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Safe Housing for Gender-Based Violence Victims in Nairobi
June 2022
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By Christine Akinyi Onyango

Cases of sexual and gender-based violence have been on the rise, with Nairobi county emerging as one of the most affected regions recording 3,716 cases between January and June this year. Welcome to this feature on safe housing for victims of GBV in Nairobi; my name is Hilda Ajema.

According to the Kenya Health Information, some 3,450 sexual and gender-based violence cases were recorded last year. In 2019, at least 2,023 cases were reported, marking a decrease from 2,357 cases in 2018. As a means of managing the cases, the provision of safe houses is a vital step. Despite recording significant cases, Nairobi county does not have a single safe house for victims. 

The situation may be bleak but there are plans for housing in the county. Increased access to decent and affordable housing is one of the key deliverables noted in the Nairobi County Integrated Development Plan, for the Urban Renewal and Housing sector.

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In addition, the Nairobi City County Sexual and Gender-Based Management and Control Bill, 2019, seeks to ensure victims have shelter and get the proper care as they seek justice.

The bill sets aside Sh68 million towards the provisions of safe shelters, with the county government announcing it will contribute Sh18 million towards the initiative. The office of the Nairobi Woman Rep pledged to give Sh 50 million to construct safe shelters at Mji wa Huruma.

To ensure the victims are safe as their cases are being prosecuted, the bill presented by nominated MCA Wanjiru Kariuki also wants the county to establish safe houses in all 17 sub-counties alongside an SGBV management committee to be headed by the Gender and Youth Affairs executive. The committee will begin its mandate 12 months after the operalization of the bill. 

The bill states that the committee members will also include the county executive members for youths, officers from finance, health, security departments and Inter-religious members appointed by the governor. The appointments will be made in consideration of persons living with disabilities.

Furthermore, the committee is mandated to ensure sufficient and adequately trained staff to carry out planned interventions, undertake and promote research on sexual and gender-based violence and ensure data collection as a basis for driving high-quality and more relevant service development.  

The proposed law vests the responsibility of sensitising the public to the impacts of the vice on the county government. City Hall will also be required to promote education on the causes, consequences, means of prevention and response to SGBV in public youth polytechnics and other county-run vocational training institutions. This will also be applied to both public and private levels at primary, secondary and tertiary institutions. It also proposes the provision of a minimum package of healthcare services handling GBV cases.

Image: Photo by Alex Green on Pexels

This report has been published by Ghetto FM in partnership with Code for Africa, KCOMMNET, the German Cooperation, and the Catholic media council under the #OurCountyOurResponsibility project.

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