We meet four inspiring women in Right On Podcast 3: Is violence against women (including trans women) on the rise? — speaking to you from Kenya to Bangkok to New York City. Here’s a bit more about them and their work. The conversation was hosted by Meg Davis in Geneva.
Karyn Kaplan, Executive Director of Asia Catalyst, has worked on health and human rights issues in Asia since 1988, when she moved to Chiang Mai, Thailand and volunteered with a local sex worker rights group, EMPOWER. Since then, she has become a leading advocate on access to medicines, harm reduction and global drug policy issues. Karyn, who spent 20 years working alongside grassroots groups in Thailand, is fluent in Thai. She co-founded Thai AIDS Treatment Action Group (TTAG) with HIV-positive activist, Paisan Suwannawong in 2002, to focus on HIV/AIDS treatment access for highly marginalized groups, especially people who inject drugs, migrant sex workers, and people in prison. Karyn, Paisan and TTAG were recipients of the 2009 John M. Lloyd Foundation HIV/AIDS Leadership Award.
- Check out Asia Catalyst’s beautiful new annual report for more on their work on gender-based violence and other human rights in Asia.
Margaret Mbira Omondi writes, “I am 54 years old. I am a social worker by profession having over 20-year experience working with grassroot women. My core work is building capacity of grassroot women in areas of Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) mitigation, HIV/AIDS, economic empowerment and peace building. I have a diploma in community development and a diploma in gender studies. I am the Team Leader for Women Concerns Center, a women’s grassroot organization that advocates for the rights of women and girls. I have managed several projects on VAWG mitigation in my community working very closely with other partners and the government.”
- Follow Women Concerns Center on Twitter at @concernswomen
Prempreeda Pramoj Na Ayutthaya Prem was born in Bangkok. She completed two MA degrees, in Social Development at ChiangMai University, and in Health Social Sciences at Mahidol University. Both of her masters degree theses concerned rights for transgender people and sexual minorities. She has worked with various local and international NGOs for key affected populations for HIV prevention and care. She was one of the founding working group members of Asia Pacific Transgender Network. She worked as a community representative and liaison for an HIV Prevention Trial for the Thai Ministry of Public Health and the US Center for Disease Control. She also has worked as HIV/AIDS National Programme Officer at UNESCO Bangkok. She has lectured on sexual and gender issues at several universities. Currently, she serves as Vice President of Rainbow Sky Association of Thailand, and organizes her own project “Be Visible Asia” targeting hard-to-reach groups among LGBT; bisexual, trans’ partners, and non-binary people.
- Be Visible Asia is reachable on Facebook
Christine (Tina) Alai is a Kenyan human rights lawyer with dedicated expertise and experience in the advancement of equality, non-discrimination and access to justice for human rights violations. Alai has been at the forefront of strategic litigation, research, legal, policy and capacity development, and advocacy efforts aimed at obtaining justice and reparation for survivors of conflict-related atrocities. She presently serves as Transitional Justice Advisor to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan.
Notably, between 2018 and 2019, Alai was involved in conducting research to assess the gaps in prevention of and response to cycles of election-related sexual violence in Kenya. The research conducted in collaboration with Physicians for Human Rights, UN Women and Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights identified the need for key socio-cultural, legal, policy and structural reforms, which have a significant bearing on the prevailing context of COVID 19 pandemic-related gender based violations.
Alai was, until October 2018, the Head of Physicians for Human Rights Office in Kenya, where she managed innovative projects aimed at enhancing survivor-centered health care, collection, preservation and documentation of forensic medical evidence, investigations and prosecutions for conflict-related sexual violence. She has also worked with the International Center for Transitional Justice (Kenya), Kenya Human Rights Commission, Kenya National Commission on Human Rights and the defunct 2005 Constitutional Review Commission of Kenya.
Alai is a co-founding Trustee of the East Africa Centre for Human Rights, and member of the Geneva Centre for Education and Research in Humanitarian Action’s (CERAH) Steering Committee for the Short Professional Course on Sexual Violence in Conflicts & Emergencies, International Commission of Jurists-Kenya, Law Society of Kenya and East Africa Law Society.
- The report on election-related sexual violencd, which Tina discusses in the podcast, is available online here.