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Aiming for a Kenyan society free of gender-based violence

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Finland’s Ambassador to Kenya, H.E. Ambassador Pirkka Tapiola signs a placard to symbolise the launch of the Kenya-Finland Bilateral GBV Programme as Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Public Service, Gender, Senior Citizens Affairs and Special Programmes, Prof. Margaret Kobia looks on.

Kenya and Finland launch a €6M bilateral programme to bolster prevention and response in remote, rural communities

November 24, 2021

Gender-based violence (GBV) is a serious problem in Kenya. About 40% of women are expected to experience some form of violence in their life time, with intimate partner violence being the most common form, and one in five girls face child marriage or female genital mutation (FGM). COVID-19 has exacerbated GBV globally, and Kenya is no exception. The UN reported that calls to GBV hotlines increased in the country by 775% in March and April 2020.

In response, the Government of Kenya has committed to end GBV and FGM by 2026, a bold commitment that requires the removal of systematic barriers that enable such violence to thrive. Against this backdrop, this past October, the Government launched a multi-million-euro bilateral programme in partnership with Finland to strengthen GBV prevention and response.

KES 14 Billion

productivity losses the Ministry of Health estimates are lost from serious GBV injuries

Running for three years, (2021-2024), the programme will operate in Bungoma, Kilifi, and Samburu counties, some of the main counties identified as GBV hot spots. Under the agreement, Kenya has committed €1M (KES. 127M) in addition to Finland’s pledge of €5M (KES. 639M).

Presiding over the launch of the programme at the Kenya School of Government in Nairobi, Cabinet Secretary for Public Service, Gender, Senior Citizen Affairs, and Special Programmes, Professor Margaret Kobia, acknowledged the importance of the convergence of multi-agency efforts to eliminate GBV in Kenya. 

"Today marks both a new beginning as well as a key moment of convergence around our shared vision of eliminating GBV while working towards a society free from violence and other harmful vices and one that recognises the equal value of women, men, girls, and boys," she said.

As part of it overall commitment, the Kenyan Government is also undertaking initiatives to advance gender equality and empowerment of women and girls, including pledges made at the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), Generation Equality, and the Multi-Agency Programme on GBV.

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We must converge around these commitments since the interventions we are undertaking are contributing to the overall goal of creating a society free from all forms of gender-based violence, a society that fully respects the human rights of all its citizens.

Cabinet Secretary for Public Service, Gender, Senior Citizen Affairs and Special Programmes, Professor Margaret Kobia.

A shared vision of equality and human rights

The GBV programme underscores the mutual priority areas of the Governments of Kenya and Finland. Speaking at the programme’s launch, Finland's Ambassador to Kenya H.E. Ambassador Pirkka Tapiola noted that GBV is a human rights issue.

"Finland was recently elected as a member of the United Nations Human Rights Council for the years 2022-2024. As per our commitments during our campaign, we will be working to ensure the full realization of gender equality and women's rights," he said.

Ambassador Tapiola noted that the success of the programme rests on the commitment and contributions of all actors and stakeholders as GBV is a multisectoral challenge that requires multisectoral action. The programme, which NIRAS is implementing, will apply a human rights-based approach (accessibility, availability, affordability, acceptability, feasibility, and quality) to address barriers related to access to GBV services and prevention.

Present at the event were EU Head of Cooperation to Kenya, Irene Giribaldi; Bungoma Governor, Hon. Wycliffe Wafula Wangamati; State Department for Gender Principal Secretary, Prof. Collete Suda; and Chief Administrative Secretaries, Dr. Linah Jebii Kilimo and Hon. Rachel Shebesh among others.

Wende Luvinga Heinoja

Wende Luvinga Heinoja

Consultant

Helsinki, Finland

+358 9 83624211

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