Ann Njogu, Kenya

March 1, 2010

2010 International Women of Courage Award Winner

Date: 03/01/2010 Description: 2010 International Women of Courage Award Winner: Ann Njogu, Kenya - State Dept Image In 2008, Ms. Njogu was co-convener of the Civil Society Congress, which worked with other civil society organizations to avert total political collapse in the aftermath of the violence that tore Kenyan society apart after the December 2007 elections. Her organization, the Centre for Rights Education and Awareness (CREAW), documented sexual and gender based violence during the post election period, providing essential data for national and international investigations of possible criminal conduct by Kenyan leaders. Ms. Njogu was also instrumental in passage of Kenya’s Sexual Offences Act, as a co-drafter and lobbyist.

Ms. Njogu has been a leader on Constitutional reform, which is crucial to Kenya’s future. She was the Co-Chair of the Multi-Sectoral Committee on Constitutional Reform, the Co-Chair of the Joint Dialogue Forum on Constitutional Reform and a delegate to the Bomas National Conference on Constitutional Reforms. Using the influence of her organization, CREAW, she has kept pressure on lawmakers for Constitutional reforms, and ensured that the reform process is representative and not skewed to benefit the existing power structure.

These activities have come with great personal sacrifice. In 2007, Ms Njogu was physically assaulted and arrested by state security for demanding that Members of Parliament review their hefty salaries in light of the generally poor state of the country. With the other arrestees, she filed a Constitutional reference now popularly known as "Ann Njogu and others versus the State," which was successfully adjudicated and now limits the time a Kenyan citizen can be held in custody to 24 hours. Hundreds of Kenyans have since used this landmark case to secure their release when police have arbitrarily arrested them and held them against their Constitutional guarantees.

In 2008, with six others, Ms. Njogu was arrested, beaten and sexually molested by police when the group raised the issue of possible corruption in the sale of the Grand Regency Hotel. The matter is still pending in court, but it is just another example of her dedication to exposing corruption and fighting for reforms in Kenya.