He shared how his work has been enhanced since he attended Womens Human Rights Advocacy Training in Geneva, which is annually hosted by the World Council of Churches and its partners. The training, most recently held in November 2023, brings together participants from different parts of the world.


Through Young Theologians Initiative for Climate Action (YTICA), Maina and his colleagues are weaving gender equality into environmental trainings for young children.

Our training has in-class sessions and also practical elements which are determined by what the school needs,” explained Maina, team leader and co-founder of YTICA. Children plant trees, and they hold creative eco and recycling competitions.

Maina described how gender equality becomes part of these activities. 

Among the training slides, is a brief lesson on the importance of everyone working together for a healthy environment,” he said. We discuss how everyone, regardless of gender, plays a crucial role in protecting our environment and why it's essential to ensure equal participation and respect for all individuals.

The children ask questions about gender roles, and this opens up opportunities for dialogue, addressing misconceptions, and instilling values of equality.

When the children describe tasks done by boys, girls, or both—and why some tasks are for one and not the other— this reveals how gender stereotypes play a role even in environmental efforts.

Maina also described how the children also discuss gender-based violence through storytelling. We present scenarios where instances of gender-based violence, harassment, or exclusion occur,” said Maina. Through guided discussion, we help the children recognize these behaviors as forms of violence and discuss strategies for intervention and support.

Maina added: We emphasize the importance of talking to a trusted adult like a parent, teacher, or counselor.

2,000 students—and counting

The All Africa Conference of Churches has organized a program, Let Love Lead: End Gender-Based Violence.” 

Maina and his colleagues took up the challenge to spread the word about this program, and about the Thursdays in Black campaign, in the country in conjunction with the International Womens Day in March. First, we held interactive sessions and services with Kenya Methodist University students to popularize the new anti-gender-based violence campaign and to speak about Thursdays in Black,” said Maina. Second, we held workshops at Kenya High School, joined by State House Girls High School, which provided a platform for open discussions about gender-based violence and the importance of combating it.

The workshops incorporated examples of tragic femicide events happening in Kenya and other examples to help students identify violence—and challenge it. 

Maina plans to secure partnerships to launch Thursdays in Black in at least two more universities by the end of 2024.

He is seeing the fruits of his efforts. The efforts we have made have resulted in increased awareness among young people and the successful implementation of an anti-gender-based violence campaign,” he said. I am committed to continuing this work, expanding its reach, and collaborating with others to create a future where women's human rights are fully respected.