Get To Know Our Roots!
Badili Africa initiative was begun by Bina Maseno a political aspirant during the 2013 elections at the age of 23 years for a member of the county assembly seat in Kayole South, Embakasi Central Constituency. The challenges, harassment, intimidation, and lessons learned contributed to her desire to have young women become active in political and social issues. During her electoral campaigns she noticed that the majority of her peers, especially young women in their early twenties, were not present in political rallies, political party meetings, and protests and rarely commented online or blogged about political issues.
Her male counterparts on the other side were twice as likely to consider a future as an elected official, were present in party meetings and political rallies, and were equally active in college/campus years. She also learned very fast that not many parents socialized their girls to consider politics as a career option as they would their boys. This was evident in how her very own parents and relatives reacted to the news of her vying for a political seat.
After the elections, her deep concern was how to get young women from diverse backgrounds and interests to discuss political issues and how they intersected with their lives. She tried hosting civic dialogues but they had very low attendance from young women. Then she decided to change tact and began hosting glam sessions dubbed Glam Sundays as an entry point to discuss civic issues. Then she noticed that slowly young women began flocking to the meetings and enjoying the glam sessions. From then onwards a decision was made to start using glam sessions as an entry point to attracting more young women who would otherwise not be caught in a politically oriented conversation to participate in the civic dialogues. The name Glam Sundays later changed to “political spas” to connote safe feminine spaces where young women can digest heavy policy and legislative agenda at a salon level.
During the spa sessions, the civic dialogues link policy and legislation issues like the right to sexual and reproductive health, non-discrimination of persons with disabilities, youth unemployment, gender-based violence, female genital mutilation, sanitation, etc. to governance in a non – traditional approach that speaks to the target audience in a language that they understand: the ability to “slay” and be brilliant and engaged at the same time. The Spa element acts as an incentive for young women in informal underprivileged urban settlements and tertiary institutions of learning to engage in a non-threatening environment where they are free to share their views, concerns, and opinions about their political power as citizens.