Dialo, Suzanne and Sharon at the red card event


Christabel, a model and a nursing student in Kilifi, says many underage girls who get pregnant are forced to procure abortions as the perpetrators of sexual violence, some of their relatives, force them to remain quiet about the matter.

She says some end up in the hospital, weak and desperate after the abortions go wrong. Even then, she says, they rarely give up their threatening molesters, making it hard to follow up.

Kilifi County, which has faced long-standing challenges related to GBV and teen pregnancies, has witnessed a substantial transformation in the last year.

Today, the rate of GBV stands at 13 percent, down from a concerning 30 percent in 2019.

"Our girls represent the very essence of our future. They embody the promise of a brighter tomorrow. Ensuring their safety, access to quality education, and empowerment is not merely a matter of human rights; it is a strategic investment in the prosperity of our community and our nation as a whole," said Governor Mung'aro.

"When our girls are liberated from fear and violence, they can unleash their full potential, thereby contributing significantly to the growth and advancement of our society," he added.

He said the Red Card campaign calls for collective action-a united stand against gender-based violence.

"It demands that we challenge detrimental norms and stereotypes, that we educate ourselves and others, and that we extend our unwavering support to survivors," he said, sentiments that were echoed by the county First Lady Susanne Mung'aro.

According to a 2019 World Bank report, GBV, or violence against women and girls is a global pandemic that affects one in three women in their lifetime.

The report said 35 percent of women worldwide have experienced either physical and (or) sexual intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence.

Globally, seven percent of women have been sexually assaulted by someone other than a partner while as many as 38 percent of murders of women are committed by an intimate partner. Two hundred million women have experienced female genital mutilation.

Dr Sharon Okubo, the ARDN Red Card campaign ambassador said world over, there is a need to shed light on various forms of discrimination and violence such as GBV, unequal access to education and healthcare, economic disparities, and harmful cultural practices.

She said there is a need to promote initiatives and advocate for policies that empower women and girls ensuring they have equal opportunities for education, economic participation, leadership roles, and decision-making.


"According to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, 45 per cent of women aged 15-49 have experienced physical violence, and 14 percent have experienced sexual violence. Harmful practices like female genital mutilation (FGM) and child marriage persist, with 21 per cent of women aged 20 - 24 being married before 18 and approximately 21 per cent of girls undergoing FGM. These statistics underscore the urgent need for initiatives like this one to promote gender equality and create a more inclusive society in Kenya and Africa," said Dr Okubo.

By leveraging established networks and forming strategic partnerships, she said, various players can pool resources, share expertise, and coordinate efforts more effectively, maximising the impact of common initiatives.

Dr Ruth Masha said subjecting women and girls to GBV is a gross violation of their fundamental human rights that undermines self-esteem and personal confidence.

"Survivors require care and support to cope with the ordeals they face. Some might not want to share the ills, but still, they will need counselling as well as medical care. The perpetrators should be held accountable and brought to book," Dr Masha said.

She said there is a need to create public advocacy campaigns as well as rescue centres and safe spaces for survivors can be empowered without being made vulnerable.

Noni Mbugguss, a GBV survivor who now runs an NGO that advocates for an end to GBV, said the trauma that comes with sexual violence can cause a lifetime of depression on survivors, adding that survivors should not be subjected to public judgement.

Living Wellness Gender-Based Violence