By Raylenne Kambua

The government will build more safe houses in the counties in its efforts to address gender-based violence (GBV).

Kenya currently has 36 safe houses but there is need for more, according to Prof. Margaret Kobia, the Cabinet secretary of Public Service, Gender, Senior Citizens Affairs and Special Programmes.

Speaking at the Kenya Editors’ Guild Press Club meeting on October 8, Prof Kobia said that gender was not only about women. ‘’It is the constructive roles of men and women, boys and girls,’’ she said.

She applauded the media for bringing to light GBV cases witnessed during the heat of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

In June 2021, the government unveiled new commitments to accelerate the end to GBV in a plan titled “Kenya’s roadmap to advancing gender equality, ending all forms of GBV and FGM by 2026’’.

The objective of the KEG meeting was to discuss and interrogate progress made on gender equality.

KEG Vice President Zubeidah Kananu said the media plays a big role in gender equality advocacy and called for more training programmes for journalists to ensure gender sensitive reporting.

Ms Eva Komba, the Gender lead of the Social Development Goals (SDGs) Kenya Forum said data was necessary for proper implementation of gender equality.

She challenged the media to play its watchdog role by interrogating in depth efforts by the government to achieve the Gender equality plan.

“The question the media needs to ask is: what structures are being put in place to ensure continuity of the efforts towards Generation Equality as government leadership changes?’’

SDGs Kenya is working with Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) to create a framework that will provide standards of the generation and adoption of citizen data.

Ms Komba asked the media to spotlight data concerning the government’s financial allocations and disbursement of resources to various departments including the gender sector.

KEG committed to the 11 commitments of ‘Kenya for Gender Equality’ in the upcoming 16 days of activism. KEG committed to:

  1. Have a thematic area for each day of the 16 days of the activism;
  2. Hold a media stakeholders meeting on the first day to bring the visualisation of the commitments;
  3. Monitor how the reportage of the thematic areas will be made from the rural to the national levels;
  4. Seek capacity building measures for the government, media and other stakeholders;
  5. Conduct awareness in the form of campaigns; and
  6. On the 16th day, host a stakeholders roundtable to look back on what has been achieved.