Uncategorized Archives - CREAWKENYA

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February 4, 2020by CREAW

By Christine Ogutu

Thursday afternoon, the weather is chilly and the usually busy Githongo pitch has no sight of any young ones kicking around the ball in the pitch or athletes working out as in the usual. In the surroundings, the densely constructed shelters are slowly shifting the small rural town of Githongo to an urbanized community center.

Utawala Chiefs Group at the Githongo Chief Camp. PHOTO/CREAW

Looking on to the vast field in the left corner is the Githongo Chiefs Offices. Outside, a group of women and men are seen chit chatting. Their starched and well-pressed brown khaki uniform brings their steadfastness to the fore; their threaded shoulders mark them out as protectors and defenders of the larger community as their call of duty bestows them.

The uniformed women and men are Chiefs from Imenti Central, Meru County who came together to establish the 14 members Utawala Chiefs Group with an aim to better provide coordinated response to GBV matters in their localities. Today, they are having their usual biweekly meetings to discuss the emerging issues in the community.

At the location level in Kenya’s administrative system, Chiefs are charged with mandate to maintain order within their jurisdiction. For the Utawala group, the work in the community goes over and above their call of duty. They derive passion from a violence free society where women and girls live in dignity, are better protected and able to move freely and thrive and thus their continued conversations and coordinated response to the ills that bedevils their community.

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For more than two years now, they have been working together, raising their voices and driving conversations through Chiefs’ Barazas to educate their communities on the ills of GBV and the channels of reporting.

“I was privileged to be part of the Chiefs’ training that taught them on how to handle and support survivors when they report violations,” says Faith Kagwiria, a Chief at Kathurune West Location and also a member of the Utawala Chiefs.

As the first respondent when an incident occurs, it is paramount that Chiefs like Faith are well vast with the roles and responsibilities they play in regards to the various matters reported thus, CREAW through the Haki Yetu Jukumu Letu initiative came in handy to build their capacity to enable them to effectively support survivors and respond to the needs of the locals.

The initiative now in its third year of implementation and supported by the Embassy of Netherlands in Kenya equips Chiefs among other duty bearers with the knowledge on GBV related laws, how to document and report matters as well as how to set up community structures that promotes safe spaces in the community.

“Not a day goes, without widows flocking my office puzzled, confused and bewildered when their in-laws take away their matrimonial lands,” narrates Phyllis Mungatia who is the Chairperson of the Utawala Chiefs.

She says the inequalities when it comes to access and control of matrimonial land particularly in the agricultural rich region of Meru disenfranchises women.

It is such that draws the Utawala group to work with a unity of purpose. Their work in the community is slowly gaining momentum with the continued conversations, the community is slowly opening up and speaking out on matters such as incest that were shelved at family level.

“Apart from the weekly chief barazas, we also conduct targeted dialogues with men, women and in schools,” explains Stella Kinoti.

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She goes on to say that they have also consistently taught the village elders and area managers on how to tackle GBV noting that it takes both individual and community actions to create a ideal community for all. The Nyumba Kumi clusters have also come in handy to map out cases like female genital mutilation and child neglect.

But as Lucy Magiri puts it, their success has not been without the challenges. Sometimes they are forced to flee their homes or handle cases under cover for fear of their lives. Nonetheless, together, they affirm that their actions are just a starting point to lasting change in the community. They are positive that with their collective efforts, their neighbourhoods will violence free.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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January 31, 2020by CREAW

In Kilifi County, pregnancy remains a key barrier to girls’ education. In 2018 alone, over 17000 girls fell pregnant – some of the cases are attributed to wayward bodaboda riders who lure young girls with gifts and impregnate them; some girls also fall pregnant after being molested by those they trust most: relatives teachers and clergymen.

When we meet 16 year old *Riziki at her maternal grandparents home, she is cuddling her two year old son- a product of an affair she had with the bodaboda rider. Then, she was in Form two.

“I met him on my way to school and he offered to transport me,” she says. What followed were everyday rides that transitioned into sexual encounters.

“He promised to take care of me but denied being the father of my baby when I informed him I was pregnant,” says Riziki

Like many other girls in Kilifi, Riziki forms part of the statistics of girls whose dream to ascend higher in education and make their future a reality is cut shot by pregnancy emanating from wayward bodaboda riders.

In the wake of this, CREAW through the Haki Yetu Jukumu Letu initiative with the Embassy of Netherlands in Kenya incorporated the Bodaboda riders in the community outreaches where they learn how to ensure that children are safe and well protected from sexual violence and other ills in their communities.

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Daniel Tinga is the chairperson of Bodaboda riders in Kaloleni Sub County. He tells us that through the community outreaches he has learnt the dangers that sexual violence pose on the lives of young girls. From the lessons, he teaches his fellow riders to uphold respect and dignity of the women and girls they come into contact with.

“As a bodaboda rider I have the responsibility to ensure my customers whether young or old, arrive to their destination safely,” says Tinga.

In Ganze, Tinga’s counterparts are also organizing around the issue of defilement that has labeled them as perpetrators. In them is a resolve defy the ‘normal’ – they are building agency and using their voices to champion for good.

“ As a father I want, other girls in my community to grow well and complete their education just as my daughters. I want girls to fly high and build our village to greater heights,” says Shadrack Kazungu, a bodaboda rider at Matano Manne, Ganze Sub County.

He explains to us that after attending various community dialogues by CREAW his outlook on violence against women and girls has changed.

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“I learnt that cat calling and groping violates the rights of girls. Before I was never attentive to such matters because in my industry, they are ‘normal.’ I am glad there is a shift, the conversations have helped us build consensus amongst us,” he says while noting that, in their Association they are on the look out for individuals who goes against the ethics and conduct they have set as such, they are excommunicated and matters referred to the police.

At Kibaoni, the Bodaboda riders’ voices are even getting more louder in their day to day work. In their numbers, they want Kibaoni Bodaboda Association to be known for good. With their collective voices, they are certain that their community can only getter better.

“We have a good relationship with village elders and Chiefs within Kibaoni who help us in tackling gender violence matters even among our circles,” says Sudi Zalikini.

Writing by Christine Ogutu

 


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June 26, 2019by CREAW

Meru County has become the first county to domesticate model legislation on Sexual and Gender Based Violence.

The policy developed with the support from CREAW is designed to help accelerate and reinforce efforts towards the elimination of all forms of gender based violence (GBV) and improve the quality of life for women and men, boys and girls in the county.

Speaking during the launch of the policy, Meru County Governor Kiraitu Murungi reiterated his commitment to end all forms of gender based violence (GBV). The governor praised stakeholders for their support in addressing the vice in the county.

“I have a dream to make Meru great but we cannot do this with women being battered and oppressed yet they constitute half of the population,” said the Governor, while recognizing that women play a critical role in the development of communities they live in.

Governor Kiraitu explained that “the county government will increase access to quality and comprehensive response and support services across sectors and facilitate the establishment safe houses.” This will go along way in improving accountability SGBV service delivery.

In 2018, Meru County launched the Twaweza initiative to enable women build strong livelihoods and a voice to challenge oppressive norms that denies them the opportunity to lead.

“I commit to providing the necessary support- financial and human resources to ensure that the policy is well implemented. I am a womanist and I support the liberation of women and girls from all forms of violence and discrimination,” he said.

The adoption of the policy comes at a time when media reports are awash with cases of women being killed by their intimate partners and girls forced to undergo female genital mutilations.

The Gender and Special Development County Executive Member (CEC) Nkirote Kailanya bemoaned the high prevalence of SGBV in the county. Surveys have indicated that about 66.7 per cent of women have experienced GBV in the preceding 12 months.

“This policy was developed on the principle that SGBV represents not only a human rights violation, but also a hidden obstacle to economic and social development. Domestic violence not only entails private costs for the victims and their families, but also wider social and economic costs, which in the end slow down the rate of development of a community,” Kailanya said.

CREAW’s Executive Director Wangechi Wachira lauded the county effort to ensure that women and girls are better protected and are able to lead dignified lives.

“It is a great time for survivors. With the police more power and voice has been accorded to women and girls. We will continue to work with the County and stakeholders in ending GBV,” said Wangechi.

Stakeholders present at the event lauded the move stating that the policy will ensure that GBV services are better coordinated.

Writing by Christine Ogutu