"The civil society remains committed to doing our part to contribute to ending GBV. We look forward to working with your Government towards this mutual goal."
Dear H.E. Dr. William Samoei Ruto, CGH. President of the Republic of Kenya and Commander-In-Chief of the Kenya Defence Forces
Your Excellency, I salute the Government of Kenya for the efforts made towards gender equity.
The 2022 16 days of activism campaign against gender-based violence (GBV)—themed 'Ending femicide by spotlighting certain groups of women who are more vulnerable’—provides an opportunity once again for the Government of Kenya to reflect on the current status of GBV, the commitments made, and how we forge ahead for a better Kenya for all.
The situation of GBV is grim for many reasons, including the national statistics of 47% of women in Kenya likely to face physical and or sexual gender-based violence in their lifetime and over one in five girls facing child marriage or female genital mutilation (FGM).
We need to double our efforts to meet the constitutionally promised and publicly-stated commitments to end GBV (Kenya Demographic and Health Survey.2014). The time to act is NOW!
Your Excellency, congruent to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) commitment to Gender Equality, Kenya developed a roadmap for advancing gender equality and advancing all forms of GBV and FGM by 2026.
Through the Generation Equality Forum, Kenya made a commitment in 2021 to accelerate action to:
- Ratify international and regional conventions to end gender-based violence against women and girls in all their diversity by 2026.
- Scale up implementation and financing of evidence-driven prevention strategies to drive down the prevalence of gender-based violence against women in national policies by 2026.
- Scale up implementation and financing of coordinated gender-based violence survivor-centred, comprehensive, quality, accessible, and affordable services for survivors of GBV, with sectoral action plans on GBV which include the provision of police, justice, health, and social sector services by 2026.
Your Excellency, we acknowledge the progress made towards the commitments, namely the review of the National Policy on Prevention of and Response to Gender Based Violence (GBV) 2014; the financial allocation of Sh129M for GBV and Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) elimination and Sh120M as Counterpart for GBV Prevention and Response Kenya-Finland bilateral program; efforts towards the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Convention 190 ratification; the development of guidelines for the establishment of Gender Based Violence Recovery Centres (GBVRCs); the GBV survivor fund for 10 counties; and the establishment of Gender Sector Working Groups. In June 2021, Kenya adopted a gender-based violence indicator in the Government’s performance monitoring framework, which will ensure that the enforcement and implementation of GBV laws and policies are tracked.
Your Excellency, we call upon the Government of Kenya to make true all the commitments to safeguarding women and girls by:
- Institutionalizing each of the 12 commitments by linking each to a state department for action planning and budgeting, while also entrenching their implementation at the county level.
- Strengthening the utilization of gender statistics in informing the design, scale-up, and evaluation of FGM and GBV programming and the introduction of a module on GBV in the 2022 Kenya Demographic Health Survey.
- Expediting the approval of the reviewed National Policy on Prevention of and Response to Gender-Based Violence (GBV) and completion of the ratification process for ILO Convention 190 aimed at eliminating GBV and harassment in the workplace.
- Adopting and scaling up coordinated and multi-sectoral approaches for prevention and response to GBV, including psycho-social support for survivors of violence; economic and social empowerment programmes; cash transfers; and community mobilization interventions to change unequal gender norms among others.
- Strengthening enforcement and implementation of laws and policies related to gender-based violence including by training the police and those who provide medical and legal support for GBV.
Your Excellency, the civil society remains committed to doing our part to contribute to ending GBV. We look forward to working with your Government towards this mutual goal. Thank you Sir!
International Centre for Research on Women (ICRW)
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