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Idle City Hall houses to be converted to safe houses for GBV victims

City Hall has been directed to convert idle county government-owned houses into safe houses for survivors and victims of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) in Nairobi.

This is after Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) Director General Mohamed Badi said the premises be transformed to cater for SGBV survivors and victims who lack safe houses and shelters.

The houses fall under transferred functions that were moved to the national government entity in February last year.

Major General Badi said some of the county-owned houses can easily be converted into safe shelters noting that what is only required is a budget for their renovations.

“How many houses does the county have that are lying idle that require very little money to be transformed into a safe house or isolation shelter? I want to see your budget for repairing those houses so that they can be a safe house for women and girls,” said Mr Badi.

The new development comes after Nairobi County Women SGBV caucus led by Nairobi County Assembly Deputy Majority Whip Waithera Chege decried the lack of places of refuge for victims and survivors of SGBV despite Nairobi leading in such cases.

Consequently, the caucus asked for the county government and NMS to provide safe houses for the victims and survivors.

At least 6,262 SGBV cases have been reported across county government hospitals in the last 11 months alone.

Most of the cases have been treated at Mama Lucy Hospital’s SGBV centre with 972 cases handled in the same period alone.

In Mama Lucy alone, since its inception in 2015, has attended to 5,688 SGBV victims patients with 50 percent being minors.

Between, October and December last year, the facility managed 326 new cases and 258 survivors while this year alone, the hospital has registered 179 new SGBV cases and 137 survivors.

The NMS boss further directed that a Nairobi County safe house be completed within four months as opposed to two years that City Hall said the project would take.

Once the safe house is complete, NMS Director for Health Service Dr Ouma Oluga said supporting health staff will be assigned to offer services to the SGBV victims and survivors.

“We are committed to supporting all women and it is also worth noting that even if Kenya 45 percent of women and when it comes to girls 66 percent have faced GBV of some sort, even men face GBV around 15 percent of them,” he said.

In the meantime, City Hall has set aside two interim homes to act as ‘safe shelters’ including a 76-bed capacity home in Kayole dedicated to the women and girls victims of SGBV and 20-bed capacity at Shauri Moyo set aside for men and boys.