A network of women organisations from the Coast region have called on the national and county governments to move with speed and establish Gender-Based Violence(GBV) recovery centres and safe houses in the six coastal counties to cater for GBV victims.
Addressing a press conference, the Coast Women Rights Movement raised the red flag over increased cases of gender-based violence, teenage pregnancies and female genital mutilation (FGM) in the region.
“We are also calling on the County Governments in the coastal region to actualise SDG 5 through strategic programmes that will counter the social-economic ills manifested in the region,” they added.
In a press statement read by Ms Tima Aboud, the Coast Women Rights Movement claimed that women in the region have been disproportionately affected by gender-based violence inhibiting their understanding of their fundamental rights to education, inheritance, family planning and property.
“Resultantly, many of the women have become predisposed to violent extremism because of the emotional and financial burdens brought by the harmful societal norms and practices,” they added.
The women drawn from more than 20 Coast-based grassroots were speaking after a two days capacity building workshop organised by the Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) Kenya at Neptune Beach Hotel.
FIDA Kenya is implementing a five-year women empowerment programme geared towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) of gender equality and strengthening women’s leadership and their participation in decision-making in the country.
The Coast Women Rights Movement steering committee member Triza Nafula Bwire said they are in the process of conducting a baseline survey in the region to determine the exact number of women affected by gender-based violence.
The group also want the national and county government to integrate GBV services – medical, legal, and psychological support services into the essential minimum package of the Universal Health Coverage UHC
They also called on the national and county to implement the recommendations that advance the elimination of GBV and enhance women participation in leadership and governance.
“We are also calling on the County Governments in the coastal regions to actualise SDG 5 through strategic programmes that will counter the social-economic ills manifested in the region,”
A representative of Tana River County in the Coastal women network, Halima Buyotu said cases of Gender-based violence and female genital mutilation are at 85 and 75 per cent respectively in the county.
“We appealed for urgent intervention from the national and county governments. Girls as young as four years have been subjected to FGM. The most affected areas are Madogo, Assa, Welden, Mulacho, Kone, Chewele and others,” added Amina.
The Coast Women Rights Movement also challenged the Counties of Mombasa, Kilifi, Kwale, Taita Taveta, Lamu and Tana River to ensure recruitments of staff meet the constitutional threshold of two-thirds gender rule.
FIDA Kenya Executive Director Anne Ireri said the forum is the first of a series of regional meetings to bring women leaders together to enhance women political participation in 2022 elections among other issues.
“We support women aspirants seeking different elective positions. We also help them to leverage in terms of election preparation. We are aware there is a lot to do with election issues. We want space for women safeguarded in election participation and respect for the rule of law,” added Ireri.
She praised Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Chairman Wafula Chebukati for declaring that he will reject any nomination list that will not comply with the two-third gender threshold.