Mt.Elgon Bodaboda Riders Collaborate With Red Cross In Fight Against GBV 

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By Isabella Maua

The Bodaboda fraternity within Mt. Elgon has vowed to be the community’s watchdogs in fighting gender-based violence and violations of women’s rights through insensitive cultural practices.

In a dialogue meeting organized by the Red Cross at Kapsokwony, the bodaboda chairpersons drawn from across Mt.Elgon Sub County were sensitized on how to aid in reducing the prevalence of sexual harassment, domestic violence, intimate partner violence, and defilement cases, which have been escalating in the recent past.

Speaking during the forum, Alex Ngeywo, the Sub-County bodaboda chairman, pledged to provide civic knowledge to their members and be ambassadors of peace.

“The fight against GBV begins with us; let’s show love and respect paramountly to our wives, daughters, sisters, and clients in the quest to prevent and create awareness about this monster,” noted Ngeywo.

He also challenged parents to be watchful of their children and discouraged those who still valued backward cultural rights like FGM and early marriages, especially among families adjacent to the forests (in Kaberua, Chemweisus, and Kaboywo).

To put reality on the ground into perspective, Janet Khisa, Bungoma County GBV Coordinator, reported that the region is leading in GBV cases at 62%, with cases related to sexual harassment, sodomy incest, and such at 30%.

“It’s crucial to be our voice when it comes to fighting against GBV, whenever you see, hear or suspect any criminal related cases be vigilant to report to relevant authorities including the police,” advised Margaret Wanyonyi, Red Cross GBV Project Officer, Bungoma County.

According to the bodaboda, one way to shun uncouth behaviour in society is to embrace Christianity and promote education among all children, regardless of gender.

“We’re taking oath today as bodaboda fraternity to do soul searching, be part of peaceful dialogue, and work cooperatively with all stakeholders to ensure we uphold high morals and ethics in our line of duty and at our homes to protect our women and children,” committed Elly, one of the riders.

The law enforcement fraternity, which was also present in the forum, promised that the policemen and women are ready to respond to any GBV cases promptly to ensure perpetrators of crime are dealt with accordingly.

“I applaud you for being of good conduct thus far and would like to caution you not to be part of kangaroo courts, which has been the greatest hindrance to the execution of our mandate as police. Let’s allow the law to take its course and justice be served,” reiterated Jared Nyausi, OCS Mt. Elgon Sub County Police Station.

The Red Cross forum was aimed at preventing and creating awareness among the bodaboda riders in conjunction with Finland Development Cooperation, the county government of Bungoma, and Kenya at large.

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