Success Stories Archives - Page 2 of 3 - CREAWKENYA

December 5, 2018by CREAW0

Meet Beatrice Njeri, a Kenyan lawyer passionate about helping survivors of sexual and gender based violence (SGBV) navigate through the often tedious and strenuous legal processes.
“My greatest achievement is when survivors are able to complete their legal journey. I am even happier when they are able to get successful convictions and perpetrators are held to account, making it a safer world for women to live their lives,” she says.
Beatrice, who works as a legal officer at the Centre for Rights Education and Awareness (CREAW) in Nairobi, understands the many challenges that the SGBV survivors have to go through while trying to access justice.

“Women are unable to pursue legal solutions for Intimate Partner Violence because of the way the issue has been socialized. In some cultures women have been socialized to accept violence as an expression of love; making it difficult for them to pursue their legal journeys,” she notes. The socio-economic status of women at the household level and the harmful societal norms can hinder access to justice for the survivors. As such, CREAW has adopted a two-pronged (prevention and response) approach in addressing SGBV under the access to justice program.
The Netherlands Embassy in Kenya supports the work of CREAW under the Accountability Fund which intends to strengthen the advocacy capacity of marginalized groups in society.

The story was first published by the Embassy of Netherlands in Kenya

June 10, 2018by CREAW0

May 24 2018, marked the beginning of a new milestone with a rather conversational and a very informative two-day colloquium for the Meru County Judges, Magistrates and other judicial officers.
The conversations on harnessing an effective and efficient judiciary in handling sexual and gender based violence (SGBV) matters had shifted to the county level, in this case; Meru County.
The Center for Rights Education and Awareness (CREAW) in collaboration with the Judiciary organized discussion to sensitize judges, magistrates and other judicial officers on Court decisions that have set precedents in determining SGBV cases with the theme: “Harnessing the emerging jurisprudence through best judicial practices, innovation and local remedies.” The judicial officers were keen to dissect the rampant cases of sexual violence against children in the county.

Speaking at the inaugural session of the colloquium in Meru, Justice Anne Ongijo noted the difficulty in handling cases where minors come into conflict with the law. She observed that when it comes to the criminal justice system in Kenya the courts are put in a predicament where there are not able to determine which of the minor to bring to book and as such; It is still a grey area that is currently been handled by putting both minors under protection and care through the children department or probation office.
“There is need to amend the Sexual Offences Act to effect that where a sexual offence has been committed between two minors, none of them should be charged in the court of law. It is a matter that should be dealt with in the community. Minors should be well educated on the dangers of premarital sex,” notes Justice Ongijo.
Justice Ongijo also delve into the infamous ruling issued by Judge Said Chitembwe who freed a 24 year old man convicted of defiling a minor. Chitembwe who served as the Malindi Court judge then, failed to convict the accused person, arguing that the minor behaved in a manner likely to suggest she was an adult.
“Such rulings sets bad precedents for our justice system and exposes minors to further violations,” she adds.
Under the Sexual Offences Act, a child below the age of 18 years cannot give consent to sexual intercourse and therefore, all intimacy with children, willing or not, is defilement.
Muthomi Thiankolu of Muthomi and Karanja Advocates however noted a landmark ruling by High Court in Meru where a group of young girls successfully challenged the government on its inaction regarding sexual violence against children.
“The case is commonly referred to as the “160 girls case.” The petitioners in this case were majorly girls who had been defiled on diverse dates by a teacher. When they reported the matter to police, their case was mismanaged; the police were not willing to record statements or do proper investigations,” narrated Thiankolu.
Thiankolu who was the lead advocate in the case say when the matter went before the High Court in Meru, the judge ruled in favour of the girls, ordering the police to conduct prompt and effective investigations into each girls’ cases as well as take measures to fulfill their constitutional duties to comply with human rights standards in all cases of defilement.
“This case made a legal history in Kenya and globally as it brought to light the plight that many survivors of sexual violence have to endure before perpetrators are finally brought to book. This is a classic case that depicts the importance of strategic litigation in the society,” says Thiankolu.
Over the past few months there has been a wave of storm of sexual violence in school majority to which are committed by teachers who are supposed to be the custodians of learners while in school “loco parentis”.
In 2017, the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) struck off 71 male teachers for misconduct. In 2016, 22 teachers who had sexual relations with their students were banned from ever teaching in Kenya while in 2015, another 126 teachers were deregistered.

In the wake of this, the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) said that principals would now be held accountable for the safety of learners in schools. But that is not enough; according to the teachers who spoke at this year’s annual head teachers conference in Mombasa, there is need for the installation of surveillance cameras in schools as well as the employment of former military officers to boost security and curb sexual violence in schools.
In the courtrooms however, judges and magistrates are concerned of the emerging incidences where teachers stand as sureties to colleagues who commit sexual offences. It is such that has opened the gates court petitions against TSC for the failure to provide safe school environments and thereby exposing learners to SGBV but also the risk of being infected with HIV/AIDS.
One such public interest litigations was one spearheaded by CREAW and litigated by John Chigiti of Chigiti and Chigiti Advocates. This case brought to light the plight of students in the hands of their amorous teachers. In this, TSC were ordered by the court to put in mechanism to prevent and effectively respond to G.B.V violations with the intent of protecting learners in school.
“TSC cannot shuffle paedophiles from one school to another, and finally, content itself with dismissals. It has to put in place an effective mechanism, whether through an inspectorate department within TSC or the Quality Assurance Department within the Ministry, to ensure that no-one with the propensity to abuse children is ever given the opportunity to do so. Dismissal, and even prosecution, while important, can never restore the children’s lost innocence,” read the judgment delivered by Justice Mumbi Ngugi in 2015.

April 13, 2018by CREAW0

Counselling and legal aid components are filling a critical gap in services at the community. CREAW provides GBV survivors with psycho-social counseling and advice on a wide range of issues ranging from spousal abuse and defilement, to family neglect. When requested by the survivor, case managers/counsellors usually provide couples counseling and counseling of the perpetrator(s) in the attempt to resolve problems in the family, and, prevent further abuse creating harmonious living.
In addition to providing legal advice and referrals, the legal component provide vital legal support activities, such as following up the status of court cases; liaising with the courts and criminal justice system; and providing court preparation and support to survivors testifying in court. In Kibera community, these types of services were not easily available to GBV survivors prior to CREAW.
CREAW has had a positive impact on survivors. Not only GBV survivors in the region access the service from CREAW but from other regions such as Mathare, Dandora and other parts of Nairobi. Those who have received services from CREAW, their lives have changed and they feel they are no longer victims but empowered survivors. A female survivor noted:
“I am free, happy and self-sustainable; if it was not of this organization I would be dead. I had gone through a lot in my family, when I heard of CREAW’s support from other survivors who were supported by CREAW, I visited them and that step changed my life completely. Since that time I am living well with my family. I will always refer people to CREAW, I have already referred 5 people, since I received the services in the past six months.”

April 12, 2018by CREAW0

Family institutions serve as basis for communal structures yet the scourge of violence between men and women as a result of inequality cultured by the gendered norms seems to tear down structures that build the communities. In the wake of the scourge, women and girls are mostly affected.
It is a tale that Catherine Wangui knows too well; in the wake of the 2007-08-post election violence her cousin was sexually assaulted and their property destroyed leaving them with no house to shelter.
Seeing her cousin go through the rape ordeal and not having the capacity to help opened her eyes to the issues of gender based violence (GBV) and its severity. Her resolve was to find solutions to what was ailing the communities living in Laini Saba village in Kibra.

A community forum on gender based violence in Kibera. PHOTO: CREAW/ Dennis Hombe

“In Kibra the cases of rape and domestic violence seems to be rampant. Communities must be educated to rise above such crimes with adverse effects on women and girls. Violence is never a way of life but a catastrophe,” says Wangui.
Statistics from the UN Women indicates that an estimated 35 percent of women worldwide have experienced either physical or sexual violence perpetrated by an intimate partner or known partners at some points in their lives. Such cases not only affect the health and safety of women and girls but also lead to loss of lives.
The 2014 Kenya Demographic Health Survey defines gender based violence as any physical, sexual or psychological violence that occurs within the family or general community.
Youth forum on gender based violence in Kibera. PHOTO: CREAW/ Dennis Hombe

Today, Wangui is one of the benevolent anti-GBV champions who uses the SASA Model (community centered approach on behavior change) to sensitize and mobilize communities into action in addressing gender based violence from the household level to the communities.
The SASA! approach implemented in four phases; Start, Awareness, Support and Action aims to inspire, enable and structure effective community mobilization to prevent violence against women and HIV/AIDs. It questions the cultural norms surrounding GBV and ultimately works towards preventing gender based violence and its connection to prevalence of HIV/AIDS.
Community forum in Kibera. PHOTO: CREAW/ Dennis Hombe

The program is being implemented by CREAW in partnership with the Embassy of Finland and additional support from the Jewish World Service (AJWS) . Much of the work entails working directly with community activists to create awareness, challenge the attitudes, behaviours and cultural practices that negatively impact women and girls around five villages of Kibra. The villages include: Lindi, Laini Saba, Makina Kianda and Gatwekera.
“It is important that GBV issues are addressed at the grassroots level where power is the root cause of negative social norms, attitudes and cultures that negatively affect relations between men and women, “explains Aggrey Okan’ga, a community activist from Lindi Village.
Okan’ga notes, “even though the knowledge on GBV exists among people living in Kibra, it is yet to translate into change in attitudes and behaviours of communities. Instead, communities choose to normalize early marriages, domestic violence and child exploitations as common and acceptable practice. The more reason, why we need to sustain the momentum in educating communities to stem such practices.”
Like Wangui, Okan’ga also underwent the capacity building trainings that were supported by CREAW. To acquire the tittles community activists come mentors trained annually and armed with tools that help them to engage communities in conversations that seek to change not just their knowledge but also their attitudes, skills and behaviours which are replicated in what they say and in their actions.
The SASA model works with a network of community activists who are well known in the community and the work that they do. They are regarded as community leaders hence act as the key points of referral on GBV cases across the five villages where the program is being implemented.
To influence change, Okan’ga has been engaging community opinion shapers like chiefs, village elders, religious leaders, women leaders and the youth in community discussions to challenge power imbalances in the family units.
“As activist we reach at least 300 community members per village through the forums. The meetings are structured in such a way that we reach the participants either in their formal or informal settings. Our discussions are normally held in the market place, sports grounds or churches, mosques and schools, and other ‘spaces where small groups of people meet and engage in ‘small talk’ on current affairs and things that they are unhappy about;” explains Okan’ga
“As result of the engagement in the community the number of referrals form the community has improved. We get calls from families in distress, mothers whose children have been affected by sexual violence or those who have marital concerns regarding custody of children,” Pauline Aroko, CREAW Case Officer in Kibra.
Pauline Aroko, Case Officer speaks on the SASA! Model and how it is changing communities. PHOTO: CREAW/ Dennis Hombe

She says the case officers are often called upon to mediate on family feuds and support the warring groups to come to an amicable agreement especially on the care and protection of their children.
“We have also been able to create a good working relationship with the GBV service providers that has efficiently improved the referral system and aided the efficiency in the follow-up of cases and the provision of services to the GBV survivors,” Aroko explains.

April 9, 2018by CREAW0

We meet Caren Ruto at the Nchiiru Police Station and she quickly usher us in to the Gender Desk office and offers us seats with a warm smile and gentle spirits; a gesture that takes away the distress and stress that is usually associated with visiting a police station.

Caren Ruto supports survivors of gender based violence at the Nchiiru Police Station. PHOTO CREAW/ Christine Ogutu

The Gender Desk office is unique and one is quick to notice the walls which are neatly painted in white; the walls come alive with informational posters designed to provide useful information on gender based violence referral pathways to the survivors who visit the office for help.
Caren is among the 38 police officers from Meru County who were trained on GBV related laws and efficient handling of GBV cases with an aim to equip them with the necessary skills to properly document and store evidence from the first point of reporting or initial contact to ensuring the survivors get appropriate response in the referral system.
“After the trainings I came back and shared the information with fellow officers who are now more sensitive to the survivors of GBV. Through that, the male officers manning the reception desk now refer survivors to the gender desk for help. Previously, survivors would come but shy away from reporting,” she notes.
A few kilometers away in Kariene, resides Susan Achieng; a police Copral whose work also bore resemblance to that of Caren. Both of them are charged with the duty of supporting GBV survivors at the police gender desks in their respective stations.
For Susan, her duties go beyond the call of office; she has taken it upon herself to create awareness on GBV issues among communities living in Munjwa Village, Imenti Central Sub-County. “It is my duty to let the communities know what I do in the gender desk as police officer; I work for the general public. And if they do not know what I do then I think I am not well placed,” she says
Copral Susan Achieng works with chiefs to create awareness on GBV in Kariene. PHOTO CREAW/Christine Ogutu

At the village level she works with the local administration structures like Chiefs to organize community Barazas that bring on board men and women from across the villages. Chiefs are well known at the community level and are often the first point of referral to GBV cases.
“When we go to the community we discuss the sexual offences that occur including all the other forms of GBV like FGM and Domestic Violence. I have a village that is prone to defilements and rape that we are working to increase vigilance and bring perpetrators to book as well as make communities understand that such crimes are against the law and should not be solved out of court,” Susan explains.
She adds: “We tell them what to do when affected by sexual offence and how they can report. Some survivors keep quiet because of the stigma associated with rape, defilement and domestic violence.”
She says at first she was just a normal police officer but when CREAW came on board and organized for trainings for police officers stationed in Meru County she came to understand the importance of going to the in-depths when investigating GBV cases to have solid evidence for successful prosecution.
“We have what is called Tamman where we come together as officers to discuss the emerging issues and the needed response. I shared what I had learnt with them and the reaction was positive. They were eager to learn and wanted to know more,”
Even though her advocacies in the community continue to gain momentum; Susan expresses concern over the lack of safe shelters for the survivors of gender based violence that has forced her to sometime stay with the survivors to protect them from repeated attacks.
Through the Haki Yetu, Jukumu Letu (Our rights, our responsibility) initiative anchored within the Access to Justice program, the Center for Rights, Education and Awareness (CREAW) has been working to strengthen the capacity of police officers to effectively investigate and prosecute offenders. The trainings targets police officers who mans the gender desks and crime office with an aim to enhance their knowledge and skills on documentation, proper storage and handling of GBV exhibits as well as proper ways to create networks and linkages in the grassroots and with key actors working on the prevention and response to gender based violence in the larger Meru County.

April 6, 2018by CREAW0

Asenath Kaimuri says when women combine their efforts, the impacts and contribution towards policy and legislative development is more extensive than individual efforts.
This is in reference to the newly formed Meru County women caucus aimed at championing for the inclusion of women in political governance and development processes.
“We operate in an environment that does not accord women a space to participate in the governance and political processes despite the right to equal representation from both genders having been enshrined in the Constitution. I knew the only way to make our voices louder in the County Assembly is to have all women legislators working together with a common goal to push the women agenda,” says Kaimuri.

Kaimuri is the chairperson for the Meru Women Legislative Association (MEWOLA); a caucus of women legislators at the County Assembly of Meru formed to chat the path for the women agenda owing to the cultural challenges that underpins political representation in the County.
The Caucus is headed by a secrteriate that includes, the Chairperson, Vice Chair, Secretary, Assistant Secretary, Treasurer.
During the 2017 general elections, only two women were directly elected to the County Assembly of Meru. 21 members were nominated by the various political parties to fill in the gender threshold as per the Constitutional provisions of the two-thirds gender principle.
“Most elected MCAs are men and they feel they have more rights than the women when it comes to appointment in the House committees. At first none of the women were elected to chair the committees but after push and pull from the women legislators, only one was given a slot to chair the County Cohesion and Devolved Unit Committee,” she says.

“The Committee positions were politicized as well. The criteria used was regionalized based on the Wards which only factored the male membership in the Assembly leaving out of the key policy decision making processes,” adds Kaimuri noting that the environment for women leadership has since changed.
That did not however deter them from pushing forward to have their voices heard. Their persistence garnered then positions as the vice chair of the house committees…name them.
Today the MEWOLA is in the process of drafting a strategic plan that would guide their operations in the coming five years. Key among the strategic focus is the enactment of the Meru County Sexual and Gender Based Violence policy for an effective prevention and response of GBV and create budgets that are gender sensitive.
“We aspire to create strategic partnerships wit state and non-state actors to ensure gender issues are mainstreamed in the county.” She explains.
In the last County Integrated Development Plan, gender issues were not well articulated posing a challenge to the implementation of projects that adhere to the issues of inclusivity including people living with disability.
For decades CREAW has been working to equip women with the knowledge to be able to challenge societal norms that underpins their ascension to appointive and elective positions. With the knowledge, the women gain the confidence to engage with key decision makers on accountability issues on the rights of women and girls. Through that; they are also able to vie and get elected into the county and national assembly and able to influence key policies that enables for the actualization of the inclusion of women in the development processes as well us address the scourge of gender based violence in the communities.

April 5, 2018by CREAW0

Meet Irene Wanjiku and Samuel Mugure; a couple who called it quits after 22 years of marriage. Theirs was an experience of an ending anguish and contempt that stood in the way of the way of the rights of their children and more so education of their 13 year old daughter. After months of feuding, they agreed to solve their feud out of Court. Through CREAW mediation services, they agreed to set their differences aside and agreed on child maintenance. They tell their story of how mediation helped bring together their family.

What circumstances led to you to mediation? Wanjiku: My husband and I separated 3 years ago. We had been married for 22 years and had five children; four of which are adults and are already married. I was left with our 13-year-old daughter who is now in her first year of high school. When my husband moved out in 2015, it was extremely upsetting for all of us and we decided that he would never be part of our life again. We cut all means of communication and engagement with him.
Samuel: When I moved out I was bitter and my emotions ran high. My children were not talking to me any more. I was pained and did not know what to do. I did not want to cause more conflict so I decided to also cut them off from my life. Over the years, the distance between my family and I grew even bigger, there were more frictions and my children denounced me as their father and would not want anything to do with me.
What actions did you take as parents to end the family feuding?
Wanjiku: When our 13-year-old daughter graduated from primary school in 2017, I had no means to support her through to high school. I reached out to Samuel but he was adamant to engage with me; he did not pick my calls. As days grew for the Form One admissions, I was worried that our daughter would miss out. I was desperate; there was a need for a truce for the sake of our children. The thought of going to Court criss-crossed my mind but I had no idea where to start from and how much it would cost me. Again time was not on my side. I approached our area chiefs who tried to mediate on our issues three consecutive times but it failed. That is when I heard of CREAW and decided to approach them.
Samuel: I felt like the Chief was leaning on one side He was not neutral and did not want to hear my side of the story and so I walked out of the sessions. When I got a demand letter from CREAW, I also thought I would go through the experiences. At first I did not heed to the call, but after various calls from CREAW I agreed to the discussions. Deep down, I wanted peace between my children and I despite our differences as a couple.

What was the mediation process like for you both?
Wanjiku: At CREAW officers were so approachable and warmly. They were willing to support us reach an amicable solution. Initially I had a one-on-one meeting with our mediator and explained our issues but he called for both of us in one sitting. The first one did not bore any fruit and so the mediator reached out to both of us separately then there was a third meeting that brought us together.
Samuel: Seeing how we had progressed in our conversations, I was confident that we would finally agree on issues. Beyond that, all the further meetings were together allowing for an open talk and exchange of ideas how we could co-share our responsibility to our daughter. There were issues of her upkeep and maintenance but first we had to agree on her education. The mediator supported us in agreeing how to split the responsibility. I wanted a boarding school that I could afford which my wife agreed to. A month later, we both took our daughter to school. It was a joyous moment; my wife also agreed to visit our rural home, which was nearer to the school. This was after several years.
What can other couple learn from your experience?
Wanjiku: It was not an easy process but I am happy we resolved our issues. Though we are separated our key interest now is for the benefit of our younger child. I am at peace knowing that my daughter’s needs are well catered for and my family is at peace again.
Samuel: Initially I did not care whether the matter proceeded to court but now that I understand the benefits of a mutual agreement when it comes to our children, I appreciate the need for the out of court resolution. Mediation processes brings a sense of relief and opens the avenue to dialogue and we incurred no cost. The court processes would however be long and tedious.

April 4, 2018by CREAW0

The Constitution of Kenya 2010 ushered in a new era for the judicial systems in Kenya. It provided for the establishment of the Court Users Committees (CUCs) at the National and County level. This was to provide a platform for key actors in the administration of justice and the public to participate in efforts to strengthen the judicial processes as well as create solutions to the challenges in the delivery of justice.
Prior to the constitutional dispensation, there existed low public confidence in the judiciary associated with the long and complicated judicial processes especially when it came to matters gender based violence and the laws that prohibit acts of domestic violence, female genital mutilation and sexual offences. These problems also included the corruption that compromised judicial officers; the technicalities involved in the administration of justice and lack of clear communication or feedback channels between the judiciary and the consumers of justice.
It is against this backdrop that CREAW works with CUCs in Meru and Kilifi counties with an aim to ensure that due process of the law is followed for GBV cases and matters are handled in a timely manner. Through the Haki Yetu, Jukumu Letu project, CREAW has been sensitising the CUC members who include state and non-state actors on gender based violence issues with an aim to bridge the gaps that exists in addressing such cases among the judicial officers and communities.
“The CUC has created an enabling environment for us to discuss issues that affects communities on daily basis. We not only prioritize on GBV issues but also on issues of succession and land,” said Harrison Wachira who is a Prosecutor at the Githongo law Courts in Meru County.
The key actors who constitutes the Githongo Law Courts CUC includes the police, civil society organizations, local administration, Magistrates among many others.
During the first one year of project implementation, CREAW worked to train members of the CUC on their roles in expediting justices and coordination mechanism that went in line to strengthen the GBV referral pathways within the lager Meru.
Wachira explains that at the Githongo Law Courts most cases that are reported are on sexual offences and physical assault that are sometimes associated with fights in liquor dens and issues of land and succession between among married couples.
“The CUC meets quarterly with key agendas generated by the members depending on the prevailing circumstances and the matters that are arising in the community. Currently the sexual offences have gone up; for the period of November and January many cases of defilement were reported making it our major agenda when we will be having our next meeting for the first quarter of 2018,” Wachira adds.
The CUCs works with the local administration structures who are also members and the first point of referral on GBV cases and crime committed in the villages to sensitize communities during the weekly barazas with an aim to empower communities to provide support to GBV survivors and ensure their rights are upheld at all times.
“The sensitization in the community has improved the way in which communities report cases. The impacts to which have been reflected in the decrease of sexual offences reported within Githongo and Nkubu areas,” notes Wachira.

According to the data from the Court registries, Nkubu Law Courts registered 43 cases of sexual offences in 2016. The number has however gone down to 32 in 2017; a reduction attributed to the increased gender sensitivity, responsiveness and interdisciplinary engagement of the court with other stakeholders where the magistrates have also initiated public baraza at the grassroots.
“When in the communities without the Court uniforms the communities are able to share their felt needs and problems without any fear. We interact and they are able to share their experiences and challenges in the households,” says Wachira.
He adds that “Educated communities will rarely engage in acts of violence and therefore it is critical that the momentum is sustained in sensitizing the community on issues such as defilement and domestic violence that has for a long time affecting many school going children.”
The patriarchal nature of communities living in the larger Meru County is however an impediment to the anti-GBV war. “The gendered norms and practices does not take into consideration the right of women to inherit matrimonial properties. People still feel that women have no right to inherit land hence the squabbles between men and women,” he notes.

April 3, 2018by CREAW0

When one thinks about Meru County, one gets the image of undulating hills covered with lush green vegetation of crops and natural forests sandwiched between the expansive Mount Kenya escapements; a picturesque depicting a region at peace with itself.
This is however a disguise to the scars of pain and anguish experienced by young girls as a result of the high prevalence of gender based violence (GBV) that has become part of the fabric of communities. The repercussions that not only render them into early motherhood but also compromise their health and security.

The National Crime Research in 2015 cited Meru County as one of the areas with increased cases of violence against women and girls. Among the GBV cases reported, Meru County reported 34.9% of killings and murder of survivors as compared to Nakuru and and Nyeri with a prevalence of 15.2% and 9.5% respectively.
It is against this backdrop that CREAW in partnership with the Embassy of Netherlands has been implementing a project dubbed Haki Yetu, Jukumu Letu (Our Rights, Our Responsibility) with an aim to stem out gender-based violence and keep girls in school.
The project that is in its first year of implementation seeks to strengthen the capacity of duty bearers on GBV prevention and response. Key among those targeted are headteachers among other duty bearers from across sectors in Meru and Kilifi Counties.
“After attending the trainings I went back and shared the knowledge with my pupils and other teachers. Since then, the pupils are opening up on the issues of violation on their rights both at home and in school,” explains Mugambi who was one of the teachers trained on how to handle the sporadic GBV cases meted on school going children.
“Before the trainings, the knowledge I had was just about the everyday curriculum. With the trainings, the management of the school operations has also become so easy,” he adds.
The trainings which are done in partnership with the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) focuses on issues of child protection, reporting procedures, investigation, collection and the preservation of evidence as well as the general judicial procedures.
Ankamia Primary School with an enrolment of 635 pupils in 2017 is not new to instances of defilements and teenage pregnancies. In 2017, the school reported one incidence of teenage pregnancy and children defiled by people known to them in the nearby villages.
“Recently there was a child who was defiled by a neighbour. When she came to school in the afternoon I noticed she was disturbed and was not able to concentrate in class. I first engaged female teachers to talk to her but she did not speak out. When I called her and encouraged her, she narrated her ordeals at the hands of the perpetrator that occurred earlier in the day,” he recalls.
“My first point of action was to go to police station and also to the girl for medical examination which turned out to be positive for rape. The matter is now in court but we continue to offer psychosocial support to her through our guiding and counselling teachers,” Mugambi explains.
Mugambi has so far put up speak out box to enable children open up on the issues that affects their everyday learning environment. The Speak-Out box, placed in a strategic place enables pupils to speak with confidentiality without having to shy away for fear of being recognized by peers.

“Last year there were class eight pupil who was found with a knife in school. I got wind of the information through other pupils who also said the said pupil was selling drugs in school. Since then we held various talks with the pupils theming the topics on issues of drugs and substance abuse within the health clubs to create awareness on the negative effects of drugs and how it affects performance. This year everything has started well and there are no major issues of indiscipline,” he explains.
Today, Mugambi says most of the issues found in the speak-out box are the issues of bodaboda riders luring girls with gifts to offer sexual favours when the are going and coming from school. We have also seen issues of drug abuse and domestic violence within the families in the villages bordering the school.
“My plan of action this year is to have teachers compose poems and plays that mirrors the society on issues of gender based violence for the music festivals. This will help sustain the sensitization efforts in school and to enable pupils understand how they can protect themselves from violations as well as get help,” he says.
GBV among children especially girls includes psychological abuse, defilement, child neglect and bullying from teachers and other pupils in school. It also includes practices such as the female genital cutting, which is performed as a right of passage to adulthood among communities.
Ankamia School also boasts of a counselling club that has a vital role in aiding discipline of school going children through talks that creates a positive tilt in their behaviours, academic and social growth.


January 25, 2018by CREAW0

By Christine Ogutu

With the new Constitutional dispensation in 2010, the women of Kenya were hopeful of a new beginning that would enable them participate in the democratic governance of the country.

The Constitution of Kenya 2010 created avenues necessitating an affirmative action aimed at reducing gender imbalances in leadership positions. Article 26 (6), 27 (8) and 81(b) postulates that not more than two-thirds of the members of any elective or appointive positions shall be of the same gender.

Seven years down the line, the provisions of the Constitution are yet to be met. Women representation in public bodies and Parliament remains minimal owing to the lack of political good will in providing legislative mechanisms for the realization of the two-thirds gender principle.
“ For too long, the women of Kenya have been intentionally excluded from decision making processes, deliberately denied the right to be fully represented in Parliament and constantly overlooked with regards to positions of appointment to public office,” said the women in a statement delivered to the Office of the President during a march on January 22 along the streets of Nairobi.
The women who were joined by CREAW, FEMNET, Groots Kenya, Katiba Institute, Kenya Human Rights Commission and the Women Empowerment Link among other concerned rights groups and Kenyans of goodwill took to the streets in protest of the continued discrimination and exclusion of women from the governance processes.
The women stated that “whereas it is clear in Law and Courts decisions that there can not be more than two-thirds of any gender in elective and appointive positions, the principle has not been adhered to in Parliament nor has it been given any consideration in the ongoing appointments of the Cabinet.”
Currently there are 76 women in the National Assembly, which is 41 short of the required number. In the Senate, there are 21 female senators, which is also two short of the required number resulting into an improperly constituted parliament as per the Constitution.
“We find it unconscionable, disrespectful and an affront to the women, that more than 7 years since the promulgation of the Constitution, women are still forced to agitate for their right to political participation and equitable representation in Parliament and in the Executive,” read the statement in part.
Recently in his first batch of nominees to Cabinet, the President dropped all women in his earlier Cabinet, naming only men. This, women said is a dishonor to the gains made by the women movement since independence.
“The President, Parliament and Political class must stop sacrificing women for political expediency and wake up to the realization that women remain vigilant and will continue to seek accountability for the implementation of the Constitution,” said Beatrice Kamau who read the statement on behalf of the women.
She added: “The remaining appointments to the Cabinet must therefore be made with uttermost regard to the principle of the not more than two-thirds as enshrined in the Constitution and fulfill the directives of the Court which also found the previous Cabinet to be unconstitutional.”
In the march, the women sought to remind Parliament of its duty as a legislative body to enact the necessary legislations for the actualization of the two-thirds principle. This they say will bridge the gaps that have for a long time denied women their spaces at the decision-making tables.
In march, the women also petitioned the Inspector General of the Police, Joseph Boinet to speed up investigations on the alleged sexual violence against nursing mothers at the Kenyatta National Hospital(KNH) and bring perpetrators to book.

“KNH is an institution in a position of authority and trust and therefore owes a duty of care to its patients. It therefore follows that the administration should have systems and structures that protects vulnerable patients and responds to any acts or omissions that breach the duty of care,” read the petition.

The concerned women of Kenya said that it was insensitive and unethical for the hospital administration to casually deny the claims of sexual assault as no survivor had come forward to report any of such cases.

“It is not enough for the Cabinet Secretary of Health Cleopa Mailu to order for investigations without himself visiting the hospital to ascertain the veracity of the allegations and satisfy himself that all the measures are being taken by the hospital to secure the safety of patients and  ensure full cooperation of hospital staff in bringing forward evidence concerning the allegations,” said the women.