“For a long time, girls have been disenfranchised, facing early marriages, dropping out of school, gender violence, little access to economic empowerment or to capital for businesses. We are not disempowering men by empowering women, we are trying to create an inclusive society where each and every person has an opportunity to maximize on their potential.”  ~ Vivian Onano, Women’s Rights Activist

Summary: Vivian Onano is a women and girls’ advocate and youth leader who was born and raised in rural Kenya. She is the Partnerships Manager at SEED Project, Global Youth Ambassador for Water Aid, and Vice-Chair of Global Youth Empowerment Fund Board of Trustees. New African Woman Magazine featured her as one of the “30 under 30: Faces Changing Africa Now” and Forbes Woman Africa profiled her as “One to Watch”. Vivian is a recipient of the 2016 MTV Africa Award under category “Africa Re-imagined” for her relentless work as a youth advocate and leader. She has a vision and dream to help create an inclusive world for everyone.

Nationality: Kenyan

Industry: Activism

Q: Do you think more needs to be done to encourage women to run for seats, seeing as even women voters rarely vote for women? on nation.com

A: For Kenya, when women try for elective seats, they are asked questions that would never be asked of a man. Questions like “Is she married?” “Where was she seen the other night?” or “What was she wearing?” and this pettiness is used to gauge her capacity to be a leader. There is need for more stories of women who have done it, women who have beaten the system and become leaders despite the odds stacked against them. That is the only way the grassroots community will see women as leaders and actually start voting for them.

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