Kenya to Prioritise Women Empowerment and War on GBV – Minister

Nairobi — Kenya has assured that it is prioritizing women empowerment and the war against Gender-Based Violence (GBV) which has been on the rise since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gender Cabinet Secretary Professor Margaret Kobia said Kenya is working closely with other Commonwealth countries to share best practices on safeguarding the rights of women.

“We are discussing commonwealth priorities including women’s economic empowerment and Gender-Based Violence with a view to sharing good practices and lessons learned towards recovery processes from the pandemic and rebuilding efforts that can involve women’s leadership and girls’ interests,” Professor Kobia said Monday after a virtual meeting of Commonwealth Women’s Affairs Ministers Action Group (CWAMAG).

Official statistics released by Professor Kobia show that Gender-Based Violence cases in Kenya had shot up by 36 per cent in 2020, in what is blamed on the partial COVID-19 lockdown that forced the closure of schools from March 2020 to January 2021.

The figures show that there were 5,009 Gender-Based Violence cases reported countrywide during the period, an increase of 1,411 cases from 2019. The capital Nairobi, Kakamega, Kisumu, Nakuru and Kiambu counties had the most cases.

She cited lack of reporting by victims as part of the challenges the government face in punishing offenders.

Kobia said the government had established 36 GBV shelters in 13 counties through the National Government Affirmative Action., And following the Monday meeting of Commonwealth Ministers, Kobia said, a Gender declaration was adopted to guide implementation by the member countries. She did not, however, provide further details.