16 DAYS CAMPAIGN AGAINST GENDER BASED VIOLENCE- GBV LAUNCH HELD ON 25th NOVEMBER 2011 AT SHIMO LA TEWA MAIN PRISON.
Every One, Every Day, Every Way, Prevent Violence against Women was the regional theme for Africa and indeed Civil society organizations, Shimo la tewa prison officers, Shimo la tewa prisoners and Borstal Institution entertainers, Badilika club members with their families together with the Pwani GBV network convened at the Shimo La Tewa Main Prison to launch this year’s 16 days campaign against GBV. It was a colorful event both for the inmates and the present organizations and especially for the Badilika group members who are transformed sexual offenders and are now ambassadors of change and creating awareness in the prison about preventing GBV
.About the 16 Days Campaign.
16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence in origin curtails from the first Women `s Global Leadership Institute in 1991, the scheme was sponsored by the Center for Women`s Global leadership. The dates November 25, International Day against Violence against Women and December 10 was opted by participants to symbolically link
Assistant Commissioner of Prisons Mrs Margaret Tuma.
violence against women and International Human Rights Day, and emphasize that such violence is a violation of Human Rights. The 16 days phase also highlights other significant days including November 29- International Women Human Rights Defenders Day, December 1- World AIDS Day, and December 6 -which marks the Anniversary of the Montreal Massacre.
The 16 Days Campaign has been used as an organizing strategy by individuals and groups around the world to call for the elimination of all forms of violence against women by:
Raising awareness about gender-based violence as a human rights issue at the local, national, regional and international levels
Strengthening local work around violence against women
Establishing a clear link between local and international work to end violence against women
Providing a forum in which organizers can develop and share new and effective strategies
Demonstrating the solidarity of women around the world organizing campaigns on violence against women.
Creating tools to pressure governments to implement promises made to eliminate violence against women.
In Kenya, Vote Peace, Stop Sexual Violence was the theme of the year, it was relevant in relation to the election coming up next year 2012 and the violence that people, especially women went through in the last post election violence in 2007.
Coast Women In Development in collaboration with the Pwani GBV network have in the past conducted community awareness and informed communities on GBV and how to handle GBV cases in the community, this year we felt necessary to get to the perpetrators.
The Badilika Groups
The Badilika (Swahili name for ‘Change’) project is a program that works with the male sexual offenders who have accepted their mistakes and are ready to speak out, to be human rights ambassadors challenging other males young and old, to be 'MEN NOT VIOLENT NOT SILENT'!
Perpetrators are engaged in behavioral change, participatory learning approaches and outreach programs where they can open up and speak openly about how their behavior change has the potential to create more gender-equitable relationships, thereby decreasing gender based violence.
Pwani GBV network
had earlier in the year initiated the program at the Shimo La Tewa
Main prison and the Borstal Institution in Mombasa where 15 males
from each institution that voluntarily came up to champion for the
fight against GBV were identified. The network has conducted various
activities in the prison with the two groups which were geared
towards giving them education on GBV. For example we have had
sessions with them on the Masculinity Topic, and because we also
provided them with books carrying a collection of stories from the
GBV survivors who had been sexually assaulted, it
Badilika group members in yellow tshirts on the forefront.
made them realize the effect they have on the survivors, thus they are in the process of also coming out to tell their own stories and identify gaps existing in handling GBV cases and also their recommendations on ensuring a safe environment for women and girls in the community.
During the launch the group presented a skit on GBV and was also proud to come up with a sustainable project within the prison that will economically cater for their personal needs while in the prison.
The day was marked with exciting entertainments from the traditional dancers, the prisoners’ Protestants choir, acrobats, poems and songs from the inmates at the Main prison and the boys at Borstal Institution.
The chief guest speaker Mrs Margaret Tuma who is the Assistant Commissioner of Prisons emphasized on perpetrators of sexual violence to be given special attention to understand the root cause of their actions since many times they are condemned and not asssisted.
She stated that alot of awarenes needs to be done in the communities to embrace and reintegrate the prisoners back in the society once they are through with their jail term, this will also help in their healing process because many of them once released face a lot of stigma in the society prompting them to commit the crimes again and get back to the prisons.
She encouraged the Badilika initiative to be extended even outside the prison to educate the society on GBV, and felt it would create more impact if ex prisoners took lead in creating awareness in their respective comnities. She appreciated the in mates who had taken a lot of courage to join the group and said other prisons should take the chalenge and do the same.
She appreciated CWID and the Pwani GBV network for initiating the programme and their commitment to make it a success, she assured the project her full support.
One of the inmates voluntarily testing for HIV
Family Healthcare Options Kenya -FHOK provided VCT services to the inmates. Around 20 inmates voluntary tested for HIV. FHOK also provided treatments for minor illnesses like malaria, cold, flu and chest problems.
Some communities need to stop the archaic traditions that encourage violence, being a male prison, most of the GBV cases have been found to be due to negative masclinity, a mentality that most of our cultures have shaped men to be. Most of domestic violences cases are due to negative masculinity giving the men more power over their wives in the families.
Awereness creation to the society by NGOs and the community leaders about GBV and how to reintegrate the inmates back in the community without stigmatization, this will reduce the number of GBV cases in the community.
There was need for psychological counselling for the in mates to make them aware of the effects of their crimes and to eliminate self blame and stigma that they may be going through. Counselling will also enable them embrace the women and girls in the community with a positive mindset and not that of abusing them.
The judicial system should be strengthened to avoid putting innocent men behind bars because it can also lead to aggression of the inmates and prompt them to sexually abuse women and children once out of prison.
Other Speeches were made by
Aggrey Akoyo- In Charge Borstal Institution
Betty Sharon- Coast Women In Development
Charity Chahasi- Tunaweza Women with Disabilities
David Kombo- Men for Gender Euality Now- MEGEN
Liz Aroka- Interational Center for Reproductive Health- ICRH-Kenya
Michael Tole- Chairperson Badilika Group- Main Prison
Acrobats dancing with the police officers and the inmates
Borstal Boys choir
The big team that ensured the launch was a success