Meru County joined the rest of the world in marking the beginning of 16-day activism against Gender-Based Violence (GBV) by holding a sensitization walk from Makutano to Meru town where they had a super rally.
In the event that was graced by the County’s Gender and Social Protection Executive, Linner Nkirote, women marched from Makutano to Meru town at the Tuskys stage where they held a meeting to sensitize the public on the importance of leading in the fight against GBV.
Talks about ending GBV against women and girls took the centre stage with this year’s theme being; “orange the world, end violence against women and girls.”
Ms Nkirote cited teenage pregnancy as one of the main challenges facing schoolgirls in Meru urging stakeholders to give their all to make sure the girls’ future is secured.
“We are here to amplify the voices of girls and women to ensure that we prevent and eliminate violence against women and girls, and by so doing, girls will be able to complete their studies and in the long run, eradicate poverty caused by lack of empowerment of girls through education,” said Ms Nkirote.
She added that the main aim of the campaign was to condemn all kinds of violence including, rape, physical and mental assault against women without forgetting male counterparts who have in recent days been victims of the same.
Ms Nkirote said the County Government in the fight against GBV, has developed a gender policy and financial empowerment of Sh5m to women groups, Sh15m for youths, Sh17m for bodaboda riders, and Sh10m to PWDs through their Saccos.
She noted that poverty has been one of the main causes of Gender-Based Violence where unempowered women have to beg for everything from their male counterparts.
Ms Nkirote ruled out the issue of using alternative dispute resolution other than the court blaming it for denying victims of GBV justice.
She added that Meru County in collaboration with the National Government is set to establish a rescue and recovery center for GBV victims.
Speaking on behalf of the County Commissioner, Sarah Wanjiku, who is the Assistant County Commissioner (ACC) said in Meru, GBV is at 65 percent with women being the main victims.
Ms Wanjiku noted that substance and drug abuse have been the major causes of GBV urging women to stop brewing illicit drinks.
She added that breeding of gender violence at homes and the society is also to bear the blame and urged parents and teachers to provide a safe environment at home and in schools.
Among the efforts by the National Government towards the fight against GBV is the establishment of two police officers on the gender desk, training of chiefs and their assistants, and collaborating with other stakeholders to build a rescue center.
By Brenda Gakii and Dickson Mwiti