Taking stock of Kenya’s GBV interventions during Covid-19

President Uhuru Kenyatta during a virtual launch of the Kenyan chapter of Generation Equality Forum at State House, Nairobi in August. During the forum, the President outlined 12 commitments on ending GBV in the country.

Photo credit: Photo | PSCU

What you need to know:

  • Covid-19 unmasked the gaps in mitigating GBV from lack of adequate shelters, uncoordinated management of cases and little or near zero funding for survivors to rebuild their lives.
  • The government and the civil society have either launched programs, commitments, policies or initiatives to fill the gap.

Covid-19 unmasked the gaps in mitigating gender-based violence (GBV) in Kenya from lack of adequate shelters, uncoordinated management of cases and little or near zero funding for survivors to rebuild their lives.

With lessons learnt in the past year, the government and the civil society have either launched programs, commitments, policies or initiatives to fill the gap, while expanding and reinforcing the existing structures to better respond to sexual, physical, psychological and economic abuse.

Here is a highlight of some interventions that marked the GBV landscape in 2021.

Kenya’s commitments

During the Generation Equality Forum (GEF) held in Paris from June 30 to July 2, the President Uhuru Kenyatta outlined 12 commitments on ending GBV in the country. Kenya is a co-leader of GBV Action Coalition under Generation Equality.

Implementation of GBV laws and policies by adopting a GBV indicator in the government performance contracting framework. This would track duty-bearers' accountability on enforcement and implementation of GBV laws and policies by 2022.

Invest $23million for GBV prevention and response by 2022, and increase the resource allocation up to $50million by 2026.

Ratify and implement the ILO Convention 190 on eliminating GBV and harassment in the workplace by 2026.

Gender statistics

Introduce a module on GBV in the 2022 Kenya Demographic Health Survey to strengthen utilisation of gender statistics in informing the design, scale-up and evaluation of FGM and GBV programming.

Develop a GBV management and information system by 2022 to strengthen GBV prevention and response programming.

Invest $1million annually, for GBV research and innovation to boost evidence-based programming by 2026.

Integrate GBV services - medical, legal and psychological support services into the essential minimum package of the Universal Health Coverage by 2022.

Scale up the national police service integrated response to GBV’ (Policare)’ and establish GBV recovery centres and shelters in all 47 counties by 2026.

Establish a GBV survivors’ fund through a co-financing model in partnership with private sector, civil society and other stakeholders.

Commit to GBV prevention and response in crisis situations such as Covid-19 pandemic, humanitarian contexts and electoral related GBV.

Strengthen collaboration with non-state actors including girl-led, women’s rights organisations, male champions, and private sector at the national and county level.

Commit to adopting and institutionalising the multi-sectoral GEF leadership structure.

Jasiri Fund

Nairobi Woman Rep Esther Passaris (2nd right) launches Jasiri Fund at a Nairobi hotel on March 4, 2021.The fund provides affordable loans to women and girls who are survivors of GBV.

Photo credit: Jeff Angote | Nation Media Group

In March, the Sh50 million fund was launched to support GBV survivors rebuild their lives. It would be available to help at least 1,000 survivors in 10 counties as personal grants and affordable loans. The fund is operated alongside other GBV response services including legal advisory services including psychosocial support, rescue services, shelter and business development support. It targeted survivors from Kiambu, Kakamega, Tana River, Kilifi, Mombasa and Nairobi. Others were Kajiado, Busia, Mandera and Kwale counties. It was jointly rolled out by Centre for Rights Education and Awareness, Collaborative Centre for Gender and Development, and Groots Kenya with financial aid from MasterCard Foundation.

Launch of Policare Policy

First Lady Margaret Kenyatta hands over the National Police Service (NPS) Integrated Response to GBV operational document (Policare) to Interior CS Dr Fred Matiang'i, when she officially launched the policy document in October.

Policare is a National Police Service (NPS) integrated response to GBV. With its launch in October, NPS has a framework to establish, manage and operate the one-stop centres to be called Policare. GBV survivors will now access medical, legal and psychosocial services in one place.

One-stop code for GBV emergency

The SSD code *483*143# allows for reporting GBV incidents, connecting with a hospital for treatment, receiving tele-counselling, and finding a shelter. Developed by Dhobi Women Network, it promotes survivors' protection of privacy and confidentiality.

Athletics Kenya (AK) talks

Athletes, coaches and members of the public escort the body of the late Agnes Tirop, two-time World 10,000 metres bronze medallist for burial in Nandi County. She was found stabbed to death at her home in the western town of Iten.

Photo credit: Jared Nyataya | Nation Media Group

AK has set off consultative forums with athletes and coaches to establish the causes of homicide and suicide among sportsmen and women. Kenya lost at least three of them in October by either suicide or suspected GBV. Triple world cross country team champion, Hosea Mwok Macharinyang was found dead in his home in West Pokot. He allegedly died by suicide. Meanwhile, Agnes Tirop, a 10-kilometre world record holder and athlete Edith Muthoni, accounted for homicide cases, according to police.

NGAAF funded shelters

In April, Gender CS, Prof Margaret Kobia, said rescue centres have been established in West Pokot, Bungoma, Vihiga, Meru and Migori counties with funding from National Government Affirmative Action Fund (NGAAF). By then, there were 36 private shelters spread across 13 counties as registered under National Shelters Network.

Spot it, Stop it campaign

The campaign launched by Children Directorate in conjunction with Safaricom and Unicef, sought to create awareness on ending violence against children, especially defilement and sodomy.

University's #EndRapeCulture culture

University Presidents Council of Kenya and Kenya University Female Students Leaders Association launched the campaign following a high prevalence of femicide and rape in universities. It pushed for accountability from the duty bearers in ending the rape culture in universities.

Unresolved GBV concerns

  • Women Lawyers-Kenya (Fida-Kenya) called on President Uhuru Kenyatta to declare femicide and GBV, a national disaster. There has not been any response or pronouncement in that regard since then.
  • Zero financial support for privately-owned shelters- Since 2020, the shelters have sought financial aid from the government to sustain their services as the demand shot up but access to financial resources flattened owing to economic turbulence. Nevertheless help is yet to come through. According to the National Shelters Network, they are still struggling to remain open.

By Moraa Obiria, Kamau Maichuhie, Agatha Gichana and Esther Nyandoro


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