Wellness committee

Human Rights Defenders across the world sacrifice their entire lifetime agitating for adherence of the rule of law and speak up against human rights abuse and violations. In the course of their work most of them undergo a myriad of challenges such as burnouts, depression, threats and intimidations, trauma (both direct and vicarious) and even economic challenges.

They put their lives on the line every other day for other people but more often than not forget about their personal welfare. Due to the above reasons it was paramount that under the Social Justice Centre Working Group there should be a committee tasked with making sure all human rights defenders’ welfare under this umbrella are taken care of and that is how the idea of a Wellness Committee was born.

The committee is anchored on the following objectives;

  • Defending human rights defenders
  • Improving the socio-economic, psycho-social and spiritual welfare of defenders
  • Offering solidarity in all spheres during the course of defending rights
  • Strengthening bonds and networks among the defenders

The committee has a composition of two representatives from every Justice Centre under the Social Justice Centre Working Group. It is sub-divided into four sub-pillars;

Rapid Response and Protection – This particular sub-pillar responds to urgent distress calls from HRDs who have either been arrested, threatened or intimidated in the course of their work. In extreme cases where a HRD’s life is in imminent danger they are relocated for a while until the threat or danger subsides.

Self-care and Wellness – Involves debriefing of HRDs, counselling and  organizing activities such as sports, hikes and social events where defenders can unwind and recharge their energies away from human rights work.

HRD Economy – Facilitates empowerment of HRDs through promoting their businesses, professions and also increasing their capacity through entrepreneurship trainings and sharing of job opportunities.

It also focuses on their welfare by cultivating the culture of having contingency plans by saving through saccos and insurance funds such as the NHIF

Solidarity – It promotes the culture of building synergies amongst the HRDs during court cases, social events, contributions and human rights advocacy within the various communities because of the power in numbers


  • Set up of pillars in the committee that address various aspects of wellness and protection
  • The committee has done very well in terms of Rapid Response when members of the social justice centers get arrested unlawfully.
  • Marshalling support for various members who faced personal difficulties that affected their well being
  • Documented cases of members who were under threats or faced assault /damages in the line of duty
  • Running Jenga Hustle campaign every Wednesday where members of the movement get to share their businesses and job opportunities with the rest in a bid to support the socio-economic aspect.


  • Intense digital and physical security training of not less than five days
  • Solidarity fund for Rapid Response and Protection to facilitate swift response in case of emergence
  • Increase the number of psycho-social officers within the centres by capacitating the existing ones and training more to cater for the growing need of that particular service
  • A detailed Rapid Response and Protection policy document
  • Capacity building on how to write proposals, concept notes, reports and profiles of human rights defenders within the movement.