- For sustainable change in tackling GBV, a people-centered approach is pivotal.
- It calls for a robust data ecosystem to comprehend justice needs, preventive strategies addressing root causes, information dissemination on legal rights.
In the relentless pursuit of gender equality, the year 2023 saw Kenya traversing significant milestones in implementing gender policies aimed at fostering equality and addressing the pervasive issue of gender-based violence (GBV) within its borders.
These policies, which include the National Policy on Gender and Development, the National GBV Policy Framework, the Sexual and Gender-Based Violence Strategy (2023-2030), and the Social Transformation through Access to Justice (STAJ) Blueprint (2023-2033), all aim to promote equality and eradicate discrimination.
They will continue to stand as beacons of hope in 2024.
Among the efforts were also the fundamental improvements in access to justice for SGBV victims spearheaded by the office of the chief justice.
Gender-based violence (GBV) remains a pervasive issue in Kenya, with Migori County marked as a hotspot, where 51 per cent of women endure its harrowing effects, surpassing the national average of 34 per cent.
This alarming reality demands immediate action and specialized intervention, particularly through the establishment of dedicated GBV courts in Migori County.
The urgency cannot be overstated, given the immense backlog of cases within mainstream courts, hindering timely justice for victims.
The STAJ blueprint, embodies a People-Centered Justice (PCJ) approach, a fundamental shift from institutional-centered approaches.
It therefore holds immense promise, especially with the commendable establishment of specialized SGBV courts in regions plagued by rampant gender violence.
PCJ revolves around understanding the experiences, needs, and expectations of justice users to enhance service delivery quality and diminish barriers.
This approach emphasizes a holistic view of justice, focusing on the individuals seeking justice rather than merely enhancing institutional capabilities.
For sustainable change in tackling GBV, a people-centered approach is pivotal.
It calls for a robust data ecosystem to comprehend justice needs, preventive strategies addressing root causes, information dissemination on legal rights, and removal of barriers hindering access to justice services.
Collaboration across sectors is vital, linking justice systems with health, education, and social services to ensure comprehensive support.
Moreover, the Judiciary's strides in launching the STAJ blueprint 2023-2033 and the Sexual and Gender-Based Violence Strategy 2023-2030 demonstrate the nation's commitment to this transformative journey.
This shift demands acceleration and multi-stakeholder collaboration at all levels to achieve its fullest potential."
There's therefore an urgent need for accelerated implementation, especially in establishing specialized courts in counties plagued by soaring GBV cases.
Focusing on Migori's distressing GBV statistics underscores the necessity for prioritizing specialized courts in this region.
Expediting the establishment of specialized courts, fostering multi-stakeholder collaboration, and addressing implementation challenges will be pivotal for ensuring justice for GBV victims nationwide.
2024 will not be easy. There will continue to be a myriad of challenges in implementing these policies, thereby thwarting the realization of gender justice.
From resource constraints, cultural barriers, to inadequate service provision in remote areas, and gaps in law enforcement and legal systems, continuous efforts to address these challenges, strengthen implementation mechanisms, and ensure collaboration among stakeholders will be crucial to effectively combatting GBV.
Additionally, the STAJ blueprint, while filled with opportunities, will also be confronted with challenges in its implementation.
There exists a pressing need to fortify the data ecosystem to comprehensively capture people's justice needs.
Preventive strategies targeting the root causes of prevalent justice problems will be imperative for sustained change. Education about legal rights, especially in marginalized communities, coupled with the removal of barriers hindering access to justice services, will also be crucial and collaboration across sectors to ensure justice reaches those in need.
In conclusion, Kenya's evolution toward a people-centered justice approach holds immense promise.
However, translating policies into impactful change demands concerted efforts, accelerated implementation, and robust collaboration.
Upholding the needs of justice seekers, especially in swiftly establishing specialized GBV courts in counties like Migori, is pivotal.
Kenya's quest for gender justice in 2024 hinges on swift and collective action, turning commitments into tangible realities under the visionary leadership of Martha Koome.
Justice that is accessible, swift, and empathetic is the cornerstone for a safer, more equitable society for all—a testament to Kenya's unwavering commitment to a just and inclusive future.
Written By – Kerry Mwita Omome is a change leader with Nguvu Collective and Youth Advocate in the field of Gender Equality at Naya Kenya currently championing an online petition for the Establishment of a Specialized GBV Court in Migori County.