The vision of GALCK has and continues to be a safe and enabling environment for LGBTI organizations and individuals in Kenya. In pursuit of this, we have made some strides and achievements and encountered various challenges and difficulties.
Since its inception in 2006, GALCK has offered a space for the discussion of LGBTI issues within the groups and membership culminating in the acquisition of the physical safe space (GALCK Centre) in 2008 where LGBTI persons could form support networks and just be themselves.GALCK initially had six  member groups, five of which are in Nairobi and one in Mombasa. In 2011, GALCK conducted a national outreach which saw new and emerging groups identified at county levels. For these groups, the process of adoption as GALCK members began with the signing of Memoranda of Understanding which has ensured continued supportive supervision giving birth to better organization in grassroots LGBTI mobilization. We have also established lines of partnership with other affiliate LGBTI organizations, networks and bodies in the country. This has decentralized GALCK and ensured greater response to issues both at grassroots and also at national level.
Through our communications office, we now have greater levels of information exchange and consensus building between the existing and new and affiliate groups. A strategy has been developed through a highly consultative and inclusive process to address communications across different publics.
Our programs office continues to ensure greater coordination of programmatic initiatives in the entire LGBTI spectrum. Through a monitoring and evaluation framework, there is more streamlined conceptualization, design, implementation and reporting of programmatic work.
The increase in scope and mandate of GALCK led to a staffing needs assessment, which was followed by an open and transparent recruitment and placement of staff on merit. These have helped increase the overall performance of programmatic, monitoring, evaluation, documentation, research, legal, communication and operations initiatives at the GALCK centre and cascading of the same to member groups.
Performance based management has ensured overall morale and delivery of outputs by every one of the staff team members. At GALCK, we encourage and support staff personal and career development and when time comes when they must move onto other greater career and life pursuits, we embrace and facilitate a smooth transition.
At the beginning of this year, GALCK sought for and welcomed a rigorous financial audit. As is expected from such for growing and established organizations, this process helped identify a few gaps. We have been happy to put in place more effective systems and structures including the implementation of a finance policy manual that ensures better and more accountable finance management. Our financial reports are even now more timely, quality and accurate. This has increased donor and stakeholder confidence, and as a result, GALCKs funding base has increased to match up the new and innovative initiatives that are rolling out.
The gains above have not been without their fair share of difficulty and challenges. Most notable is the consensus building among our member group base coalition with representation of different and diverse opinions, needs and issues. We acknowledge that the wider LGBTI community has expectations of GALCK to be all inclusive, something that despite numerous efforts, we are still struggling to achieve.
It has been demoralizing that members of the LGBTI community have continued to face numerous human rights violations including arrests, domestic violence, psychological torture leading to suicide, disenfranchisement from family and society, amongst others. As though that is not enough members of the sexual and gender minorities community have resulted to blackmail of their own either as a way of getting back at them or as some phony money making scheme.
These and more internal attacks have also been targeted towards human rights defenders as well as leading activists and staff of LGBTI organizations including GALCK. There have been some obvious and faceless enemies to the movement, whose actions have only served to divide and confuse. This adds onto the psychosocial, spiritual and emotional stress that dedicated and passionate frontline activists and advocates of LGBTI and human rights go through on everyday basis. It also perpetuates and reinforces the widespread notions that the LGBTI community is a confused and highly disorganized lot.
We take these and many more of such as positive challenges and we use them to strengthen our muscles in our effort to organize on the basis of common values and steer away from hyper sensational rhetoric fueling divisive politics.
What Does The Future Hold For GALCK?
As the national body for LGBTI organizations, groups and affiliates, GALCK’s key mandate will continue to be strategic, over-arching and cross cutting towards policy advocacy and capacity enhancement for movement and strategy building.
During the upcoming Biennial General Meeting, GALCK will work with all delegates to map out the future of LGBTI organizing in the country. With the many groups and organizations across the different counties, we will develop parameters that allow GALCK to continue equipping, facilitating and focusing the attention of local LGBTI activists towards issue based and proactive advocacy.
In tandem with the plausible freedom of expression that is provided for in the constitution of Kenya, we will continue to commend efforts for dialogue and positive criticism in democratic spaces in order to ensure a vibrant, diverse, plural, open, and participatory people driven activism and advocacy.
We dream of a safe and enabling structural, legal, religious, health, social, economic and political environment. We will not rest until we see LGBTI persons completely liberated from all forms of oppression, exploitation, discrimination and exclusion and having equal opportunities to realize their full potential.
MaqC Eric Gitau
GALCK’s General Manager