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Growing incidents of gender-based violence rile state

The government has expressed concern over rising numbers of gender-based violence incidents in more than half of the country’s counties during the current Covid-19 pandemic period.
Devolution Chief Administrative Secretary Rachael Shebesh has called upon all county governments to establish safe spaces and shelters where women and girls can get temporary shelter as they escape from their abusers.
Speaking in Nakuru where she inspected clean up exercise being carried out in low income settlements under the National Hygiene Programme (NHP) dubbed Kazi Mtaani the CAS noted the number of men who reported being subjected to psychological torture and physical violence by their partners was also increasing.
In Nakuru the National Hygiene programme is being conducted in sprawling Kaptembwa, Lake View and London slums and has brought 2,200 residents on board.
Ms Shebesh noted that some of the measures rolled out to contain spread of Covid-19 had exposed Kenyans to economic difficulties resulting in stress and depression. She said the leading forms of violence are physical assault, psychological torture and defilement. The curfew has increased the vulnerability of women and girls owing to confinement with their abusers.
At the same time, several women groups, youth and the disabled from eleven Sub-Counties of Nakuru are the latest beneficiaries of Sh 40 million from the National Government Affirmative Action Fund (NGAAF).
The Devolution Chief Administrative Secretary announced that the state would double the next tranche to Sh 8) million.
Ms Shebesh who was accompanied by County Commissioner Erastus Mbui Mwenda, Deputy Governor Dr. Eric Korir and Women Representative Lisa Chelule urged the beneficiaries to maximize on the funding they get to improve their living conditions through economic activities.
She said students in secondary schools and colleges will also benefit from the kitty through bursaries and sponsorships. The CAS urged parents to take a leading role in safeguarding their daughters against female genital mutilation and early marriages during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Shebesh said the first phase of the programme has absorbed 26,148 youth on pilot basis in eight counties across the country.
She said the second phase of the programme will be rolled out nationwide within a month and will bring on board more than 200,000 youth.
The Deputy Governor petitioned the national government to consider Nakuru’s population while allocating slots in the second phase of the programme.
He noted that the county’s population was the third largest in the country with huge concentrations in Molo, Elburgon, Olenguruone and Gilgil divisions.
Dr. Korir observed that initiative had benefited youths working in the informal sector such as artisans, hawkers, casual labourers among others whose source of livelihoods had been disrupted due to effects of corona virus which has slowed economic activities.
County Commissioner said stringent measures had been put in place to ensure transparency in implementation of the Sh 300 million first phase of Kazi Mtaani Programme and that only deserving youth are hired.
Mwenda said expenditure of funds disbursed and the process of hiring youths to be engaged is being s subjected to continued open and thorough scrutiny and auditing.
“Chiefs and their assistants are under firm instructions to ensure that Nyumba Kumi clusters only forward names of genuine cases for consideration into the program. We will not condone corruption and nepotism in hiring youths into the NHS program” warned the administrator.
By Anne Mwale

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