By Isabella Maua
The Sabaot Council of Elders held a collaborative meeting on Thursday with the Finland- based Gender Based Violence Bilateral Program in the quest to track progress and end female genital mutilation in Mt. Elgon.
The meeting that was held in Chepkitale was led by Bungoma County Executive Committee Member on Gender, Culture, Youth and Sports, Eng. Agnes Naliaka, who expressed her contention in the partnership, applauding the bilateral program for focusing on individual groups, communities, and institutions while providing new models of interventions in the GBV space.
“The program has already made remarkable milestones in the county; the council of elders, people living with disabilities, bodaboda communities, health workers, and community health volunteers are new champions in the GBV prevention and response program,” noted Naliaka.
She also appreciated the structure and substance of the program, which has mapped Kenya into hot-spot zones and been adapted as a structured and evidence – based intervention in the red(high risk), yellow (medium risk) and green wards (low risk) saying it remains a data- guided intervention.
“The proposed Swahili phrase ‘Tutembee Pamoja’ is a statement of intent to pitch for and draw everyone’s support; it’s never lost on me that only through strengthening capacities, collaborations and coordination shall we address and prevent GBV in our families and communities,” Naliaka reiterated.
The principal further vowed to scale up GBV data-driven intervention in her administration and link up with relevant bodies to accelerate data sharing and information systems in the county and national government as she endeavors to seek political support from cabinet and gender sector committees in the County Assembly to sustain the program,” emphasized Naliaka.
Even as the Finnish-Kenyan partnership gives a ray of hope to the marginalized Sabaot community, it’s everyone’s dream to see Mt. Elgon declare the end of FGM in the region.
Currently, Bungoma County remains a GBV hotspot, with 62% of women experiencing physical violence, besides an increase in HIV infections, teenage pregnancies and Gender- Based Violence—the Triple Threat.