_These Nguvu Change Leaders have launched impactful online campaigns to
draw attention to this cause_

In March 2023, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Kenya and the International Rescue Committee (IRC) conducted a rapid gender analysis of drought emergency measures in Garissa, Samburu, Kajiado, and Turkana counties in Kenya.

The study unveiled stark realities regarding Gender-Based Violence (GBV) in the country. The analysis highlighted the exacerbation of food insecurity and malnutrition among women and girls due to gender norms favoring men. Adolescent girls were forced to resort to transactional sex to address their hygiene and basic needs.

As the world observes ’16 Days of Activism’ against GBV from  November 25 to  December 10, various women’s empowerment organizations and activists are turning the spotlight on various forms of GBV in Kenya.
These include Nguvu Change Leaders who are calling for the prevention and elimination of violence against women and girls through impactful campaigns.

An overview:

1. Valerie Aura (Nairobi): Safe Houses for GBV Victims

GBV victims need a safe house to heal and move forward, believes Valerie Aura, a survivor of domestic violence in Kisumu. She is working to highlight the alarming increase in GBV cases and urges the government to establish shelters that can provide crucial refuge to survivors. Through her online petition [2] asserting equity, dignity, and justice for women and girls, she emphasizes that the fight against GBV is hindered by the lack of secure houses where victims can feel safe enough to rebuild
their lives. In her campaign, she calls on the Kisumu County government to complete and equip the three safe houses that were commissioned earlier.

2. Stacy Olendo Obondo (Kiambu): Special Police Units for Victim

Stacy is campaigning for the establishment of a special police unit exclusively for issues related to Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV). A passionate advocate for gender rights, Stacy focuses on the
prevention of GBV in intimate partner relationships and is calling for comprehensive policies to aid survivors. An exclusive SGBV police unit focused on women and children is crucial for achieving this goal. While police assistance exists, it operates only in Nanyuki, a non-central area that is inaccessible to many SGBV survivors. Through her online petition [3], Stacy is hoping to change this and is asking that the National Police Service’s POLICARE Policy 2021 be implemented fully to ensure SGBV prevention and response services by the police are extended beyond Nanyuki.

3. Josephine Mwende (Nairobi): Hotline for PWDs in Public Hospitals

Josephine, fuelled by medical negligence she endured during her pregnancy, is seeking an end to obstetric violence against expecting mothers with disabilities. As someone who is navigating life and
motherhood with cerebral palsy, she is striving to change the exclusionary caregiving culture in Nairobi County hospitals. Her impassioned plea advocates for the implementation of a toll-free hotline, dedicated consultation rooms, and awareness programs to ensure equal health rights for women facing the challenges of disabilities. The online petition [4] addressed to the Ministry of Health, the Commission of Administrative Justice, and the Office of the Governor of Nairobi County also underscores every woman’s right to experience her pregnancy and childbirth with joy and dignity.

4. Kerry Mwita (Migori): Specialized Gender Based Violence Court

With his campaign, Kerry hopes the Office of the Chief Justice will establish a specialized GBV court in Migori County very soon. A report released by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) and
UNICEF in 2011 identifies Migori County as one of the top hotspots for SGBV cases in the country. The report further indicates that 51% of women in the county have experienced Gender-Based Violence, a figure higher than the national average, which stands at 34%. Kerry advocates for the establishment of a specialized GBV court in Migori County through his online petition. He believes that such a court would
alleviate the case backlog in mainstream courts, consequently encouraging more residents to pursue litigation as a method of conflict resolution and strengthening public trust in the judiciary. With the
recent launch of the Social Transformation through Access to Justice (STAJ) 2023-2033 blueprint that was presided by Hon. Chief Justice Martha Koome, he is emphasising the urgency to set up and operationalize the court in Migori.

5. Harriet Afandi (Nairobi): Accelerate Discussions on OBV Policy

With support from two other Nguvu Change Leaders, Harriet, an advocate for women’s and children’s rights, is championing a pathbreaking online petition calling for the urgent need for legislation to address obstetric violence (OBV) in Kenya. Her sister underwent an emergency C-section 11 days past her due date because of the negligence of clinical nurses. This nearly endangered the lives of both her sister and the baby, an incident that inspired Harriet to join forces with Josephine Mwende and Deborah Monari to support Githunguri Member of Parliament Gathoni Wamuchomba’s proposal to the National Assembly for the discussion of a National Policy on OBV. It is her greatest hope that the policy will safeguard Kenyan women during childbirth. She believes that the OBV policy proposed by MP Gathoni Wamuchomba could save precious lives but hasn’t been prioritized for debate in the Kenyan
Parliament since it was tabled. In response, she launched the campaign to push for hastened discussions on the proposed policy.

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