Pastoralist communities sensitized on ending violence against women and harmful practices during crisis

FODDAJ Director Nancy Sitima with Olenarau Primary school headteacher Christopher Meikoki (l )and students after GBV training and donation of sanitary pads.

By Our Reporter

The prolonged drought that hit Kenya in the past two years saw farmers mostly pastoralists loose more than 2.5 million livestock, it left more than 5.4 million people without adequate access to food and water.

Women and girls were the most affected, girls dropped out of school others were married off while women were left struggling to feed their families as men migrated to look for pasture.

The effects of the drought to women and girls have prompted a community-based organization to carry out training on preparedness and response to hunger by pastoralists.

Forum for Women in Development, Democracy and Justice (FODDAJ) is carrying out programs to support disaster affected communities to build their preparedness and response to the hunger crisis and prioritizing the needs of women and girls. The programs are through generous support from Center for Disaster Philanthropy CDP).

Women and girls were at a higher risk of facing gender-based violence during and in the aftermath of the disaster; they also had additional health and hygiene needs resulting from pregnancy, breastfeeding and managing period hygiene.

When families face food insecurity, water scarcity, or displacement due to natural disasters, girls are more likely to drop out of school to help support their families.

FODDAJ Director Nancy Sitima donating food to women after training on GBV in Enkorika Kajiado Central Sub County

Grace Wanjiru from FODDAJ said they are working with communities to adopt ways to prevent risks of violence faced by women and girls ensuring their needs are heard and met in emergency responses. 

The CBO held a training at Kajiado West Keekonyokie Ward where the locals were also taken through ways of preventing GBV cases such as Female Genital Mutilation, early marriage, sexual violence among others.

FODDAJ distributed food supplies to the vulnerable, sanitary pads and underwears.

Maria Oloibon a community leader said the locals are still facing dangerous cultural practices, she said the drought contributed to girls dropping out of school and GBV.

Oloibon pointed out that FGM cases have dropped but the worst challenge the community is now facing is teenage pregnancy this is due to poverty.

FODDAJ also conducted GBV awareness at Olenarau Primary school in Enkorika area of Kajiado Central Sub County and donated sanitary pads.

The school headteacher Christopher Meikoki said cases of FGM and early marriage have reduced although number of children reduced after the drought, these is because most students dropped out of school due to poverty.

They also distributed books together with the county government of Kajiado, Ministry of Education and Kenya Literature Bureau (KLB) to promote Adult Education programs across the affected regions, where many girls dropped out of school and face GBV caused by hunger crisis.

Mercy Njiriri, Kajiado County Adult Literacy Programme Coordinator said GBV cases in Kajiado has reduced this is due to adult literacy programs, trainings held by governments and non-government organizations.

She said FODDAJ community programs have also contributed to reduction of dangerous practices in the county, adult education has also largely contributed of reduction of the cases.

Diana Olenja head of Communication (KLB) said the adult learning program has helped in advancing govt initiatives.

She noted that through education the community is able to learn a lot including effects of dangerous traditional practices.

FODDAJ is supporting return to school programs and girls education promotion that provide education and economic opportunities for women and girls.

This program is about community awareness campaigns to help communities push back against harmful gender norms in order to create alternative paths for adolescent girls and help them improve access to education and also help girls build their skills and resources they need to thrive in a changing climate.

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