Haki Nawiri Afrika is an initiative formed by Kenya-based activists collaborating with university students from Kenya and Uganda, and Tanzania in August 2019 and registered in 2020. The organization's mission is to advance social justice in marginalized communities and university students. Haki Nawiri Afrika’s vision is a world where every person enjoys their rights to the fullest despite social class.

Haki Nawiri Afrika’s objectives are:

  1. To promote empowerment of youth, students, women, smallholder farmers, and communities affected by climate change.
  2. To promote solidarity on issues affecting youth, university students, smallholder farmers, and communities affected by climate change.
  3. To enhance social justice among marginalized groups and nurture transformative leadership among youth and women.

The organization works on four main pillars: Food Justice, Climate Justice, Youth Engagement, and Gender Justice.
Food justice involves technical and political education on food production, i.e., from the soil, crop care, harvest postharvest, and value addition. Information and skills are transferred to communities and consumers through organizing community dialogues. Haki Nawiri also engages in advocacy on food justice at regional and global levels. The organization is actively advocating for climate justice, which entails amplifying the experiences of communities adversely affected by the negative impacts of climate change and at the same time documenting community experiences for online and offline advocacy. The pillar also involves awareness creation on the science and politics of climate change.

Gender justice within Haki Nawiri Afrika focuses on empowering women and girls on sexual and reproductive health, land, and property rights. Youth engagement targets in schools and out of school youth. In collaboration with students from Kenyatta University, Catholic University of Eastern Africa, University of Nairobi, Makerere University, Tangaza University, and Multi-Media University, Haki Nawiri Afrika has organized leadership and mentorship sessions for resilience building among students in facing a post-COVID-19 situation, paralegal training for university students and grassroots activists and human rights education. The organization has also developed an advocacy manual on students’ rights to demand and defend rights.

The Problem Addressed by the Project
COVID-19 has brought with its repression and human rights abuses. Many citizens do not know how to respond to human rights violations, especially by security agents. There is also a high level of ignorance on rights leading to intimidation, especially among young people. Haki Nawiri has addressed the lack of access to justice among residents living in Nairobi’s informal settlement and other pockets of poverty. The project will empower communities with psychosocial skills to cope with the negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and the inherent anxiety brought about by fear, misinformation on the disease, economic disruption, and rising cases of gender-based violence.

Leveraging on Technology
Haki Nawiri Afrika uses technology to engage project participants by utilizing google forms. Outside Kenya, the project participants will use ZOOM and Google Meet to conduct training sessions on human rights and paralegalism. The organization also conducted online debates to discuss human rights and social justice in different contexts. Additionally, the project had periodic Twitter campaigns to amplify community voices and experiences regarding rights violations during the Pandemic. Short videos have been developed to document community voices. The information generated from the project will be uploaded on Haki Nawiri's website for easy access by community members.

Achievements of the Project
Successful implementation of the Shrinking Civic Spaces in higher learning institutions has positively impacted university students and out-of-school youth in Kenya and beyond. The project has reached students from an initial three targeted universities to 10 (Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology, Multi-Media University, Zetec University, Tangaza University, University of Nairobi, Kenyatta University, Jomo Kenyatta University of Science and Technology, Karatina University, and South Eastern University of Kenya). Since its inception, the pilot project reached 719 people directly, comprising university students and community members. The project has provided students and community members with a platform for learning about legal rights, how to demand and defend rights, and provided practical skills in advocacy on access to justice. Through the project, perceived elitism between university students and out-of-school youth has been addressed, with community members working collaboratively with students. The project has enhanced the visibility of Haki Nawiri Afrika as an entity championing the rights of students and marginalized communities, including strengthening the capacity of Haki Nawiri staff in executing youth-focused, law-aligned projects.

There is improved knowledge and skills among students, specifically on human rights and various legislations, national and regional. Students and community members are mobilizing due to their knowledge and skills. Examples of these activities include:

  • Conducting a Participatory Action Research (PAR) in Nairobi’s Kiambiu informal settlement focusing on housing as a human right.
  • Organizing awareness sessions for first-year students at Kenyatta University rights within institutions of higher learning, conducting mentoring sessions for high school students.
  • Conducting referrals on human rights abuse cases, and follow-ups to ensure justice is served.
  • Initiating a peer counselling group and psychosocial support session for first years at Kenyatta University.
  • Training of student leaders at Nairobi’s Catholic University and sexual and reproductive health sensitization coupled with the distribution of sanitary pads.

Project participants are reaching out to vulnerable groups with information on human rights (child, environmental and women rights), including women in informal settlements, children, and out-of-school youth. This has resulted in access to updated information. Students and community members are also utilizing skills used in the project to address conflict at the local level by adopting Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) mechanisms. Examples of addressed conflicts include amicable resolving of local fights among community youths, persuading community members to settle petty offenses out of court, and resolving family disputes on inheritance. Some project participants are organizing training sessions on child rights in children's homes in Kariobangi and Korogocho, creating awareness of the rights of arrested persons and being more empowered on their rights. Project participants can conduct referrals from an informed perspective. They are also providing information on legal rights. Project participants report better skills in activism, networking, and alliance building.

The project has provided students with opportunities to utilize knowledge gained in addressing diverse problems facing communities, such as conducting referrals. Additionally, it has provided a safe place to discuss psychosocial issues and enabled students to address fears and uncertainty. This has contributed to students becoming more focused. A remarkable increase in knowledge and skills has been observed through pre-and post-test training exercises. This is also evidenced by the existing confidence among students and community members as they engage in various activities. Moreover, the project has fostered good relations with two police stations and senior police officers and contributed to student-centred lobbying on issues of concern through the Student-Police dialogues. By 31 December 2021, 1000 people (students and community) benefitted through Haki Nawiri Afrika's outreach activities.

Successful project implementation is expected to result in better relationships between community members and the police. The dialogues enabled community members to understand justice from the perspective of the police and community members to raise their concerns—reduced cases of abuse in the target communities due to better relationships with the police. The project is expected to lead to better coping mechanisms among community members. The project will benefit 300 community members through psychosocial support, paralegal training 100 participants, human rights education 200, community police dialogues 400 participants, legal aid, and follow-ups 100 community members.