Women and girls in danger as Gender-Based Violence rises in Kenya.

By Samuel Ouma

Gender Cabinet Secretary (CS) Prof. Margaret Kobia

Kenya’s Ministry of Gender has unveiled its findings on the possible causes of Gender-Based Violence (GBV) in the East African nation, several months after President Uhuru Kenyatta ordered a probe into rising reports of violence against women and girls.

In a press brief on Thursday, April 22, 2021, Gender Cabinet Secretary (CS) Prof. Margaret Kobia said the country recorded 5,009 GBV cases in 2020 compared to 1,411 in 2019.

The most common forms of GBV identified by the study include physical assault, rape/attempted rape, murder, sexual offenses, defilement, grievous harm, physical abuse, child marriages and psychological torture.

Poor parenting and moral decadence; retrogressive cultural beliefs, poverty, alcohol, alcohol, drug and substance abuse, domestic disputes, identity crisis among youths and inadequate support system have been blamed for the rising cases of GBV.

According to the CS, the cases are prevalent in the counties of Nairobi, Nakuru, Kiambu, Kakamega and Kisumu.

To mitigate rising cases, the ministry put in place some crucial measures, including the establishment of social safety nets, cash transfers and affirmative funds to provide support to self-help groups.

“In response, the government moved with resolve to mitigate and de-escalate the vice by deploying a multi-pronged approach. In September 2020, the Cabinet approved an inter-agency strategy that includes, stakeholders to deal with the matter; six ministries (Public Service and Gender, Interior, Education, ICT, Health and Labour), County Governments, development partners, and other non-state actors,” she said.

Loans worth Ksh.300million (from WEF), Ksh. 60million (from Uwezo Fund) and Ksh. 80million (from the Youth Fund) are now disbursed every month, said Kobia.

She noted that GBV is a complex issue that cannot be fought single-handedly by the government, but all sections of society have an essential role to play, whether big or small, to tame the menace.

CS Kobia recommended continued sensitization and awareness of GBV cases in Kenya, through national and regional media and within the established National Government Administration Officers (NGAO), in partnership with other stakeholders.

“To this end, prioritized programs targeting men and boys as allies, advocates, role models and change agents, championing advocacy efforts against all forms of GBV to mobilize collective action in the communities,” she added.

She encouraged the public to report GBV incidences to the relevant authorities, speak against harmful and retrogressive cultural beliefs and practices and support the victims.

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