Women in Kenya to Speak out on Gender Based Violence using a Mobile App

SEMA GBV

SEMA GBV
I count myself as one of the few lucky women who have never experienced Gender Based Violence. However, that does not mean that I have never seen it happen to my relatives, friends and neighbors. Nairobi recently made international headlines due to the violence that was being meted out on women by Matatu (public transport) touts and men due to what the men considered indecent dressing.

Thousands of women, mostly married women are violated physically by their spouses.

Strategic Applications International (SAI)—in partnership with Servant Forge (SF), Nazarene Compassionate Organization of Kenya (NCO), Pepsi, Kenya Model United Nations, LVCT, Youth TV, The Premier League “Big Four” Fans in Kenya, and Mathare Youth Sports Association (MYSA)—has developed the SEMA: Mapenzi Bila Chuki campaign to address attitude and behavior change among Kenyan youth.

SEMA is an initiative under the umbrella Kenya Gender-Based Violence Partnership (KGBVP), an effort by SAI, SF, NCO, and UNICEF to respond to and break the cycle of gender-based violence in Kenya. The mission of KGBVP is to reduce incidence of gender-based violence (GBV) through comprehensive and inclusive strategy of prevention, intervention, treatment, and enforcement by strengthening faith-based and community-based responses to the GBV pandemic in Kenya.

As part of  the efforts to address gender based violence reporting in Kenya, SAI has partnered with Usalama Innovative Systems to create the SEMA app, a GBV reporting mobile phone application that connects the user to emergency hotline numbers, service providers and priority persons in their contact list in cases of emergency. It also connects the user to the One2One counseling hotline number.

The Mobile app will be launched as the world marks  International Women’s Day in March. The launch will also serve as a platform for partners and stakeholder with youth and gender programs to engage.

Statistics in Gender Based Violence

Gender-based violence (GBV) is an endemic perpetrated mainly against women and children that results in physical, sexual or psycho-social harm. USAID and UNICEF research uncovers the following staggering statistics:-

83% of women and girls in Kenya report one or more episodes of physical abuse in childhood
75% of women Kenyan report having suffered from gender-based domestic violence in the homestead.
The majority of Kenyan women believe it is acceptable for men to beat their spouses.
46% report at least one incident of sexual abuse as a child
36% of rural women report having experienced Female Genital Mutilation (FMG)
25% report losing their virginity by force

In November last year, Amnesty International together with other organisations world wide launched the ’16 days of Activism Against Gender Violence”. People around the world challenged violence against women and girls in its many forms standing up to attitudes and behaviors that value men over women – and that are expressed in many ways, from casual insults to outright violence.

The Kenyan  launch  of this campaign was attended by Uhuru Kenyatta at a time when women were being stripped in the streets of Nairobi prompting the #MyDressMyChoice reactions.

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