In many places around the world, widows are one of the most vulnerable segments of society.  In traditional Maasai culture, widows have very few rights.  They become part of their late husband’s family and their property rights transfer to his family too.  Originally this was for the protection of the women and their children.  To some extent this is still the case.  The lived experience of the women themselves, however, attests to the pain of their loss both of their husband and their status as wives.

In polygamous cultures, the inherited wives become the lowest on the status ladder and lose their home, their belongings and often the choices for their children.   Taboos against widows are often so strong that they are a hidden group.  Naserian has found that once the widows start meeting and it seems acceptable to be a widow, more emerge and are ready to share their own experience.

Naserian empowers Maasai widows to uphold their rights and live fulfilling lives.


Find out more:

In addition to better understand the challenges facing the communities Naserian works in, and the work they actually do, Naserian is proud to present:

Introducing the Women of Naserian. Read the stories that the women running and/or benefitting from Naserian’s work chose to share. These women wanted you to read their stories, in the hope of enabling others to understand their lives, challenges and achievements and contribute to change, too.

How Can I Contribute? Read about what you can to do support Naserian’s work, or even be a direct part of it yourself

 

House of Lords: on the international context facing widows, and our obligation to support their human rights

Baroness Greengross
Of all the different categories of women affected by violence, [widows are] particularly vulnerable, but it is also notably ignored by Governments and the international community. […] millions of widows of all ages, including wives of the missing and their daughters, suffer extreme forms of physical, sexual and psychological violence at the hands of both family members and the community at large. 

For example, in Africa, widows may be victims of harmful traditional practices, such as mourning and burial rites, including ritual cleansing by sex; forced widow inheritance, where a widow is forced to remarry with a husband’s relative; and violence meted out in the context of inheritance and property disputes. […] Widows and their daughters are often targeted for rape, sexual mutilation and forced prostitution since they have no man to protect them as they struggle to survive. […]

These widows are the sole supporters of families and future generations, and they have an important role to play in development and peace-building. They need to be protected from violence so that they can care for and educate their children. We have already heard about the huge importance of education.

Lord Judd
[…] There is increasing evidence that violence against women is being used as a deliberate war weapon in conflict, as is rape.

Read more about the UK’s commitments concerning sexual violence against women in war here: United Nations Security Council Resolutions 1325 and 1890