Survivors of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV), especially during the Covid-19 period, have a reason to smile after three organisations rolled out a multi-million project to support them.
The Centre for Rights Education and Awareness (Creaw Kenya), Collaborative Centre for Gender and Development (CCGD) and Groots Kenya with support of MasterCard Foundation have identified 10 counties where they will support survivors of SGBV in the context of Covid-19.
Speaking during the fund launch at a Nairobi hotel recently, Groots Kenya Executive Director Ms Frida Githuku said the survivors will be assisted in the resilience and recovery process through a holistic approach for sustainable outcomes.
Ms Githuku added that the partners have designed a Sh50 million fund to be disbursed in form of personal grants and affordable loans to at least 1,000 GBV survivors.
"The fund is being operated alongside other GBV response services including legal advisory services, psychosocial support, rescue services, shelter facilities and business development support services," she said.
The executive director observed that it was unfortunate commercial banks reduced lending, especially to the informal sector where women businesses are concentrated, during the Covid-19 period, limiting their access to credit.
"Furthermore, survivors of gender-based violence are profiled as risk borrowers due to lack of social support and forced relocation or mobility," she noted.
Groots Kenya will oversee the program in Kiambu, Kakamega and Tana River, Creaw will be in Kilifi, Mombasa and Nairobi while CCGD will work in Kajiado, Busia, Mandera and Kwale counties.
The programme is divided into two categories including personal grant and the loan fund. The eligible beneficiaries of the personal grant must be survivors of GBV, a woman, youth or persons with disabilities. They should show why they need support, by proving the effects of GBV on them, and be residents of the 10 project counties. Each individual will benefit once from the grant to a maximum of Sh15,000.
The loan fund ranging from Sh3,000 to Sh500,000 will have a repayment period of up to 18 months and a grace period of one month.
Beneficiaries are required to be above18 years, GBV survivors, a woman, youth or person with disabilities, engaging only in legal businesses and should show cause on the need for financial support. They too, should prove the impact of GBV on the businesses.
The implementing partners will identify and refer applicants to the lending bank in the respective counties. Those who qualify will receive mandatory entrepreneurship training.
Ms Zuhura Odhiambo from Kenya Private Sector Alliance (Kepsa) said there is a need for GBV-related laws, noting that the organisation is coming up with a gender policy to deal with GBV.
High Court Judge Teresia Matheka, said there are enough laws to deal with gender violence in the country adding what is needed to just implement them.
"The victims and survivors have a right to have GBV cases investigated deeply," she said.
Pacifica Ongecha, a GBV champion in Kiambu County, said many women were dropping off gender violence related cases against their partners due to economic burden associated with the cases.
"It is a high time State and non-State actors unite and make our community gender violence free. Women should also liberate themselves from violations by moving out of violent and abusive unions," said Ms Ongecha.