Earth & Conservation

Why Men Are Banned From This Village In Kenya

The village called Umoja, Swahili for unity, is comprised of all women and children who forbid entrance to men.

In many areas of the world, women are regarded as second-class citizens. Northern Kenya is just one example. For anyone native to this area, male or female, life isn't easy. There is minimal infrastructure, no large businesses, little access to education, and the land ranges from arid to semi-arid. Livestock is the traditional source of income there but this has become an increasingly challenging way of life as dramatic droughts have decimated herds. Women in these rural places shoulder additional burdens because they are seen as lesser people than men. They may be beaten, raped, or victims of genital mutilation and there is little recourse.

RELATED: Eating Breakfast With Giraffes in Africa

There are, however, actions being taken to improve life in Northern Kenya for some women. This area is home to the famous Umoja Women's Village, a small village that prohibits male residents in order to offer a safe haven for women who have been threatened, violated, and harassed by men. This part of Kenya is also receiving attention from non-profits attempting to improve opportunities for women. One example is the non-profit organization The BOMA Project. The main action of this organization is to help women in these poverty-stricken villages learn how to become entrepreneurs.

By increasing their self-sufficiency, the women of Northern Kenya can become empowered in myriad ways. Successfully creating a small business means they can better feed themselves and their families and pay for school and health care. They can also become less dependent on a culture that has devalued them in the past and an unstable climate that is likely to become more so in the future.

Watch more Seeker:

The Kenyan Grandmother Going Back to Primary School

Read more about women in Nothern Kenya:

The BOMA Project

Umoja Women