Accelerating Commitments, Investments and Action on Addressing VAW/G during and Beyond COVID19
June 4, 2020 | 2:00pm – 4:00pm
The COVID19 pandemic is an unprecedented global health emergency that continues to impact on the lives of millions of people in Kenya and across the world. While enormous efforts have been put into the containment of the novel corona virus, women and girls continue to be at risk of the secondary impacts of the pandemic such as gender-based violence.
To contain the spread of COVID19, the government of Kenya announced various measures including quarantine of people with travel history, encouraging people to stay and work from home, and putting in place a national curfew that runs from 7p.m. to 5am. Other measures include closures of schools, restaurants, places of worship, entertainment places and limiting public gatherings to not more than 15 people. While these preventive measures have been designed to keep people healthy slow and manage the spread of COVID-19, they trigger further discrimination and violence against women and girls. As evidence show, Crises do exacerbate age, gender, and disability inequalities and place women, girls, and other vulnerable populations at increased risk of Sexual gender-based violence (SGBV) and intimate partner violence (IPV). With the closure of schools, civil society groups have reported an increase in teenage pregnancies, as well as transactional sex and FGM. Sexual Violence has been on the rise and reported cases include women who have been thrown out of the rental houses due to non-payment of rent and have in the assaulted while seeking shelter in abandoned buildings. The intersectionality of Poverty and the effects of COVID has disproportionately impacted more on women and girls.
Evidently, as the numbers of confirmed cases of COVID19 infections rise, so are the numbers of GBV cases being reported. In the period of March and May 2020, the Centre for Rights Education and Awareness (CREAW) recorded a 64% increase in incidences of sexual and gender-based violence affecting women and girls across the country with a majority of this being Intimate Partner Violence. Additionally, the Judiciary and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions have recorded an increase of more than 30% of the cases being reported.
Investments to prevent and respond to violence against women have long been at crisis point. With already limited capacities and investment to address violence against women, this increase in violence is happening at a time of further reduced capacity of service providers (health, police, social care, charities) to cope with the demand.
This crisis presents us with an opportunity to increase our investments, harness our commitments and build solidarity to Ending violence against Women and Girls. Particularly, identifying concrete actions to prevent and respond to the VAW/G both in the short term and long term during and after the public health crisis.
The objective of this virtual meeting is therefore to bring together a diverse group of government leaders, policy makers, civil society and other stakeholders to discuss and identify strategies to ending Violence against women and girls. The webinar will include an overview of the issue in the National context, how existing response programs have adapted to protect survivors amid restrictions on movement during the pandemic, and possible solutions and policies to protect survivors and prevent and/or reduce violence in the long-term. As this pandemic has confirmed, Gender Based Violence is deeply rooted in the inequalities in the society.
There has never been a time before that has demonstrated the definition of prevention of GBV as life saving. This is the single reason we all must rally together and challenge the status quo, put in action definitive preventive measures and in the event of violence, ensure access to timely and immediate quality services.
- Highlight the efforts and investments made to responding to incidences of Violence against women
- Underscore the importance of investing in Prevention as well as response efforts
- Highlight the innovation around Prevention and Response
- In collaboration with the Ministry of Public Service and Gender, call to action on Prevention and Response Efforts.
- Margaret Kobia, Cabinet Secretary, The Ministry of Public Service and Gender
- Anna Mutavati, Country Director, UN Women
- Wangechi Wachira, Executive Director, The Centre for Rights Education and Awareness
- Alberta Wambua, Executive Director, Gender Violence Recovery Centre
Moderated by Linda Kroeger, Human Rights Lawyer and Programme Officer, KELIN