of their rights, social and economic empowerment in recognition that widows rights are human rights. Her passion is to ensure that the society treats widows, orphans and other vulnerable groups with dignity. She believes in the words of the Former UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon "No woman should lose her status, livelihood or property when her husband dies, yet million of widows in our world face persistence abuse, discrimination, disinheritance and destitution. Many widows are subjected to harmful practices such as Widow burning and "widow cleansing" - an abhorrent ritual which often amounts to rape, increases the widows risk of HIV infection. The impacts are also felt by widows children and their dependents"
Come Together Widows and Orphans Organization believes that its responsibility as an organization is to safeguard the human rights and dignity of widows, inline with the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and Convention on the Rights of the Child. It is also our mandate to ensure that challenges faced by widows in Kenya are presented to the Government through the Ministry of Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs. This assist our government to intervene and bridge the gender gaps that might be contributing to suffering of widows, orphans and other vulnerable groups we deal with.
A society in which social justice, human rights, happiness and prosperity are guaranteed for every widow, survivor of Gender Based Violence and orphans in Kenya.
COMMITMENT- we are committed to ensure an enabling environment where every widow, orphan and survivor enjoy their rights
LOVE- We esteem love among each other thus extend compassion to the neglected in the society.
EQUALITY- We exercise equality among everyone in our society and ascribe to promote honesty in our work.
HUMILITY- humility is the mark of our service
JUSTICE- we value human beings as having dignity, rights and being equal, thereby promoting justice and fairness.
Putting in place strategies and policies that ensure that widows’, survivors of Genders Based Violence and orphans rights are guaranteed, protected and that they are economically, socially and politically empowered and that they live fulfilled lives.
LEGAL SERVICES (WIDOWS ACCESS TO JUSTICE)
Nyamira County Widows' Leaders training on legal services. The training was offered by The Commission on Administrative Justice, commonly known as 'Office of the Ombudsman' which is a constitutional commission established under Article 59 (4) of the Constitution and the Commission on Administrative Justice Act, 2011. We have strengthened our partnership with The Office of the Ombudsman, FIDA, Law Society Of Kenya and other HUMAN RIGHTS Organizations, so that widows all over the country can be able to access affordable and Pro Bono legal services where possible.The Pro Bono lawyers also give free training on importance of legal services to widows and their children. Most widows fear the long ,tedious court process because they lack resources to hire an attorney for their cases.
CREATING AWARENESS TO WIDOWS ON HOW TO CHECK IF THEY OWN ANY UNCLAIMED FINANCIAL ASSETS
Come Together Widows and Orphans Organization has partnered with The Unclaimed Financial Assets Authority (UFAA), an Authority that was created under the Unclaimed Financial Asset Act, No. 40 of 2011 to administer unclaimed financial assets. The Authority whose primary mandate is to Receive, Safeguard and Re-unite the Unclaimed Assets with their rightful owners, has trained CTWOO officers and some widow leaders who are now disseminating this knowledge to grassroot widows on how to check if one has any existing unclaimed financial asset using their mobile phones. By dialing the prefix *361# from a safaricom line and following the prompts, widows are able to access first hand information on any existing unclaimed assets.
INTERNATIONAL WIDOWS' DAY
At Come Together Widows and Orphans Organization every widow is important. Through group formation we provide a platform for widows to articulate their issues. These groups act as Focus Discussion Groups where widows discuss issues affecting them, how to grow themselves Economically,They interact hence they grow Socially. Through these groups widows benefit from the affirmative funds available with the Government e.g Women Enterprise Fund (W.E.F), UWEZO FUND and the National Government Affirmative Action Fund (NGAAF). Through these groups we are able to reach out to thousands of widows across the country who are able to join us in the capital cit of Kenya Nairobi to celebrate the International Widows Day every 23rd of June.
Our organization gives back to the society because its the only way to say thank you to our community, members and vulnerable groups in the society. We host feeding programs, we celebrate Birthdays with the members of the community for them to feel appreciated and also appreciate the work we do as an organization.
Meet Janet Mwihaki a mother of three sons and a Survivor of Gender Based violence. Her husband abused her for a very long time and finally he decided to pour petrol (gas) on her body and put fire on her she got burns almost 60% but by God's grace she healed. Today Janet cannot work she depends upon well-wishers for support. We at Come Together Widows and Orphans Organization support Janet and sponsor her children. She is one of many survivors that we support. To partner with us to continue supporting Janet
Rachael is a Widow and a mother of one daughter. Her husband was a very good family man. He was a preacher and he fell sick and finally he died. Rachel faced real widow abuse, Disinheritance got her first hand, rejection and many more unspoken things. She thanks God for strengthening her to endure it all. Today she encourages other widows.