Women rights organizations call for policies to protect the girlchild

By Judy Ndunge and Rael Akinyi

Forum for African Women Educationalists Kenya (FAWEK) yesterday held a forum to unveil the outcome of the compiled report for the Data Driven Advocacy for Girls Education in Emergencies project, which they founded in partnership with Equal Measures (EM) 2030.

In attendance were representatives from Box girls Kenya ,Daughters of Kenya, WERK, and Association of Media Women in Kenya (AMWIK) among other women rights Organisations. The objective of the project  was to improve access to and use of data on girls education in crisis and humanitarian settings in Kenya so as to improve on policies made and their implementations so as to protect and retain them in school.

Representatives from different women rights organizations at the review meetingRepresentatives from different women rights organizations at the review meeting

Representatives from different women rights organizations at the review meeting

‘’The advocacy message is keep her safe where we want to protect school going adolescent girls in Nairobi’s Eastleigh area in addressing the issue of SGBV in their immediate environment,” said Dr Noam Ondicho (WERK) presenting the compiled research by the Nairobi team advocacy plan.

“The case study suffering in silence is a study on barriers to education faced by teenage refugee   girls in Eastleigh refugees. The research targeted Eastleigh area because of its large population of urban refugees highlighting the reality of their lives, said Monicah Mararo (FAWE Kenya). Eastleigh is home to a large number of refugees coming from different countries like Eritrea ,Sudan ,Somalia Ethiopia Burundi among other countries. From the research done the sources highlighted different reasons ranging from ongoing crises in their own country, fear from being abducted by the militia, War and violence (26% of the girls), cultural practices and gender based violence as reasons for fleeing out of their own country.

“They are separated from their family members, dislocated from their community and without the reproduction of their government they become secluded and very vulnerable to dropping out of school and ultimately they just end up being victims of SGBV,” said Monicah.

Poverty, unfair traditional gender norms, weak community guidelines, socialization and normalization of SGBV, ignorant culture, belief and practices and retrogressive traditional practices like FGM have been blamed for the rise in SGBV cases in the country.

Dr Naom Ondicho

“SGBV has a lot of negativity among our girls not only physically but emotionally. But if we step in and lend a hand these girls will not only be able to have positive behavioural change but also be able to transition from one level of education to another and in the future take up leadership positions in the country and make positive changes,” said Dr Naom.

The objective of the advocacy plan would target law makers and the the community itself to successfully implement the laid down suggestion in the plan.

“Our objective is to target Governors, Members of the assembly ,Nairobi County assembly Speaker, Attorney general among other policy makers to try and fix the gaps in the law or even come up with advanced laws to protect the rights of the girl child not only in matters SGBV but also in her rights to access education. The implementation plan of the objective would take three months of monitoring and evaluation while lobbying of stakeholders estimated to take 6 to 12 months.

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