, NAIROBI, Kenya, May 30 – Women living in Kibera are due to present a petition to the government seeking to ensure that the rights of women living in slum areas are safeguarded.
The Federation of Kenya Women Lawyers (FIDA) Executive Director Patricia Nyaundi said on Saturday that a majority of women in slum areas cannot get access to effective family planning services and other health services to improve their living standards.
She further stated that most of them are molested due to lack of enough security and a reduced police presence in the region.
“The women of Kibera are demanding that the government delivers on security especially with regard to sexual offences and domestic violence,” she appealed, further adding that women residing in the slums live under deplorable circumstances.
“It is unacceptable that in the 21st century, people are living in the circumstances that our sisters in Kibera have to live under.”
The FIDA Executive Director was speaking during a public forum in Kibera where she said that if the government does not implement the petitions within 14 days, FIDA will take court action.
“The police are not near enough to these people. The environment encourages most of these offences because you are talking of dark and narrow alleys, so the chances of someone being raped or sodomised is very high,” Mrs Nyaundi said.
She called on the government to provide services that will ensure the upholding of women’s rights.
“What these people need is adequate lighting. They just require that these paths be lighted up, opened and with additional security,” she stated.
At the same time, women have been urged to take the lead in fighting for their basic human rights.
Mrs Nyaundi explained that most of the time, women’s rights were not upheld because of their silence.
She pointed out that such decisive action would go a long way in improving the living standards of women in the society.
“They must continue talking. They must continue pushing. No Kenyan should sit and just watch the government driving them down the drain,” she stated.
“I am delighted with the initiative by the Kibera women to come out in such large numbers and to say ‘enough is enough, we will not take it sitting down’,” she said.
The FIDA boss also urged the government to vaccinate girls when they were young to reduce the illnesses they may suffer from later in life.
“Cervical cancer is growing in Kenya at an alarming rate. It is preventable. All that the government needs to do is ensure that at the time of vaccination, all girl children from the age of 8 years are vaccinated.”