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Stakeholders Raise Alarm Over GBV Prevalence in Kitui County

Stakeholders Raise Alarm Over GBV Prevalence in Kitui County

Kitui,

Wednesday, March 13, 2024

KNA by Denson Mututo

Various stakeholders including local community leaders, Community-Based Organizations (CBOs), Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), Officers from both the National and County Governments, local religious leaders, and security agents, have called for swift action to help fight the increased Gender Based Violence (GBV) criminal cases in Kitui County.The anti-GBV crusaders while speaking today during quarterly forum on quality improvement of GBV health care services in the county, observed that Kitui women have taken the centre stage of GBV cases recorded in the recent past across the county hence the need for massive anti-GBV awareness campaigns to educate and persuade local communities to stop practicing retrogressive cultural practices such as Female Genetal Mutilation (FGM).The champions lamented on FGM practice which is largely performed secretly to young girls in some areas of the Mwingi North constituency.

They accused community elders and parents of the young girls for undertaking the retrogressive practice which amounts to GBV crime against the Kenyan girl child.

The forum participants noted that both community elders and parents of victims (girls), are perpetrators of GBV and thus ought to face the full wrath of the law for their actions.

The stakeholders also regretted the high numbers of teenage pregnancies being recorded across the county.

Commenting on a high percentage of teenage mothers contained in recently released 2022 Kenya Demographics Health Survey reports (KDHS), the participants called for steadfast measures to reduce the alarming number of underage mothers in the county.

According to the survey, higher numbers of under 15 years old, referred to as adolescent mothers, were recorded at local healthcare facilities across the county.

The survey report indicated that 437 girls aged between 10 years to 14 years were impregnated and delivered last year.

“Similarly in the previous year 2022, the survey reported that 304 cases of teen mothers visited the local healthcare centers for the services,” said Madam Purity Mutisya, who also is the Kitui County Government director in the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Youth, ICT, Sports and Social Service.

The stakeholder’s forum further expressed concern on the KDHS report that 6037 teenage mothers aged between 15 years to 19 years sought health services in various healthcare facilities across the county in the year 2023.

The GBV stakeholders lamented that scores of the cases of adolescent teen mothers in the KDHS resulted from GBV against the under-age victims.

The stakeholders admitted that GBV against underage girls and women is one of the major teething problems in the county and there is a need for them to re-double efforts in the fight on the vice.

“We are yet to win the war on the GBV crime cases and therefore we need a multi-sectoral approach,” advised Madam Lucian Ndila, who’s also the County’s director State Department of Gender and Affirmative Action.

They pointed out some of the recent cases of GBV cases across the county, the stakeholders condemned the brutal killings of the two women, recalling that in one of the incidents that happened last week at Mutha ward in Kitui South constituency, a form three student was sexually abused before she was brutally murdered.

In the other incident, a woman was chopped off her head and her body dumped in Kiomo-Kyaithani Ward in Mwingi West constituency, in what detectives suspected that her death might have resulted from a family dispute.

The team further castigated the incident that happened last week in Ikanga ward in Kitui South constituency, where two sisters who are pupils in a local primary school were both impregnated by their close neighbor.

The two underage sisters were however rescued last week by security officers and placed in a children’s home in the county.

The local county commissioner Mr Jipchumba Rutto while presiding over the closing ceremony of the meeting warned of stern punishment for the perpetrators of GBV in the county.

The county commissioner who is also the chairman of the county security committee promised to provide security support and as well work jointly with all local leaders and anti-GBV champions in the fight to minimize the rising GBV crimes in the county.

Courtesy ; KNA

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