The Accelerate project, an active member of the Gender-Based Violence (GBV) Technical Working Group (TWG) in Kajiado, took a significant step in addressing GBV by organizing a sensitization activity for bodaboda riders in the County. The event, held on 20th June 2024 at the Ildamat Stadium, brought together bodaboda riders, representatives from the county government, project staff, and local authorities.

The Bodaboda industry, which is part of the large transportation sector in Kenya, has unfortunately become a hotspot for gender-based violence, with bodaboda riders frequently being the perpetrators.  According to the 2021 ‘Women and Public Transport in Nairobi’ study, 52% of women reported witnessing sexual harassment while using public transport, and 27.9% personally experienced such harassment.

Furthermore, bodaboda riders play a vital role in transporting GBV survivors to nearby health facilities, especially in remote areas where motorcycles are often the only available means of transportation during emergencies due to their affordability and accessibility.

This sensitization activity aligns with the goals of the Accelerate project, which aims to improve sexual reproductive health and rights (SRHR) by reducing GBV and harmful practices. The project has achieved significant milestones, including providing family planning services to 216,625 women, with 50% choosing injections and 7% being adolescents. It has also made progress in SRHR policy advocacy and strengthened GBV and SRHR systems across 13 counties, including Kajiado, resulting in a cumulative Couple Years of Protection (CYP) of 545,432.

Jacinta Kibui, PS Kenya’s Social Behavior Change  Assistant, emphasized the importance of involving bodaboda riders in the fight against GBV. “Our goal is to empower every segment of the community to stand against GBV. Bodaboda riders interact with a diverse range of people every day, making them ideal partners in spreading awareness and providing support where it’s needed most,” said Jacinta.

During the activity, Deputy Officer Commanding Station Winnie Namanga, who also serves as the GBV focal person, highlighted the significance of community involvement in tackling GBV and urged bodaboda riders to speak up whenever they come across GBV cases.

“We encourage collaboration in creating awareness and curbing the spread of GBV in our community. Law enforcement alone cannot solve this issue; we need community-driven efforts. The riders’ involvement means we have more eyes and ears on the ground, which is vitally important in preventing and addressing GBV,” stated Winnie.

On the other hand, Catherine Mutinda, from the State Department of Gender in Kajiado County, emphasized the urgent need to abandon cultural strongholds that impede the fight against GBV.

“Addressing GBV requires a deep cultural shift and persistent community education. We need more grassroot involvement to change attitudes and behaviors towards GBV,” remarked Catherine.

With continued support and strategic partnerships, the Accelerate project is keen to ensure that more individuals are educated and empowered to fight GBV. Equipped with critical knowledge and resources, bodaboda riders now stand as new champions for change, spreading the message of safety and support across Kajiado.

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