Sareen Malik: ‘I'm fighting for women's right to water and toilets.'
Warning: this article contains content about sexual violence
Sareen Malik is a women's rights activist from Kenya who is fighting for gender equality in the area of access to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH). She's raising her voice to criticise the power dynamics and gender inequality surrounding WASH. So that women and girls are not only facing the issue, but are also a part of the solution.
Women and girls disproportionately affected
As Sareen powerful states : ‘women and girls are harder hit by the lack of access to water and toilets’. They are the ones often responsible for fetching water for their families. And they are subject to harassment while doing so, sometimes even being compelled to trade sex for water.
Together we are strong
Sareen Malik is the coordinator of the African Civil Society on Water and Sanitation (ANEW) and vice-chair of Sanitation and Water for All (SWA). Together with her and our partners in Kenya we give her and the women and girls a platform to have their voices heard.
We do this by collaborating with Sareen and local partners to put the position of women and girls first. And by inviting her to participate in campaigns that we organise in the Netherlands for awareness around the position of women and girls.
First international curator of the HER Film Festival
Sareen was the first international curator to join the HER Film Festival, a free (!) online film festival that we organise with our partner Cinetree. Women's stories must be heard. Portraits on film expand the way you think, in a hopeful and inspiring way.
Take Anita Chitaya from Malawi, for example, from the documentary The Ants & The Grasshopper (curated by Sareen). She is the ultimate role model of leadership, power, courage and taking your own initiative. With total commitment, she powerfully makes us face a simple fact: ’If you want someone to change, go to their doorstep with your problem.’