Activists in Focus: Barbra Muruga of East Africa Trans Health & Advocacy Network

Barbra Muruga is the Executive Director of EATHAN, the– East Africa Trans Health & Advocacy Network; a network of intersex, trans* and gender non-conforming (ITGNC) individuals and organizations in East Africa. As a TEACH technical advisor, Barbra is working with MSMGF and IRGT to deliver high-quality  trainings to trans-led organizations in her region.

Learn more and apply to take part in a TEACH Sub-Saharan Africa Regional Learning Lab

MSMGF: Tell us about yourself.

Barbra: I am a queer African feminist, social justice worker and activist from Kenya, East Africa.  I have over 8 years of experience working on and with intersex, trans* and gender non-conforming individuals and organizations across the African continent and have been instrumental in the growth of the movement. I also do consultancy on gender, sex, sexuality, identity and expression as well as organization management and development and I have helped several organizations in Africa improve their work as well as their knowledge on such issues. My passion towards improving the livelihoods of all ITGNC persons in the region is what drives her.

MSMGF: What attracted you to become a TEACH Technical Advisor?

Barbra: The opportunity to be one of the people to conduct capacity strengthening to trans organizations in Africa by trans Africans was one that I could not pass on. Through my work in the community, I noticed that many organizations struggled to find funding and be able to sustain themselves and their work, if at all they manage to receive funding. Additionally, almost always our issue and organizations were passed over in funding decisions mostly due lack of funding, or structures or capacity. This meant that the growth of our community was and continued to be slow. I saw the TEACH program as an opportunity for me to put my efforts into changing this scenario.

MSMGF: What in your experience, is the biggest challenge facing trans-led organizations in your country or region?

Barbra: As mentioned above, one of the biggest challenge we have is lack of adequate funding. Over the last few years, trans organizations in the region have been steadily growing and slowly being funded. But this funding has not been adequate and one of the reasons flouted is that most of our organizations lack capacity to handle larger grants or long term grants. This therefore means that the movement will grow slowly (if at all) and it will be harder to effect change for the betterment of our community.

MSMGF: What are you hoping to achieve at the upcoming TEACH Regional Lab – Africa?

Barbra: I really hope that we can create a big impact in the individuals and organizations we will provide learning to and that it will trickle down to the larger community that they serve. I also hope that there will be real and measurable growth in the movement through our work, especially in terms of funding and organizational growth and stability.

Learn more and apply to take part in a TEACH Sub-Saharan Africa Regional Learning Lab

Deadline for applications is 8 December 2017