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Anti-SGBV campaigner calls for funding to create safe havens for victims  

Florence Machio (pictured), a campaign officer with Equality Now Wednesday said the policy will only be meaningful if resources are allocated to drive its objectives/End FGM Campaign

KISUMU, Kenya, Dec 19 – Kisumu County Assembly has been urged to allocate funds in the budget for the implementation of policy on Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV).

Florence Machio, a campaign officer with Equality Now Wednesday said the policy will only be meaningful if resources are allocated to drive its objectives.

Machio noted Kisumu County is the second county in the country to develop a comprehensive policy framework designed to eliminate SGBV.

She said more funds will ensure the establishment of safe houses for victims of gender-based violence and putting trained personnel to manage them.

Machio said most victims get stranded after reporting the cases to the police in fear on reprisals from the suspects on returning home.

“It is not just allocating money to the gender department, it is not just allocating money to the gender violence recovery centre, it is also building a shelter and making sure it is resourced,” she said.

She challenged MCAs to keenly comb the budget before passage to ensure allocation of funds should focus on trade, roads, water since they are connected to making women and girls vulnerable to sexual and gender-based violence.

“We are hoping that the next time the County Assembly will be discussing budget, they will have the voices of women and girls in their minds so that they don’t forget why they are in the Assembly in the first place,” she said.

Speaking during a forum with county assembly members on the policy, Machio said Kisumu County came second in a report launched on Wednesday on electoral-related sexual and gender-based violence.

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She said systems must now be put in place early enough to curb such incidents in the coming general election.

MCAs who attended the sensitization training promised to ensure enough allocation is budgeted to propel the implementation of the policy.

Nominated MCA Caren Muga said the county lacks enough safe houses thus the need to put more to accommodate the rising number of the victims.

Muga who has been a crusader against sexual and gender-based violence said the Assembly must rise to the occasion and put money where it is required in the budget.

“We must make sure that when we are making our budget, allocations need to put in place for the success of these rescue centers,” she said.

Rashid Miruka, chairperson of the Gender Committee in the Assembly said inadequate has been a challenged in addressing cases of SGBV.

Miruka said more needs to be done in capacity building of stakeholders on how best to deal with SGBV cases.

“We need people who can talk about this, because we have realized in the past that not even the chief or the police have the required capacity to handle these cases,” he said.

The policy seeks to address SGBV incidences in the county and promote gender equality by setting up systems that will protect, prevent and respond to violations whenever they occur.

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The policy borrows heavily from the national, regional and international laws that the country is obligated to implement.

It also calls for the prioritization of SGBV-responsive interventions including the allocation of sufficient financial and human resources geared towards supporting activities.

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