Gender commission launches gender violence data tool

Health CAS Dr Mercy Mwangangi (centre) launches the GBV management and information system as Dr Joyce Mutinda (l) and Betty Sungura Nyambito look on. [ Jenipher Wachie, Standard]

The National Gender and Equality Commission has launched a new initiative for collecting data on gender-based violence (GBV).

The initiative, which is a partnership with Equity Now, is in response to the government’s commitment number five made under The Generation Equality Forum.

The commitment is aimed at developing a GBV management and information system this year. The revised framework, Monitoring, Evaluation, Research, and Learning (MERL), now goes hand in hand with the existing Sexual and GBV Information System to capture and integrate Gender Based Violence data from the National Police Service, the Judiciary, and the Office of Director of Public Persecution, and the Health and Education sectors.

Reported cases from the police department, treated cases of GBV in hospitals, and persecuted cases in the office director of public persecution, among others, will provide the avenue for data collection.

GBV Data collected from these five key sectors will then inform policies and effectively evaluate the framework for the prevention of and response to gender-based violence in Kenya.

Kenya is one of the most progressive countries in the region when it comes to legal and policy frameworks in the prevention and response to sexual and gender-based violence.

The 2010 Constitution contains expansive provisions regarding human rights, reinforced by the Sexual Offences Act 2006, the Children’s Act 2001, and the Prohibition of Female Genital Mutilation Act 2011.

Despite there being very few gaps concerning legal norms in protecting women and girls from violations, it remains difficult to effectively evaluate the impact of these laws and policies.

There is a lack of data concerning GBV nationally.

In her keynote speech, Dr Mercy Mwangangi said the launch was very timely ahead of the 2022 elections.

“It is important to recognise the season and the risks involved in terms of GBV. GBV has been a brutal feature of elections in Kenya since the 1990s. Despite robust laws and strengthened institutions in response to GBV, data through the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights showed that we have 201 cases occurring in 11 counties occurring as of the most recent elections in 2017.”

Speaking on the importance of the MERL and SGBVIS framework, Mwangangi said the system would give Kenyans more credible data, to help quantify and qualify problems, inform policies, and design programmes based on evidence.

The SGBVIS and MERL framework seeks to substantiate GBV occurrences by adopting the United Nations General Assembly’s indicators that measure the extent, prevalence, and incidence of GBV and a country’s responses to GBV, including policy changes.

Distinct ministries, agencies, and departments in the government collect and have data specific to their sectors, but the multi-sectoral nature of GBV means that the data is uni-dimensional and therefore unable to capture gaps in response to GBV and subsequently appropriate responses.

The National Gender and Equality Commission set out to address this gap by facilitating the development of a Sexual and Gender-Based Violence Information System (SGBVIS), modeled to capture data from five sectors including the National Police Service, the Judiciary, the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution, and the Health and Education sectors.