•Invest Sh100 million annually for GBV research and innovation to boost evidence-based programming
•Your Excellency, many women and girls in Kenya feel unsafe to go to water and toilet points.
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, the Constitution of Kenya, 2010 provides for the right to clean and safe water and sanitation and mandates the government to put in place the necessary measures for the fulfilment of this fundamental right.
Accordingly, the institutions mandated to provide water and sanitation services have ensured informal settlement interventions are embedded within the water sector.
However, many women and girls, in Kenya, do not yet have safe access to water and sanitation at home, or close to home, especially in informal settlements.
Your Excellency, many women and girls in Kenya feel unsafe to go to water and toilet points, for many reasons, ranging from having to walk long distances in the dark to fetch water, unsafe toilet facilities and infrastructure, but also power relations between women and men, that lead to women feeling vulnerable at water points and sometimes being preyed sexually - SEXTORTION.
Sextortion is a real and serious yet silent gendered form of corruption and gender-based violence, that mostly affects women and girls. It is largely unreported due to fear of reprisal, social stigmatisation, feeling of guilt and shame.
Maureen, 25, fetches water in the morning with her sisters. When there is a water shortage, which is often, she must be out of the door by 4am. She walks for 30 minutes to the water point.
She has grown accustomed to harassment, often by people known to her. She feels powerless to do anything about it.
The men, mainly motorbike operators, often block the path and try to ‘woo' Maureen and her sisters.
At the water point, the vendor flirts with her and touches her without her consent, making her feel violated.
When Maureen stood up for herself, the water vendor behaves harshly, yelling at her for any spillage, hiking the price and often ganging up with vendors from other water points to abuse and body-shame her.
The story of Maureen is shared by many others, as captured on KEWASNET and ANEW’s baseline study in 2020 in Kibera and Mukuru Kwa Njenga. (Link)
Your Excellency, we call upon you to respond to GEF Commitment 6: Invest Sh100 million annually for GBV research and innovation to boost evidence-based programming through;
- Investment in adequate research to inform evidence-based programming including reporting mechanisms.
- Investment in gender-adapted infrastructure, especially WASH facilities.
- Enactment and implementation of new & existing laws and policies on the vile practice.
- Awareness creation & proper training for those handling such cases including the Police Force.
Help us make women and girls feel safe when accessing water and sanitation facilities.
Thank You Sir!
Kenya Water and Sanitation Civil Society Network
Amina Abdi Rabar, Media Personality, Award-winning TV and Radio Presenter | We are partnering with Better4Kenya to amplify this. |