Kenya and Finland have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to strengthen the prevention and response to Gender-based Violence in Samburu County.
The MOU dubbed, The Kenya Finland Bilateral program, which commenced in October 2021 aims at eradicating all forms of Gender-based Violence (GBV) including Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and child marriages in Samburu County by 2024.
Speaking during the program launch in Maralal town, Samburu County, Cabinet Secretary (CS) for Public Service, Gender and Affirmative Action Aisha Jumwa said that the program is being implemented in the counties of Samburu, Bungoma and Kilifi.
The CS said that in Samburu County, the program has developed a calendar of GBV risks, vulnerabilities and prevention opportunities in order to strengthen coordination through more proactive, focused and collective planning.
“This calendar highlights key events that happen month by month that are likely to contribute to an increase or decrease in GBV including holidays, weather patterns, political events, school terms and vacations, cultural events and national or international days,” she said.
Jumwa lauded efforts by Samburu elders to eradicate FGM and early marriages through the signing of the Kisima declaration of 2021 and later agreeing to be anti-FGM ambassadors by moving from village to village sensitizing locals against FGM and early marriages.
At the same time, the CS tasked local leaders to form women groups for reformed circumcisers so that they can get funding to start businesses through the ministry of gender.
Jumwa reiterated the government’s commitment in strengthening partnerships to completely eradicate GBV and other harmful cultural practices in Kenya.
Finland Ambassador to Kenya Pirka Tapiola commended the synergy between the national government and the county government of Samburu in their efforts to fight and eradicate GBV.
“FGM is a very sensitive topic and it needs to be approached in a delicate manner and partnerships with local influencers such as you have done with the elders,” he said.
Samburu County Governor Lati Lelelit called upon Samburu residents to stop FGM adding that all negative cultural practices are fueled by high levels of illiteracy.
“If we increase our literacy levels through education, all negative cultural practices will die a natural death,” he said.
By Robert Githu