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Stakeholders meet to realign, review SGBV draft policy

Stakeholders and Gender Technical Working Group in Busia have met with a view to review the County’s Sexual Gender Based Violence (SGBV) Draft Policy.

Speaking during a stakeholder’s forum at a hotel in Busia on Monday, the Director of Western Twaweza Empowerment Campaign Amoit Dewa said the process began four years ago with the last government and there was need to engage the current government so that it can continue to completion.

“We wanted to work jointly with the county government, the County Assembly and the Gender Technical Working group to fast-track the implementation and passing of the zero draft SGBV policy and ensure that we launch it,” she said.

Dewa explained that there was need for the fast-tracking of the zero draft for approval and implementation because it will inform the SGBV programmes at the County level. “The SGBV policy will facilitate the development of a well-coordinated, comprehensive framework in terms of response and prevention of SGBV,” she said.

She added that it will also enable stakeholders working within Busia to mobilize resource both financial and human and provide a mechanism for coordinating and streamlining activities at a multi sectorial level.

Dewa further explained that the County government will also deliberately budget towards gender based violence issues. “We want to thank the County government of Busia for showing commitment,” she said adding that there are a lot of gender based violence cases taking place in Busia County.

The officer pointed out that action is rarely taken against perpetrators because of lack of SGBV policy. “The policy will also enhance evidence collection and have an avenue for psycho- social support,” she said.

She noted that the policy will also inform the need to have a rescue center for survivors and a support system in terms of the County government investing in human resources to support survivors of violence.

The Director of Rural Education and Empowerment Program (REEP) Ms. Mary Makokha said that cases of Gender Based Violence are very rampant in the County.

Makokha said that cases of rape, sodomy and incest were on the rise in the County with more than 1384 children being defiled, 18 women being raped 36 boys being sodomised and eight 91 year old women being raped in the past one year.

She called for urgent measures to be taken to set up a rescue center for victims to help slow down the continuous molestation of victims especially children.

The CECM in charge of Public Service and Gender Mr. Andrew Nakitare said that developing a policy is expensive and hence the need for collaboration with partners.

Nakitare promised that the County Government will work closely with other partners to ensure that the Sexual Gender Based Violence policy is passed. “By the end of April, we will have policies for Sports, SGBV, Youth and Gender,” said Nakitare.

The document whose process began four years ago is currently at the zero draft policy stage.

By Thomas Ndagwa/Salome Alwanda

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