Homa Bay County Government has stepped up the fight against gender-based violence with the launch of the County’s Gender-Based Violence(GBV) Policy and Homa Bay County Digital and Innovation Hub.
Through a partnership with Nyanza and Western Women’s Forum (NWWF), the policy framework will comprehensively promote, prevent, protect, and co-ordinate the myriad phases of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence.
“Today we are launching the SGBV policy. You cannot tackle an issue if you don’t have legal backing. That is the foundation which has input from Members of the County Assembly and all local and International stakeholders,” said Homa Bay County Governor, Gladys Wanga.
The Governor said Homa Bay County is taking a multi-stakeholder approach including men and security agencies, leveraging digital innovations and staging national dialogues in the elimination of SGBV not only in the county but across Kenya.
“We cannot bury our heads in the sand on issues to do with gender-based violence, teen pregnancies, and how women can tackle emerging issues like Climate change. We need to start having a national conversation and explore how digital innovations can help us tackle these,” she added.
The policy seeks to protect women, men, girls, and boys against Sexual and Gender Based Violence by addressing issues based on social, political, and economic forms of violence against boys, girls, and women. The framework will also ventilate on the mechanisms of addressing these issues.
It emphasizes the involvement of the community in every SGBV project and program to enhance the reintegration of the survivors and perpetrators for family continuity and development. Implementation of the policy framework will adopt Human rights-based, Gender-responsive and puts emphasis on survivors-centered approaches.
It will also adopt public participation, economic empowerment, social mobilization, and Integrative and collaborative approaches.
“ This policy gives the county a boost and ability to start official engagement with strategic partners, funds and resource mobilization drive and the overall direction all stakeholders must follow to see full implementation of the framework,” said Nyanza and Western Women Forum (NWWF)Executive Director, Elizabeth Adongo.
NWWF Founder Harriet Okatch added that they are mobilizing women from the grassroots to start chasing after bigger things socially and economically. therefore we are linking them with local and International partners like the UN Women and Africa Guarantee Fund to power their innovation.
There is glaring evidence from the National Crimes Research Centre NCRC (2020) that Homa Bay County statistics are above the national threshold of SGBV violations in the Country.
Sexual Assault victims account for the highest number of cases reported in the county at 54.5 percent against a national average of 15.7 percent. Cases of rape account for 38.6 percent against a national average of 12.9 percent as Defilement closes the list of top three SGBV cases at 30.1 percent against a national average of 7.1 percent.