Ford Foundation has recognised Ruth Ojiambo Ochieng, the executive director of the Isis-Women’s International Cross Cultural Exchange (Isis-WICCE) for her contribution to women in armed and post-conflict affected communities through building skills of women leaders and influencing policy reforms in different countries.
Ochieng’s 16-year passion in ensuring that peace, which is a necessity for job creation, is meaningful to women has been actualised through Isis- WICCE organizing of innovative short term medical camps in Luweero, Gulu, Kitugum, Soroto, Lira, Kasese and Kotido districts in Uganda, in Liberia, Southern Sudan and Kashmir.
Her work in shaping the plans for reconstruction of women after wars have taken place has had a tremendous effect on mostly women’s bodies, minds and souls as a result of violence.
Dr Musimbi Kanyoro, the chief executive officer of the Global Fund for Women described the award as a celebration of Ochieng in the context of her staff, board members, friends, peers, professional partners and most importantly the communities where she seeks to make the differences in her leadership.
“Ochieng has led Isis-WICCE, built its reputation as a trusted aocate for the rights of women in more than 50 countries, providing training and skills building, documenting women’s realities, and urging governments and international bodies to promote women’s rights and leadership,” says Dr Musimbi commending her for making Isis-WICCE a very well-coordinated networking organisation that everybody wants to be part of.
Her work, according to Dr Musimbi, is not only in terms of influencing policy but also to see the need to address the practical needs of survivors of violence that shuttered women.
Ms Ochieng described the award as ‘a challenge to keep the pace and continue in the way I have worked’.
“I knew that to do it, I need these people who have faced it to heal hence reaching various communities. I ended up in aocacy to heal the women and when they healed it was important to mobilise their leadership in their own rights,” says Ms Ochieng.
She explains that her strategy to give the voice to the people themselves compelled women to join in starting engagements at national level leading to evolvement of women task force formed by a cross section of women right from village level.