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Kenya and Zimbabwe collaborate to prevent violence against women and girls

In Kenya and Zimbabwe, authorities and civil society groups are employing various strategies to combat gender-based violence.

As part of UN Women’s Generation Equality Forum Action Coalition on Gender-based Violence, the Government of Kenya and the civil society organization Yes Trust Zimbabwe are taking steps to reduce violence against women and girls.

Yes Trust Zimbabwe

In Zimbabwe, Yes Trust has provided training to over 50 local community leaders on effective practices for handling and reporting cases of gender-based violence. They have also engaged in multimedia projects to raise awareness on the issue. These leaders have implemented multimedia advocacy strategies, such as short films, mobile roadshows, festivals, and community radio dialogues, to create platforms for dialogue and support survivors.

Thina Maphosa, Head of Programmes at Yes Trust, emphasizes, “Our approach focuses on more than just raising awareness; it involves creating spaces for dialogue, challenging societal norms, and empowering survivors through concrete initiatives. Investing in women is an investment in a future free from violence.”

The organization has established over 50 groups led by women and girls that conduct programs to educate the public on violence reduction strategies and empower survivors.

Soneni Moyo, a young feminist advocate trained through Yes Trust’s programs, expressed gratitude for the organization’s valuable skills in sexual and reproductive health, advocacy, and counseling. She now sees herself as a gender champion capable of holding institutions accountable and advocating for her community with confidence.

The Government of Kenya

“We believe that empowering women is not only a moral obligation but also an economic necessity,” states Phoebe Makungu, the Generation Equality Forum focal point at Kenya’s State Department for Gender and Affirmative Action.

She explains, “Our policy reforms, local initiatives, and strategic investments are paving the way for a society where women can thrive, not just as survivors but as active contributors to our nation’s progress.”

In collaboration with the Generation Equality Forum, Kenya has initiated localized programs addressing gender-based violence in nine towns and counties. These programs include toll-free lines for reporting gender-based violence and clinics offering services to survivors.

The government has also supported the Anti-Female Genital Mutilation Board, a UN Women partner. Elders in the Samburu region signed a declaration in 2021 to advocate for ending harmful practices like female genital mutilation. A similar declaration is expected from elders in the Mt. Elgon region this year.

The Supreme Council of Elders in Samburu acknowledged that traditional rites had caused harm to girls and committed to protecting them from such practices in the future.

Looking Forward

Investing in women is crucial for achieving gender equality and economic prosperity.

Maphosa affirms, “Our multimedia advocacy, community engagement, and empowerment programs are essential elements of a comprehensive strategy to bring about lasting change.”

Makungu echoes this sentiment, stating, “Empowering women is an investment in our nation’s prosperity and strength. Our efforts in policy reforms, awareness campaigns, and services are geared towards a future where women can thrive, contributing significantly to a just and violence-free society.”

At the halfway point of the Generation Equality campaign, Yes Trust Zimbabwe and the Government of Kenya exemplify the importance of investing in women and the leadership required to create a world where women flourish beyond survival.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of UN Women – Africa.

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