Partners Commit to End GBV in Kenya
Gender-Based Violence (GBV) is a serious global health challenge, human rights violation, and development issue that continues to pose a challenge in the twenty-first century.
It is against this background, that Kenya held the first-ever Gender-Based Violence Prevention and Response Scientific Conference, 2022, to reinforce multi-sectoral and client-centered response against the vice.
Themed “Tackling Gender-Based Violence During Adversity; Beyond Timely Reaction” offered a unique and robust platform for introducing appropriate policies in curbing sexual and gender-based violence gaps in the country.
As a key participant in the conference, LVCT Health made both oral and poster presentations highlighting key achievements and lessons learned through its GBV prevention and response programming in coastal Kenya.
LVCT Health implements USAID Stawisha Pwani, a five-year program funded by the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to increase the use of quality county-led health services support and sustainability in quality of health services and systems for communities living in four coastal counties-Kilifi, Mombasa, Kwale and Taita Taveta.
Addressing participants during the official opening of the conference, Prof. Collette Suda, Principal Secretary for State Department for Gender, said the conference was timely as it coincided with Kenya’s first anniversary since the launch of 12 commitments and road map in advancing gender equality and the elimination of all forms of Gender-Based Violence and Female Genital Mutilation by 2026 in Kenya.
She called on sector players to move from “words to action” by demonstrating the milestones they are making in #EndingGBV in Kenya.
Since the rollout of the 12 commitments by H.E President Uhuru Kenyatta, the government has been working with various non-state partners, making notable strides toward ending GBV in Kenya. Some of the notable achievements highlighted during the conference, include submission of GBV sub-indicators on implementation of laws for inclusion in the Performance Contracts of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) for the financial year 2022/2023, investments in GBV and FGM programming through financial and technical support from development partners and the establishment of a three-tier leadership structure which comprises the National Advisory Committee, the National Steering Committee and a Secretariat.
Participants addressed various issues, including the country’s commitment to end Sexual Gender-Based Violence, coordination and partnerships in GBV response, and medical and legal aspects concerning GBV in Kenya.
The conference called for the inclusion of men, young boys, and youths in the GBV discussion platforms since adolescents and young girls ages 15-29 contribute to 61% of all new adult HIV infections.
“The reduction of new HIV infections is not fast enough to achieve the goal of ending AIDS as a public health threat by 2030,” said Dr Ruth Masha, Chief Executive Officer, National AIDS Control Board (NACC).
Dr Masha also noted that eliminating siloed projects and programmes is part of the government’s journey toward breaking the silence and increasing the capacity of all stakeholders to function in their spaces.
It is estimated that adolescents between the ages of 10-19 account for 98 new HIV infections every week, 29% of all anti-natal care attendance, and 53% of all the victims are related to sexual gender-based violence cases.
LVCT Health, through the 1190 toll-free line, has significantly reduced GBV cases by offering counselling and appropriate referrals to GBV survivors.
Through partnership with sector players, LVCT Health will use lessons and commitments from the conference to promote gender-inclusive programming for a GBV and HIV-free generation.
Story by Rebecca Musanga
Photos by Lomlen Stephen