High poverty levels a major contributor to the high levels of GBV in Kilifi County – ActionAid

Kilifi County Executive Committee Member (CECM) for Sports and Gender Dr Ruth Masha and ActionAid International Kenya Board chairman Sam Muga said that although the GBV rate was reducing, poverty still remained a challenge.

The leaders said this at Kasarani grounds in Magarini Sub County during celebrations to mark ActionAid International’s 50 years of existence where  Muga challenged Governor Gideon Mung’aro to accelerate development programs that will empower residents economically as a way of fighting poverty.

Masha said that the GBV levels in the County had gone down from 33 per cent in 2019 to the current 13 per cent and attributed programs run by ActionAid International as helpful in the journey to address the vice.

“In 2019 our rates of GBV were at 33 per cent but now we are at 13 per cent, they have gone down and we are proud of these. One area where ActionAid International Kenya has excelled is in the intervention of out-of-school girls through training and economic empowerment and confidence and the transformative effects cannot be wished away,” she said.

Muga challenged the county leadership to spend enough time with residents if they wanted to understand the problems at hand and make informed decisions on ways to eradicate poverty.

He added that for 50 years the staff of the organization had worked from the remotest part of the country and brought about change.

“The people you see here have spent nights with people in the villages and we get to know what they want. I challenge you to go to the remotest villages and spend nights there so that you can get to know the kind of poverty they go through but when you wake up in the morning, you will know some of your people did not have anything for supper but their children have to go to school and when you go back to your office you will make an informed decision,” he said.

Mercy Kadii, the chair lady of Sauti ya Wanawake based in Magarini Sub County said that through ActionAid International Kenya, they have been able to transform the community and promote advocacy among women and girls.

“Sauti Ya Wanawake works in partnership with ActionAid International Kenya and focuses in three areas including challenging violence against women and girls, women leadership and economic empowerment for our women and girls,” she said.

She added that due to strained resources, they are stuck with victims of GBV who should be confined in safe houses but they lack them.

“We lack safe houses for our survivors where they can get psychosocial support and guidance and counselling services. GBV is still on though we have moved a mile and we would like to expand our activities to other areas but due to scarcity of resources we are confined in Magarini Sub County,” she said.

The Executive Director of ActionAid International Kenya Susan Onyango said that the organization was working in 25 counties across Kenya.

“The 50 years we have been able to work with communities have been of success and we have seen over 25 counties working with us and changing lives and we will continue changing lives,” she said.

Governor Mung’aro said that his administration was constructing a safe house for GBV victims at a cost of KES 45 million.

“In Kilifi town, we are putting up a rescue centre for GBV victims because they cannot stay where they were victimized and it will cost us Sh. 45 million. I also want to recognize Sauti ya Wanawake that has done a commendable job on women’s advocacy,” he said

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