Kenya: Campaign against FGM and GBV rolled out in Nakuru and Baringo

Africa/Kenya/09-08-2020/Author and Source:

Gender activists in Nakuru and Baringo have launched a campaign against Gender Based Violence (GBV), teenage pregnancies, FGM and early marriages in 16 villages within the counties.

Through a Programme rolled out by Dandelion Africa, a community based organization, in partnership with the Ministry of Interior, 250 members of Nyumba Kumi clusters have been engaged in sensitization initiatives aimed at bringing down outdated cultural practices that entrench the vices.

The initiative dubbed Jukumu Langu Project under Wajibu Wetu Programme has also seen more than 300 community members trained on how to report violation of their rights and those of their children so that the legal process is followed for justice.

The Project Director Ruth Nderitu said chiefs and village elders have also been sensitized against settling defilement cases through ‘Kangaroo’ courts, as the process compromised justice to the disadvantage of the affected girls.

She said Dandelion Africa was also using vernacular radio stations, drama and theatre to enhance knowledge on GBV and FGM.

“Elders involved in mediation in these villages have been trained on basic human rights as settling some matters locally denies women, men and young girls and boys justice,” said Nderitu.

She further pointed out that many boys and girls drop out of school or are forced into early marriage as a result of pregnancy.

At the same time, the director said that cases of FGM usually went up during the month of November before peaking in December when schools close for long holidays.

Part of the project entails encouraging men subjected to GBV to open up, report to authorities and seek counseling at health facilities.

“Male survivors of GBV rarely report to police and medical authorities. They will only do so when the physical effects of attacks require urgent intervention. Some men and boys only dare to seek assistance several years after the incident.

Nderitu said GBV and FGM remained deeply etched in most parts of the country due to failure by communities to report the twin vices to authorities, stigmatization, lack of cooperation by witnesses and reluctance by concerned authorities to act.

“The consequences of GBV and FGM are severe particularly for women. They are vulnerable because the vices are condoned by customs, reinforced by institutions and the fact that most rural women have limited knowledge on their rights,” she stated.

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