Different governmental and non-governmental organizations held a girl’s summit in Kisumu County that brought together over 200 young girls.
The 3rd summit held at good Samaritan Hall aimed at propelling ideas and discussions towards ending violence against women, even as the 16 days of activism against Gender Based Violence (GBV) comes to an end.
Nancy Okoth, the project manager for She Leads Alliance working with Plan International, said they targeted girls and young women to create a platform for them to engage with leaders.
Okoth said the girls have an opportunity to take the leaders to task and question them on how best they could get opportunities in leadership.
“Basically, this forum was convened at a time when we are approaching the 2022 campaign season and so one thing we really want is to ensure girls are given the opportunity to be in leadership,” she added.
The Project Manager said they were working with other stakeholders to make sure girls and young women were well versed with pathways, through which they could seek support whenever faced with violence.
As an organization, she said, they have initiated a return to school policy where the organization offers school fees and training to girls who wish to return- to- school.
Joseph Ojuki from African Youth Kenya, urged the community to embrace the voice of girls and nurture their potential to be more responsible.
He called upon the national and county governments to come up with policies directly supporting girls in the communities, where they could be molded from as young as 13years old.
“In the community, you find this cultural norm that women are meant for the kitchen, but we have tested and proven that when girls are nurtured and trained well, they can be in leadership,” added Ojuki.
Ojuki appealed to the community to support girls and listen to them for their voices to be heard so that they could get motivated to grab available opportunities.
Lorna Otiato, a young woman representing Pamoja Community Based Organization, applauded the efforts by the government and NGOs put in place for health and safety for girls.
“The sanitary towels pledged through the Women Representative’s offices will help curb teen pregnancies which are often blamed on poverty,” Otiato argued.
She further called upon the leaders to train police officers on how to handle cases of GBV against women and facilitate provision of sign language interpreters in offices.
“Integrating sign language interpreters in organizations is a positive move for the people with disabilities who get violated, but because they cannot express themselves, their cases go unreported,” she said.
By Evangeline Mola and Winnie Ouko