, NYAHURURU, Kenya, May 30 – A major anti-gender violence campaign has been launched in Nyandarua District aimed at creating awareness about the dangers of the vice and a better way of solving family disputes.
The campaign, spearheaded by Partners With a Vision (PWV), a non governmental organisation, is set to spread the gospel against gender and human rights abuses to ensure that such activities becomes a thing of the past.
According to the PWV Chief Executive Officer Joseph Thendu, the group has already recruited about 800 people to act as ‘changers of life’.
He said on Friday that the group has been trained on various activities to sensitise their local communities on the importance of unity and respect for human rights.
He observed that there was no justification for this violence.
"We believe we can help end this violence against women and other vulnerable members of our community and change is possible," Mr Thendu said during the launch of a five-year campaign programme against gender violence dubbed ‘We Can’ at the Nyahururu Municipal Stadium.
He said PWV had established satellite offices in Murang’a, Koibatek, Laikipia and Kiambu districts and would recruit over 13 million people to carry out the activities across the country by the year 2012.
The launch follows a government demographic survey indicating that one in every two women in the country suffers violence in their lifetime.
It also comes at a time when another report released recently by the Maendeleo ya Wanaume Lobby group indicated that about 1.5 million men across the country were victims of domestic violence.
The PWV boss said that the campaign was necessitated by the increased cases of gender violence, which he blamed on the lack of a binding law on the vice.
“We have the will and potential to do it,” he said. “We have to first see how we can work around it as a country before we move to the next level with other countries.”
Mr Thendu also called on legislators to ensure that they push for the passage of gender responsive bills, which include the reintroduction of the Family Protection or Domestic Violence Bill.
“Why continue to allow a normal society to reduce the dignity of half of the people. Why tie one hand behind our backs as we try and face the challenges of today and tomorrow,” he remarked.
The CEO said that violence was not just about things that required medical attention, but anything that hurts.
Addressing the more than 500 hundred women who turned up for the fete, Lucy Denteuling, the Programmes Officer with Oxfam Novib of Netherlands, decried the increased cases of family disputes resulting in violence and called on stakeholders to look into ways of putting this to a stop.
He said most victims were suffering silently for fear of counterattacks, and mentioned a need for the government to introduce more counselling centres for such people to help them overcome the trauma.