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Kwale seeks to end gender-based violence

Kwale Governor Fatuma Achani has called for concerted efforts by stakeholders and authorities towards eliminating all forms of Gender-Based Violence against women and the girl child.

Governor Achani decried the high rate of gender-based violence in the coastal county and called for awareness creation to promote the rights of victims and enforcement of punitive measures against the perpetrators to serve as deterrent.

Achani, who is the first female governor from the coastal region, has vowed that her administration will tackle violence against women and children.

Governor Achani lamented cases of defilement, child marriage, teenage pregnancies and gender-based violence in the coastal county impacting negatively on the society.

She expressed dissatisfaction with the increasing number of teenage pregnancies and all forms of abuse against girl-child and womenfolk in the region.

Achani stated this when she met a team from Africa child Kenya led by Marten Reinboth (Chairman) and Kennedy Alando (Director).

“Our discussions focused on strengthening the working relations between the Kwale county government and Africa child Kenya who have been supporting young mothers by giving them shelter, medical care as well as vocational training opportunities,” she said.

The coastal county chief said the devolved government has established a gender-based violence rescue and recovery centre situated at the Kwale county referral hospital.

She says the centre is a post-rape and trauma management centre that provides 24 hour care for sexually molested women and survivors of sexual and gender based violence.

“We don’t want anybody to go through pain and violence and we need to step up our efforts on how to protect and preserve women as the victims,” she said.

Achani says that the rescue centre has been built in the main referral hospital in Kwale town to intervene in cases of sexually assaulted victims who need urgent help.

“The centre is able to provide healing for the victims at a quicker pace,” she said, adding that reporting of sexual and gender-based offences at the community level was still low.

She underscored the need to create awareness on gender-based violence noting that the low levels of reporting could be attributed to the stigma associated with violence of a sexual nature and also cultural norms and attitudes that tolerate and legitimize sexual violence.

Achani said the scourge was rampant in rural and remote communities and urged residents to challenge and reject all forms of gender based violence.

She said girls are mostly at risk of gender-based violence especially of sexual nature and highlighted the need to create awareness on the need to eliminate all forms of gender-based violence.

“young girls need special attention for them to live up to their full potential and as a devolved unit we are committed to joining hands with partners in fighting sexual and gender-based violence cases that affect the personal abilities and capabilities of our girls,” she said.

Achani said the high rate of drugs and substance abuse in the coastal region was to blame for the rising cases of domestic and gender-based violence.

She condemned gender-based violence and urged faith-based and Non-Governmental Organizations to help curb the social vice which was giving little opportunities to womenfolk to advance.

Achani said the devolved government will work closely with all stakeholders in addressing gender based violence, harmful sociocultural practices and other challenges bedeviling women in the county.

“The county will collaborate with relevant stakeholders to stand up against the continued violation of women and children’s rights in the society,” she said and rooted for proper sensitization towards ending GBV and its associated vices.

By Hussein Abdullahi

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