Kisii County through the office of the Woman Representative has launched the Gender-Based Violence and Drug Rehabilitation Center to protect survivors of gender-based violence and those suffering from drug addiction.
The official opening of the recovery center which has been funded by the National Government Affirmative Action Fund (NGAAF), was graced by Ida Odinga and Azimio deputy presidential candidate Martha Karua on Thursday within Kisii town.
Speaking after inspecting the facility, Mrs. Odinga noted that any form of violence against women must be condemned because women’s rights are human rights and they should not be treated as second class human beings.
“There are women and children who are being molested in this county in the full knowledge of administration officers, police officers and the community, but they do not speak out and that is a big mistake,” said Mrs. Odinga.
She pointed out that violating a woman, whether a child or elderly, is criminal and anybody found culpable of such an offence should be apprehended.
Mrs. Odinga urged the political leaders and the media to sensitize the community on the importance of protecting the rights of children and the elderly saying it is important for the residents to be kind to women and children.
The recovery center has various personnel who are employed by the Kisii County government and will house a 40-bed capacity hostel, a counselling center, a police desk, an ICT center and a woman training center.
On her part, Karua lauded the Kisii Woman Representative for creating a safe space for gender-based violence survivors and those addicted to drugs.
“This facility will come in handy because there are many cases of women being violated both physically and psychologically. This center will protect those who have experienced gender-based violence,” Karua said.
She expresses her gratitude to Kisii County government for collaborating with the Center and urged the community leaders to sensitize the community members on the importance of respecting the rights of children, women and men in the society.
Karua pledged that once elected, they would begin a campaign to reduce and subsequently, end gender-based violence.
She added that those suffering from mental health issues would also be provided with treatment, counselling and rehabilitation against drug abuse so that cases of gender-based violence are reduced.
In addition, Kisii Woman Representative Janet Ongera noted that Kisii ranks third in the number of gender-based violence cases recently reported in the country and as such, the Center would act as a shelter for survivors.
Ongera noted that as part of the county’s campaign on gender-based violence, they have started having dialogue with men so that they could be tolerant towards women and children.
The construction of the Sh27 million recovery center was brought about by a surge in gender-based violence cases in the region last year where the prevalence of GBV cases in Kisii stood at 23 per cent against the national prevalence of 17 per cent.
Other leaders present during the launch included Murang’a Woman Representative Sabina Chege, Homabay Woman Representative Gladys Wanga, Dagoretti North MP Simba Arati and Kisii Governor James Ongwae.
By Mercy Osongo