Report blames Private sector for failing to adopt mechanisms to tame Gender Based Violence(GBV)

Nairobi, Saturday, April 6th 2019 – The Girls Advocacy Alliance (GAA) a lobby and advocacy programme jointly implemented by three Netherlands based organisations namely; Plan Netherlands, Terre des Hommes Netherlands and Defence for Children-ECPAT in strategic partnership with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Dutch Government (Dialogue and Dissent – Strategic Partnerships framework) will on the 10th April, 2019 in Nairobi release findings of a Research Report on Public-Private sector Policies and Practices in addressing Gender Based Violence and Economic Exclusion of Girls and Young Women in Kenya. 
  
In September-December 2018, the Research was undertaken to establish the role of the formal and informal private sectors in addressing Gender Based Violence (GBV) and Economic Exclusion (EE) for vulnerable girls and young women in Kenya. Says Raphael Kariuki, Terre des Hommes Netherlands, Head of  East Africa “The objective of the research was to assess the policy framework, regulations, and practices by the private sector on GBV and EE of young women and girls in Kenya and to review the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) policies and practices of the formal and informal private sector in targeted counties and at the national level.”
 
Gender-based violence (GBV) is still very prevalent in Kenya. Most of the available mechanisms have not been effective in dealing with the issue. Sexual harassment is the most common form of GBV at workplaces. Outside the workplace the private sector is mostly silent on negative cultural practices such as Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) that violate human rights for girls and young women, and limits their access to education, and economic opportunities.   
 
Weak enforcement mechanisms and inadequate resources for implementation of gender policies and laws, and lack of awareness and advocacy have perpetuated gender based violence both at the workplace and at home.
 
“Women and adolescent girls continue to experience systemic economic discrimination, sexual and other forms of gender-based violence.  This is despite the existence of various laws and international treaties and conventions meant to fight and eradicate these issues. Lack of sustained momentum in sensitization, awareness creation, and advocacy on GBV and economic exclusion of adolescent girls and young women have perpetuated the issues,”  Says Raphael Kariuki, Terre des Hommes Netherlands, Head of East Africa. 
 
It is however noted that majority of the private sector have not adopted UN Global Compact Business and Human Rights principles and they also lack effective monitoring and accountability mechanisms on GBV issues. 
 
The Girls Advocacy Alliance will during the event actively lobby National and County Governments and private sector players to effectively address Gender Based Violence (GBV) practices at the workplace and to strengthen the enforcement and monitoring mechanism, particularly laws against gender discrimination. It is also calling for the National and County Governments to create secure and safe spaces for GBV reporting, counseling, and psychosocial support.
 
This research has been commissioned by Terre des Hommes Netherlands, Plan Netherlands and Defence for Children – ECPAT, Dutch organisations that are jointly implementing the Girls Advocacy Alliance (GAA), a five –year programme championing the rights of women and adolescent girls. The programme is currently being implemented in Kisumu, Kwale and Nairobi Counties which includes conducting of research on policy frameworks, regulations and practices relating to the government and private sector. 
 
The 2010 Constitution, The Sexual Offenses Act, 2006, Employment Act, 2012 and National Employment Authority Act, 2016 are some of the statutory frameworks that provide for gender equality, equity and empowerment of women as crucial for social and economic development. The Research launch event will also discuss ways to strengthen some of the existing frameworks  which need to be improved, implemented and monitored to enhance compliance.