Calls for rescue centers in sub-counties to curb SGBV cases in Garissa
Garissa county has seen a rise in sexual gender-based violence (SGBV) cases, with many incidents going unreported due to the lack of rescue centers in the area.
Despite the government’s efforts to eradicate the issue, a recent study by Population Services International (PSI) reveals that the cases are increasing rapidly due to a lack of awareness in far-flung regions.
As a result, the PSI has urged the government to establish rescue centers in sub-counties to provide a closer and more accessible means of reporting incidents.
Currently, Garissa County only has one center that operates the entire county, leaving many victims with no means of reporting their cases.
Ali Aden, PSI County Coordinator, highlights the need to bring services closer to the people, stating, “The question we need to ask ourselves is how will a girl/mother who was infringed her rights report the matter? For that matter, we need to plan to bring services closer to the people.”
The issue of SGBV is compounded by cultural practices and illiteracy in pastoralist counties, which increases the prevalence of such cases. Julius Njogu of PSI stresses the importance of educating communities on SGBV matters and providing channels for victims to receive assistance.
Furthermore, the practice of Maslaha, a traditional means of resolving disputes among pastoralists, is a major hindrance in the fight against SGBV.
Abdullahi Idle, Director of County Gender Department, warns that although Maslaha has worked for them in many issues, it cannot be used to resolve criminal acts such as rape and FGM.
A PSI study conducted in September 2022 showed that most cases in Garissa County were rape, FGM, and physical violence inflicted solely on women.
To combat this issue, President William Ruto has reiterated the Kenyan government’s commitment to ending FGM by the end of his tenure.