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Nairobi MCAs raise alarm over sexual and gender based violence

Nairobi MCAs have expressed concerns over the increased sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) cases in the county. These cases have been linked to the Covid-19 pandemic outbreak, with family members including children forced to stay at home, they say.

The ward representatives now want the Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) and City Hall to come up with the specific areas where such cases are reported.

The county legislators have also approved a motion by South B MCA Waithera Chege seeking to give a lifeline to victims of SGBV by making available reporting desks and well-trained staff to assist the victims.

Chege said the desks, which will be manned by personnel well trained on counseling, will also provide post-trauma care for survivors in the County.

“Covid-19 pandemic had led to an increase in incidences of SGBV in the County mostly carried out by family members. Most of these cases are experienced in informal settlements and slums, but that does not mean that people who live in the estates and high-end areas do not experience this violence, they do,” said the deputy majority whip.

She decried how many sexual and gender-based violence acts go unreported due to a lack of proper reporting mechanisms as a result of a lack of data management system necessary to locate survivors of SGBV.

Gender Violence Recovery Centre chief executive officer Alberta Wambua complained of how the police are not helping efforts to rescue victims as they most of the time arrest human rights defenders who go to rescue those affected by inciting the public whenever they go to collect these survivors.

Moreover, she said access to health services for the victims is also steeped in challenges as a survivor will need at least Sh10,000 to access outpatient services.

“For them to be admitted, she added, they need between 80,000 and 100,000 noting that those in informal settlements can not afford such money,” said Ms Wambua.

Nominated MCA Mellab Atema said numerous SGBV incidences have taken place this year alone in Kawangware, where she comes from, and that she has had to handle many such cases involving young girls and married women.

“Let us have police who are ready to help us in a sincere way without asking a favour. As the victims go for treatment, they should be given essential service without being asked for a deposit,” said Ms Atema.

According to data relayed by the World Health Organization (WHO), 66 percent of girls and boys aged below 18 years have either experienced physical or sexual violence. Moreover, 44 percent of women and girls between the ages of 15 to 49 have either gone through physical or sexual violence.

On her part, MCA Emapet Kemunto implored the assembly to ensure laws and policies towards the prevention of gender-based violence were enforced, as well as an acceleration of gender mainstreaming into all legislation, plans, and programmes.

“We also need to also have shelters across the county where the victims can seek protection and their grievances noted down,” said Ms Kemunto.