Umoja: Kenya’s women only Samburu village

Rebecca Lolosoli
Broadly correspondent Michelle De Swarte at Umoja.

A female only society has been a concept often explored in fiction, but could it ever work in reality?

Just over 25 years ago, Rebecca Lolosoli decided to find out and founded Umoja village as a safe haven for the region’s women.

This challenge to the strict patriocal society which has been maintained by the people of Samburu for over 500 years in norhern Kenya has thrived and was visited by Broadly correspondent Michelle De Swarte visited Umoja and the villages it inspired to meet with the women who were fed up with living in a violent patriarchy.

You can watch her shot film below:

Umoja, which means “unity” in Swahili, is quite literally a no man’s land.

This matriarchal refuge is now home to the Samburu women who no longer want to suffer abuses, like genital mutilation and forced marriages, at the hands of men.

Since its creation, it has also empowered women in the surrounding Samburu districts to start their own men-excluding villages.