According to Kenya domestic household survey (KDHS) 2016, 38 percent of women aged 15-49 reported physical violence and 15 percent reported having experienced sexual violence. Statistics indicates that Kenya police received 3,596 defilement cases; 913 0f rape, 242 of incest and 124 of sodomy.
Meru County reported 40.6 percent on physical violence and 12.9 percent sexual violence according to the report. According to the access to justice report, conducted by UN women in 2016, 72.6 percent of survivors were unwilling to pursue justice; while only 5 percent of the survivors seen in the facilities were willing to go to court.
The victim protection system is weak dues to high illiteracy level and threats at home, and bribery by the culprits of offenders which as a result leads to ‘death’ of most cases. To educate the community on the Sexual offence Act (2006), CIFORD KENYA found it relevant to intervene by conducting a one day seminar.
On Friday 15th September 2017 special groups such as religious leaders, administration, women leaders, youth leaders and men leaders gathered at CIFORD Kenya training hall, the arrival and the number increased with time since most of the participants were coming from far with the target number expected to be 85 as per the invitation letters. The number increased by 11:00 am.
The facilitator started the training at 10:00 AM handling sexuality, sex positivity and Meru culture with reference to SRHR, the session took one and half an hour followed by a 30 minutes tea break
The second facilitator starting the second session at noon handling evolving norms, sexual violence and its negative impacts with reference to Sexual offence Act (2006), finally the entry point for the SRHR followed by a lunch break at 1:30 pm. the next facilitator who handled youths involvements and participation including HIV response with reference to SRHR.
- Most of the community welcomed the consultative meeting with positivity and promised to carry their roles in the community and to carry their duties to assist youths.
- Most of the community leaders leant more about CIFORD and congratulated the roles and the assistance they play in the community and promised to support the organization.
- CIFORD Kenya learnt more about the challenges community face apart from sexual violence which broadened the knowledge on how to continue working with the community.
- The plan of action was drawn by the community themselves through group discussions which gave CIFORD Kenya a fair playground without interfering with the community activities.
- The police together with chiefs (administration) promised to create a good rapport with the community and work hand in hand to ensure that cases of sexual assault are handled with utmost seriousness.
- Behavior change which was the main agenda for the training was achieved to enable the transition from cultural beliefs to adherence with the law.
- Language barrier
- Cultural beliefs as some elders insisted that they shouldn’t have been mixed with youths.
- Educate youths and men on SRHR.
- Parents to take their roles seriously and help in reducing number of idle youths in the villages
- Police to maintain a good link with the community to enable them freely assess justice in case of violation of their SRHR
- Police to maintain law and order, take a strong action for the violators.
- Community to seek justice because it is their rights.
- To take their own responsibilities and educate their families on SRHR and reduce number of idle youths by giving them roles to do at home.
- Chiefs to report or question any idle adolescent and lias with the parents for explanations.
- Youths to take responsibilities of their lives and educate themselves.
- Parents to carry out their roles properly and take full control of their children lives
- To preach and spread SRHR information in churches.
- To organize seminars in churches to offer behavior change trainings for the youths.
- To fully take their roles as the leaders of the family.
- To empower their youths and children about SRHR.
Kalumera Thuranira is a 63 year old widow from Mumui sub location of Meru in the semi-arid region. Kalumera is seen as an outcast in the community as she is deaf and dumb and has no children. Her husband died 20 years ago who had married her as a second wife. Kalumera lives a lonely and alienated life.
Julia Kauria is a member of Kailakai Self help group in Kianjai ward, She is a beneficiary of CIFORD training program which is aimed at sustainable agriculture for food security. Julia has a garden and the joy in a whole family can be expressed in their faces.
Ann Mwari, a proud mother of six in her late 30s from Cheranga Village, Tigania West Constituency in Meru County. She is a member of Cheranga women self-help group. Her commitment, dedication and passion to unleash her potential through their group is quiet promising. Her journey started 2 years ago when she made a bold move to join colleague women in order to work together by bettering one another.