WWhere We Work

Sauti works in all 6 Counties of Coast Region, Kenya.

Kilifi, Kwale, Lamu, Taita Taveta, Tana River, Mombasa.


Mombasa County: Likoni, Mwembelegeza, Mtongwe, Shikadabu, Changamwe, Bamburi, Majaoni, Kisauni, Mvita, Colorado, Mwakirunge, Marimani, Maunguja, Kimbunga

Taita Taveta County: Voi, Wundanyi, Mbale, Mwatate, Taveta, Kishushe

Kilifi County: Garashi, Dagamra, Marafa, Langobaya, Sosobora, Girimocha, Mkondoni, Kilifi, Ganze, Magarini
Kwale County: Kilimangondo, Mtumwa, Mwena, Ndavaya
Tana River County: Hola, Wenje, Garsen
Lamu County: Lamu East - Chundwa

SSome Facts About Kenya

52% of the population of Kenya comprises women. Estimates indicate that more than half of the women live below the poverty line - Kenya Demographic and Health Survey 2008 - 2009
bullet Men own 95 % of all landholdings in Kenya while women own just 5 % - Kenya Demographic and Health Survey 2008 - 2009
bullet In the 2013 election only 16 women were elected as MPs out of a total number of 290
bullet 14 percent of Kenyan women age 15-49 cannot read at all - Kenya Demographic and Health Survey 2008 - 2009
bullet 45% of women have experienced physical or sexual violence or both - Kenya Demographic and Health Survey 2008 - 2009
bullet HIV/AIDS affects women disproportionately more than men ( 8.8 percent women infected as opposed to men at 5.5%) - The 2007 Kenya Aids Indicator Survey (KAIS)
bullet At least 2,000 to 3,000 children are involved in the sex trade at Coast - UNICEF report "Extend and Effect of Sex Tourism and Sexual Exploitation of Children on the Kenyan Coast"


  • “With a movement of over 6,500 members, Sauti is creating a critical mass of hitherto marginalized women advocating for change, firstly in their region and ultimately nationally”
  • “The empowerment of grassroots women as decision makers, leaders and facilitators of change”
  • “Influencing policy and promoting institutional changes”
  • “Creating strategic networks, and multi-sectoral and medico -legal linkages for GBV Survivors”

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“Our women have little education, so they can’t generate incomes or find work. Their husbands control everything. All the money is spent by them as they choose. He takes charge and has no respect for his wife. She is not allowed to speak. If the wife only has girl children, she also loses respect from her husband. Mostly, only the boy child is valued.” Mama Gibran, Chair, Sauti Ya Wanawake, 2013.
Endemic poverty & marginalization - the Coast Region poverty index stands at 74% - Kenya Integrated Household Budget Survey
bullet Patriarchal society
bullet Cultural and religious practices - Many factors including physical isolation, and a desire to maintain community identity through culture, serve to inhibit women at grassroots level from claiming constitutional gains if those gains conflict with traditional cultural governance systems
bullet Gender based violence rampant
bullet Continued marginalization of women from governance processes; women wishing to vie for political seats subject to intimidation
bullet Low levels of education; high levels of illiteracy
bullet High school drop- out rates
bullet Early pregnancies and early marriages
bullet 10,000-15,000 girls involved in the sex trade
Women and girls at grassroots level are largely unaware of their rights and legal options and frequently out of touch with services
bullet Insecurity, ethnic conflicts and political tensions
bullet FGM widespread in some areas.
bullet Full awareness and implementation of new legislation and policies designed to promote gender equality and protect women has yet to be realised
bullet Multiple inequalities in respect to the inheritance of property and land
bullet Denial of reproductive health rights
bullet Lack of opportunities/capital for income generating initiatives

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SSauti Ya Wanawake - Herstory
Sauti Ya Wananawake - Pwani as a forum for social change, has its roots in earlier work carried out by ActionAid International Kenya and grew out of consistent reports by women asserting that they felt excluded from development interventions due to male dominance and other issues of inequality.
In effect, the women were not able to participate meaningfully and lacked the space to speak about their concerns. When asked how they felt they could change their situation, the women expressed their need for a forum where they could be alone to learn from each other and talk. The work of building a local grassroots women’s movement started in 2001 and was set was set to become a platform for bringing social change by challenging a patriarchal society to transform into one where all are equal.
The main aims of this movement, ‘Sauti Ya Wanawake Pwani’, (popularly known as Sauti) were to create a safe space for women to discuss issues affecting them and as a forum contributing to the fight for women’s rights. It also sought to act as a mouth piece to champion issues affecting women and allow them to challenge oppressive systems.
Since 2001 an initial group of 50 women has grown into a movement with over 6,500 non fee paying members active in a 42 satellite ‘Chapters’ formed, in all six counties of Coast Region.
The women realised that for them to develop an effective women’s movement they must rally not just women, but men, including political, administrative and religious leaders at the community level around the issues of women’s rights.
The women’s forum was set to become a platform of bringing social change by challenging a patriarchal society to transform into one where all are equal. In July 2011, Sauti was registered as a Non Governmental Organisation.

Key Strategies

1. Capacity building
2. Creating strategic networks and linkages.
3. Community education and awareness raising.
4. Influencing policy and legislation.

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The individuals benefiting from and participating in the movements activities are grassroots women and girls. Ages of beneficiaries and members range from 19 to 65 and school aged children aged 5 to 18. It is estimated that some 10% of the participants in Sauti’s activities are women with disabilities; 8.8% are living with HIV/AIDS and 45% have experienced either physical or sexual violence or both. (Based on national averages). A significant percentage of the women and girls engage in commercial sex work at some level although exact numbers are unknown. Sauti brings together poor and marginalized women most of whom are illiterate (the majority of Sauti women have not had more than 6 years of schooling) and who are struggling to bring up families in the face of poverty.
The women’s religions include Christianity, Islam (approximately 60 % of Kenya’s Muslims live in Coast region) and traditional. The majority of Sauti’s membership comes from the minority, indigenous ethnic groups of Kenya’s Coast, including the Swahili, Mijikenda, Bajun, Pokomo, Orma and Taita. These groups make up some of the poorest, most marginalized communities in the country and have differing cultures, traditions, languages and histories. Most live in settled communities with some such as the Orma being pastoralists.
Livelihoods include subsistence farming, tourism and small enterprises. Many live in isolated rural communities some of which are semi-arid. A percentage of Sauti’s members are city dwellers living in and around Mombasa in low to middle income neighbour-hoods. Some others are migrant workers from ‘up country’ and from ethnic groups such as Kikuyu, Kamba and Luo.
The women and girls who Sauti serves are faced with multiple levels of discrimination caused not only by their gender but also the fact that they belong to minority groups. ‘Women have played a great role in minority and indigenous communities, but it’s never in the books, never pronounced, never recognized.’ Josephine Nashipae, League of Pastoralist Women

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