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GBV survivors to get grants to start businesses

A non-governmental organization, Groots Kenya, has rolled out a programme to support Gender Based Violence (GBV) survivors to start businesses to fend for their families in Kakamega County.

Groots Kenya is partnering with MasterCard Foundation to support GBV survivors, mostly women from Lurambi Sub County, with Sh15 000 grants each in the funding programme.

The NGO’s Coordinator for Kakamega County Alice Isoi said the organization will additionally train them on entrepreneurship skills and follow through to ensure the businesses pick up so that they can start earning.

Already 30 GBV survivors from Lurambi Sub County have been identified. The organization is set to identify more from other Sub Counties across the county.

Isoi said the support comes in handy to restore dignity and hope among them, most of whom lost their income generating activities after being subjected to various forms of torture.

“Most of the survivors shut their businesses while others’ businesses crumbled due to the harrowing experiences they underwent so the grant is to enable them to pick up the pieces,” she said.

In addition, the organization occasionally provides them with soap, sanitary towels and lessos among basic items.

“We have counselled them, assured them of support and we shall walk with them until they are very stable and we hope they will be our champions against GBV as we seek to end the vice,” she said.

She was speaking during a counselling session for 30 GBV survivors from Lurambi Sub County.

The Organization is set to hold more sessions this week with expectations to visit other sub counties to meet with GBV survivors and identify those with critical needs for support.

Isoi said those whose businesses will have picked well, will be linked to financial institutions to take up loans for expansion.

“We have also organized them into support groups where they will start table banking. They will also check on each other’s progress through the support groups,” she pointed out.

She said in the support group, the GBV survivors will encourage each other and report any case of assault from perpetrators for action to be taken. She however regretted that men who are victims are not showing up due to stigma and urged them to seek help from the organization.

The coordinator said the organization is working with Chiefs, Nyumba Kumi and other stakeholders among them the GBV survivors to campaign against solving such cases in Kangaroo courts.

She said they have set up a rescue centre to temporarily shelter women who have been subjected to Gender Based Violence as it seeks to ensure the perpetrator reforms or faces the law.

“Our aim is to reunite the wife with the husband, therefore the shelter temporarily keeps the woman in a safe place as we engage in dispute resolution. Sometimes if we have a P3 form we go to the police for the husband to be arrested,” Isoi noted.

She said the method is working as some perpetrators feel overwhelmed when they are left with children and home chores hence approach the organization to reintegrate with the wife promising not to repeat.

Butsotso Central Acting Chief Samuel Oketch who was present pledged government support in ensuring that GBV perpetrators face the law and to stem solving such cases in Kangaroo courts.

“The Government is firm and we shall not tolerate cases of GBV. We are working with Groots Kenya among other stakeholders to stop this vice,” he assured.

By Moses Wekesa

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