Leaders and Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs), have expressed concern over an increase in Gender Based Violence (GBV) and Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in Kericho County.
The leaders noted that GBV targeted at women and young girls had increased, with the majority of the cases going unreported to police or concerned authorities and organizations that could assist the victims.
In a workshop held, yesterday at a Kericho Hotel, Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS), in the Ministry of Public Service and Gender, Jebii Kilimo, also noted that that the Kipsigis community, had reneged on the practice of Female Genital Mutilation recently, yet they had abandoned the tradition.
The CAS was categorical that President Uhuru Kenyatta, had issued a timeframe of eradicating the FGM vice by the year 2022 and that all efforts should be directed towards ensuring that the retrogressive traditional practice is eradicated among communities in the Country.
“Anti-FGM act says that someone who stigmatizes another one should be arrested, jailed for six months or pay a fine of Sh50,000, but that has not happened as women continue to complain of being stigmatized and have been forced to subject themselves to FGM so as to be accepted by the community.
She also called on authorities at the County and Sub-county levels to sensitize the public and more so women in the villages on importance of reporting cases of forced FGM in good time so that perpetrators and culprits are apprehended and dealt with according to the law.
“We have shared the toll-free number which include 1195 and tele-counselors who will attend to the callers. We also have 1199 for Kenya Red-cross a swell as the Komesha Dhuluma App.
“We hope that there will be more reporting so that survivors can obtain justice alongside counseling,” Kilimo said.
She was speaking, Thursday during the launch of the Kericho Intergovernmental County Gender Sector Working Groups Committee on Gender Based Violence, where she also raised concern over increase in teenage pregnancies in the County, especially after the outbreak of the Covid-19 Pandemic.
“Parents need to spend more time with their children and advise them accordingly to prevent child pregnancies,” advised Kilimo.
At the same time, she urged both the National and County Government leadership, to initiate the process of sensitizing communities who are still engaging in changaa brewing to stop the illegal business and form empowerment groups, so as to qualify for funds from the National Government to start better projects.
“If these women can bond together, get registered and get the necessary documentation, they can qualify for funds such as the Uwezo funds and that will help them start businesses that will enable them lead decent lives,” said Kilimo.
Kilimo was flanked by Kericho County Deputy Governor, Lily Ngok.
The Kericho Deputy County Commissioner, Mr Muyesu Ndarusi assured the public that the County Government will be in the forefront to champion for the rights of women and girls in order to eradicate FGM in the County”
“I believe Kericho Intergovernmental County Gender Sector Working Groups Committee on Gender Based Violence that we have launched, will help in dealing with GBV issues in the County,” said Ngok.
Others who attended the forum were Development partners, Non-Governmental Organizations, Judicial officials, and National Gender Officers among others.
The Kericho Director of Gender, Ms Tecla Biwott, also attended the function.
By Kibe Mburu and Dominic Cheres