covid 19 Archives - CREAWKENYA


December 17, 2021by CREAWKENYA

In the advent of COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the Kenyan government took measures to curb the spread of the virus. One such intervention was the indefinite closure of schools. Children had to go back home, unfortunately, some went back to parents who had lost their means of livelihoods or worse still, some lost their parents through the virus.

Meru county was not different from other parts of the country. In fact, Ripples International, a child focused organization had to open wide its doors for abused children as many cases were being reported.

“A lot of rescue procedures were hampered, hence we had to be innovative and that is how we started tele-counselling,” Says Prince Mwenda, Ripples International senior project manager.

On average, the Tumaini Center under Ripples International, can comfortably accommodate 40 children per year, however, 10 months into 2021, the center has already registered 53 girls and is still counting.

The influx in number of children and severe cases of abuse became a concern, as the center was overstretched in resources and could not offer much needed support to the young girls seeking a safe piece of haven in the institution.

“Thanks to the support we got from CREAW, we are able to afford food and other basic needs for the girls at the shelter. We also get counselling support for our girls and staff who need it,” Affirms Mwenda.

According to Brian Mwirigi, CREAW’s Pro-bono lawyer in Meru county,  children matters are very demanding, emotive and require right representations.

“Sometimes the case is brought to me when it is too late. Many survivors don’t report the first abuse due to perpetrators threatening them with death, hence repeated offence against the survivor,” Says Mwirigi.

Agnes Oduma is a Social Worker, who has been supporting girls at the Tumaini Center. According to her, she receives more cases of sexual abuse, followed by assault meted against the children.

“It breaks my heart to see these young ones brought it broken and traumatized. It is necessary to continue community sensitization and enlightening parents to take care of their children. Some have been abused by close family members,” Sighs Agnes.

Carol Muriuki, is a human rights champion and resident of Kithithina in Buuri, Meru County, is the go-to person when cases of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) occur in the area. Carol is among a group of champions trained on gender-based violence by CREAW through the Usawa na Haki project. She says that in most defilement cases, where the perpetrators are relatives of the survivor, were being hidden, leaving survivors to suffer.

“We have sensitized children on how they can report cases of defilement, especially where a relative is involved. From this, we have had children report such incidents to their teachers or to me,” she says.

Ms Mercy Nkatha, the assistant chief for Nduruma sub-location in Imenti Central, is a member of Utawala Chiefs Group that brings together 15 administrators bound by the desire to stem SGBV.

“We formed the group as chiefs to address our welfare, but in our meetings, we noted there was a rise in gender-based violence across our jurisdictions. Most of the concerns were cases of defilement and we decided to do something,” Ms Nkatha says.

The assistant chief notes that the CREAW training has helped them to better handle cases of defilement and domestic violence, making it possible for perpetrators to face justice. She has been led in sensitizing boda boda riders, members of Nyumba Kumi and other community members on SGBV.

With such efforts by various stakeholders working towards stemming out the vice of GBV and threatening the safety of women and girls, Usawa na Haki dhidi ya dhulma project hopes to achieve safe spaces for women and girls to flourish.


January 26, 2021by CREAW

In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, government enforced social distancing restrictions among them the stay at home order in a bid to suppress transmission of the Coronavirus and keep people healthy, but for many women and girls home became a ‘danger zone’ as they were forced to be in the ‘lockdown’ with their abusive spouses, partners and family members and cut off from supportive network and resources that could help them.

The ordeal of one evening morning in early July, brings gloomy memories to 38 year old *Nafula (not her real name). Her husband of three years had turned against her; what started as verbal insults progressed real quick into physical leaving her bruised.

“It was not the first time that he was abusive to me. At one point he hired goons to beat me up,” recounts Nafula.

Nafula’s own abusive experiences form part of the statistics of countless women and girls whose lives have been affected by the wave of gender based violence during the pandemic. In December 2020, a report by the National Crime Research Center indicated that incidences of gender based violence had increased by 92 percent in the period of January and June compared to that of January and December in 2019, with murder, sexual offences, defilement, grievous harm, physical abuse, child neglect and child marriages taking the larger chunk of cases.

Similarly, the Center for Rights Education and Awareness (CREAW) has received increased cases of women and girls reporting violations. On average, CREAW would received 20 cases in a month, with the Covid-19 pandemic, the numbers have spiked to 34 cases necessitated by the social and economic effects of COVID-19 on women and girls. Consequently, the demand for legal and counselling support was on the rise.

Amidst the surge, CREAW rolled out a 24 hour hotline-0800-720-186 to help survivors like Nafula to access support services virtually including legal information, counselling, access to safe shelters and referrals to other GBV services.

With the support from grassroots community champions and messaging on community radios and social media, CREAW has been able to publicise the hotline that now have over flow of cases reported even from the counties in the outskirts of Nairobi.

“Through the hotline, survivors are able to get timely legal aid services, information and psycho-social support to rebuild their lives,” says Nereah Oderah, the lead Counsellor who supports survivors through the helpline.

With the support from UNDP, CREAW has adapted its interventions to provide free tele-counselling and pro-bono legal services to survivors of gender based violence among them, women and girls who reside in the informal settlements of Nairobi. A total of 597 GBV survivors benefitted from pro-bono legal assistance & advice during the pandemic period.




January 26, 2021by CREAW

We meet Neema* (not her real name) in the informal settlements of Kawangware where she has been living for six months since her husband of 10 years beat her and threw her out in the cold in the wee hours of the night with her two children.

“For the last 10 years I have been married to him, there has never been peace in our home. Occasionally, we would fight even on the slightest provocation,” she says, adding that everything changed when she lost her job; her husband threw her and her two young children out in the cold, and she was left to fend for her children with no income in sight.

Sadly Neema* is not the only one facing domestic violence: her experience mirrors that of many women and girls who are increasingly being trapped with their abusers at home.

With the raging cases of COVID-19 pushing households into economic slumps, women and girls “locked” with their abusers are also finding it difficult to seek safety away from violence marred homes- cutting them off from their supportive networks and resources that could help them.

Like Neema, Kadija ( not her real name) is also another survivor of domestic violence from the informal settlements of Kibera. It has only been a month since she left the shelter where she had sought refuge after receiving constant abuse from her husband that only worsened during the pandemic.

“I am unemployed and depended on my husband. Because of the pandemic, he received a pay cut and we could barely afford to pay for food and rents. Many times we would fight even over minor things. I feared for my life and that of my children,” says 29-year-old Kadija who is now separated with the husband.

As the pandemic keeps raging on, CREAW’s owned hotline-0800720186 has been a buzz with women and girls making frantic calls to report violations and seek legal and referral services. On average, the hotline receives 90 cases in a month, this compared to 20 cases during the same time last year. Similarly, the rising incidences of violence against women and girls have been further affirmed by the data from the National gender based violence (GBV) hotline 1195, indicating a 55 percent surge with women accounting for nearly 70 percent of those cases.

With the pandemic disrupting access to essential support services to survivors of GBV, CREAW, with the support from UNDP Kenya, adapted its intervention in the community during the pandemic to ensure that women and girls- survivors, especially those living in the informal settlements of Nairobi receive the much needed support to heal and build resilience beyond the pandemic.

This includes, free legal information and representation, psychosocial support to help survivors heal from their traumatic experiences. In-addition, CREAW also integrated the survivors to the existing livelihood cash reliefs intervention supported by the European Union in Kenya and shelter services as they reorganise their lives.


January 20, 2021by CREAW

The last time *Sarah (not her real name) had a domestic scuffle with the husband; he nearly took life out of her.

“He came home drunk in the wee hours of the night, beat me up and stabbed me with a knife,” recalls Sarah as she chokes back tears. It was then that she made a decision to leave her matrimonial home.

Sarah recounts that it was not the first time that she had been abused by the husband; on several occasions, she was subjected to a slap, a punch, a kick… and to tap it all intimidation and coercion that only become worse during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Our first born daughter couldn’t take the abuse, she ran away from home. It got to a point where my husband wanted to rape her,” says the 55-year-old mother of four.

Before the pandemic, Sarah was a laundry woman, she would move from house to house doing laundry and other domestic chores, when the pandemic struck, no one was willing to employ her even for other menial jobs. She says, the Covid-19 pandemic is one of the worst moments in her life.

Sarah is however not alone, her experiences mirror that of many women and girls across Kenya whose lives have been affected by the wave of intimate partner violence during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Like Sarah, *Pendo (not her real name) was gang raped on her way home from the market. She had crossed over to Mombasa mainland from Likoni where she usually hawks cassava and coconut to make ends meet. The event of that fateful night left her with a life threatening hemorrhage.

In April, the government and women rights organizations, CREAW among them issued an alert of the increasing cases of gender based violence meted on women and girls. The recent study by the National Crime Research Center indicated a 92 percent increase in cases of GBV in the period of January and June 2020 compared to the same period in 2019. The nature of cases reported include, rape, assault, murder, sexual offences, defilement, child marriage, psychosocial torture and child neglect.

In the wake of this, CREAW with the support from Oxfam in Kenya adapted its intervention in Nairobi and Mombasa to provide support services to survivors of gender based violence like Sarah and Pendo. Mainly, the intervention targeted women and girls from informal settlements with cash reliefs to aid them in meeting basic necessities such as food, water, rent and healthcare for them and their families.

Through our European Union in Kenya – funded #SafetyNets program, 15,793 households have benefitted from monthly cash assistance.

“The first thing I did when I received the cash from CREAW is to pay rent and the rest of the monies I bought food, mask and sanitizer,” says Sarah who has also received a resilient fund from CREAW to establish a business that would sustain her and her four children.

Currently Sarah and Pendo also receiving continuous psychosocial support services to enable them heal and build resilience during the pandemic and thereafter.