Kisii County in urgent need of a gender policy to curb GBV

Defilement increased to 25 per cent in Kisii county in the year 2020. [iStockphoto]

As the world marks 16 days of Activism against gender-based violence this year, Kisii County remains one of the hotpot counties with high GBV prevalence.

According to the National Crime Research Centre (2018-2022), statistics indicate that general child sexual exploitation in Kisii County is over 30 per cent, which includes defilement at 11.8 per cent, alarmingly higher than the national defilement rate that is 7.1 per cent.

The report further indicates that defilement which was previously at 18.35 per cent increased to 25 per cent in Kisii County in the year 2020.

In the year 2022, the Ministry of Health, Kisii County reported alarming rates of Sexual Gender-Based Violence, where an average of 202 cases were recorded in one sub-county every 72 hours. This is alarming and calls for urgent action.

Despite having a high prevalence rate of reported GBV cases, Kisii County still lags in providing a framework for addressing GBV cases, monitoring and evaluating GBV in the county, and a subsequent budgetary allocation to address gender concerns in the county through the adoption of a gender policy.

Kenya's seven 7 counties (Makueni, Kisumu, Migori, Meru, Isiolo, Mombasa and Narok) have adopted their county gender policies.  Though some of the counties are struggling with the implementation of the policy, some counties like Makueni have included Gender as a development issue, hence, influencing budgetary allocations for gender concerns. 

Recently, Mombasa County established Tononoka Children’s court as stipulated in their gender policy. This is a positive indicator of a successful gender policy that calls for efficient and effective service delivery and ensures justice is served.

The government has made commendable and deliberate steps to eradicate SGBV through a robust legislative framework namely: The Kenyan Constitution 2010, the sexual offences act No.3 of 2006, the victim protection act No. 17 of 2014, the County government’s act (No 17 of 2012) which provides for the devolution of health services to the county and the Bill of Rights.

Regionally, Kenya is one of the signatories of the Maputo Protocol, which is one of the most progressive legal instruments providing a comprehensive set of human rights for African women, CEDAW and the generation equality Forum commitments to ending GBV and FGM.

This is a clear call for all the counties, including Kisii County, to put strategies in place to support the realization of gender equality in Kenya.

-The writer is Youth Advisor, Center for Community Mobilization and Empowerment (CECOME) [email protected]