Marked annually on March 8th, International Women’s Day is a global event set to commemorate the social, political, and economic achievements of women. Under this year’s theme “Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow”, PS Kenya joined the County Government of Kajiado and partners to mark this year’s celebration at Isara, Kajiado East, Kajiado County. The aim of the event was to sensitize women and the community about gender-based violence and the need to address gender biases and harmful traditional practices that limit women and girls from achieving their goals in life.
Through the Accelerate program, PS Kenya in partnership with the County is working towards increasing access to and utilization of comprehensive, inclusive and integrated Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights/ Maternal and Child Health services, increase access and utilization of comprehensive, inclusive and integrated GBV response and prevention services and strengthening respect for human rights.
In Kenya 45% of women of reproductive health have reported lifetime violence, including 20% and 8% who experienced physical violence and sexual violence in the past 12 months (KDHS, 2014). The situation worsened during the COVID-19 containment measures that restricted movement of women and girls exposing them to GBV.
Gender based violence takes many forms: sexual (rape/attempted rape, defilement, incest, sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, forced prostitution, as a weapon of war and torture, trafficking for sexual exploitation), physical (physical assaults/battering, including hitting, kicking, pushing/dragging, burning, chocking, attack with weapon), emotional (psychological including verbal abuse, insults, humiliation) and harmful traditional practices (FGM/C, early marriages, forced marriages, neglect, widow/wife inheritance and honour killing of girls).
Speaking during the celebration, the County Chief officer in charge of Gender, Christine Jaji highlighted that most common GBV issues affecting their community range from physical violence, sexual gender-based violence as well as harmful traditional practices such as child marriages. She urged women to both report and seek services after any GBV related issues in order to safeguard their physical, mental and psychological health.
Accelerate is a Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) and Gender-Based Violence (GBV) program funded by DANIDA and implemented in a consortium led by Population Services Kenya (PS Kenya) in partnership with the Gender Violence Recovery Centre (GVRC) and Population Services International (PSI).