by Esther Aoko
During the Generation Equality Forum that took place in Paris, the Kenyan Government recently made very bold commitments towards ending Gender Based Violence in Kenya. The commitments were informed by the alarming rise in the number of Gender Based Violence cases since the onset of the pandemic.
When the Covid-19 pandemic began, people lost their sources of income, cases of mental health issues increased and those experiencing violence were forced to stay at home with their abusive partners due to the lockdown. The frustrations and new way of life that was brought about by the pandemic accelerated the occurrences of violence in our communities.
With minimal comprehensive laws that address Gender Based Violence and inadequate allocation of resources to programs that aim at ending violence, survivors of violence have for long been on the losing end. They are unable to get access to justice, which leaves the perpetrators of violence free to go back to the society and perpetrate more violence. With the new commitments, it is now time to take action, right the wrongs and invest in protecting the human rights of women and girls.
Here are Kenya’s commitments towards ending Gender Based Violence;
- Full implementation of GBV laws and policies.
- Invest USD 23 million for GBV prevention and response.
- Develop a GBV management and information system by 2022.
- Invest USD 1 million annually for GBV research and innovation.
- Adopt and institutionalize the multi-sectoral GEF leadership structure.
- Introduce a module on GBV in the 2022 Kenya Demographic Health Survey.
- Integrate GBV services into the essential minimum package of the Universal Health Coverage
- Ratify and implement the ILO Convention 190 on eliminating Gender Based Violence and Harassment in the world of work.
- Establish a GBV survivors fund through a co-financing model in partnership with private sector, civil society and other stakeholders.
- Scale up the national police service integrated response to GBV and establishing Gender Based Violence Recovery Centers and shelters in all the 47 counties.
- GBV prevention and response in crisis situations such as COVID-19 pandemic response, humanitarian contexts, and electoral-related GBV.
- Strengthen collaboration with non-state actors including girl-led, women’s rights organizations, male champions and private sector through coordination structures.
Through the implementation of these commitments, we will not only be able to prevent future cases of GBV but we will also be able to ensure that survivors of violence are able to get justice. I urge the Government of Kenya to implement these commitments and bring us closer to freeing our country of this social ill that has brought so much harm to women and girls and hindered their ability to thrive and realize their full potential.
Thanks to Esther Aoko and Positive Young Women Voices for permission to post this blog.
Follow Esther on Twitter @esther_aoko.
Find out more about Positive Young Women Voices at https://positiveyoungwomenvoices.org/ and @GirlsWomenPower