By Matilda Atieno
County Government of Kisumu this week hosted three days of inter-county dialogue on the legislation of gender-based violence (GBV) and a review of Kisumu County policy on sexual gender-based violence (SGBV) at Ciala Resort -Kisumu.
This is a multi-Sectoral Approach to ending SGBV brought together both state and none state gender actors from Busia, Migori, Meru, Makueni, Kwale, Kisumu, Kajiado, Kwale, Nairobi and Narok. The meeting was made possible through EqualityNow and KMET the major support partners on SGBV issues.
EqualityNow is an organization focusing on promoting human rights and gender equality matters as well as advocating for multisectoral interventions to ending GBV.
The 3 days conference was officially opened by the CEC member for Gender and social services Mr. John Awiti and Dr. Monica Ogutu, executive director of KMET.
Kisumu has been making progress in addressing SGBV thanks to the adoption of the multi-sectoral approach involving all stakeholders in the development and implementation of programs to protect and promote women’s and girls’ rights.
The CEC member recognized the commitment of the participants to institute a multisectoral approach by engaging stakeholders
Mr. Awiti also echoed the 12 bold commitments put across by the national government that would end the systemic barriers that allow GBV to thrive. As a global co-leader of Generation Equality’s Action Coalition to end gender-based violence, President Uhuru Kenyatta pledged to end the vice in Kenya by 2026. The 12 commitments are under four areas for concerted action, aligning with the global blueprint for Generation Equality’s Action Coalition on Gender-Based Violence.
The stakeholders meeting was also graced by the Deputy Governor for Makueni County, Hon. Adelina Mwau, who shared lessons from Makueni on a multi-sectoral approach to accelerating actions on SGBV.
The Deputy Governor challenged the counties to recognize GBV as a development issue that requires structured planning, budgeting, commitment, and adoption of a multi-sectoral approach, involving all stakeholders in the development and implementation of programs to protect and promote SGBV issues.
Makueni is recognized for having a wealth of best practices in addressing Gender issues having entrenched gender as a development issue in the county.
The team was also taken through the role of the judiciary as the final arbiter in matters of GBV as well as access to justice. Addressing the meeting, the presiding Judge for Kisumu High Court Hon. Justice Fred Ochieng called on the actors to create awareness in the community on the available policies that address GBV, understand the ingredients of the crime and know the court process to assist the survivors.
In Kisumu County, considerable progress has been made towards creating interventions to advance the fight against GBV with the county directorate of Gender together with its partners rolling out programs that are addressing gender issues in the county.
In the last few years, tackling GBV has slowly gained recognition as the county government embraces a multi-sectoral approach to promoting development programs towards gender issues. It was agreed during the meeting that official support through funding is important in the establishment of a multifunctional rescue Centre, that is able to provide survivors of GBV with immediate support including psychological, clinic and shelter as well as a set of services that would support longer-term recovery and empowerment.