Plan International, Inua Dada team up to create safe spaces for women, girls during COVID-19 pandemic

Plan International, Inua Dada team up to create safe spaces for women, girls during COVID-19 pandemic

Plan International Kenya has partnered with Inua Dada Foundation in a bid to supplement government’s efforts in creating safe spaces for women and girls vulnerable to sexual, economic and physical violence during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Cases of Gender Based Violence (GBV) in various households have increased in the past weeks following government’s directives to restrict freedom of movement to curb the rising spread of coronavirus.

“Perpetrators of gender based violence are likely to use the current stay-at-home restrictions to physically abuse their partners. Children are also subjected to violence and exploitation. Also most cases of sexual abuse are committed by close relatives.

“We are here to provide psychosocial support and ensure that young mothers and women acquire access to free sanitary care packages and safe bathroom amenities,” said Nancy Okoth, Plan International’s Girls Advocacy Alliance Project Manager.

She added that the ongoing COVID-19 response initiative in slum and vulnerable rural areas is aimed at providing social-economic empowerment to those with less or no resources to meet family needs during this period when jobs are more scarce.

Kenya’s data indicates that 45 per cent of women and 44 per cent of men of ages 15 to 49 have experienced physical violence while 14 per cent of women aged between 15 and 49 have experienced sexual violence.

Living in ‘lockdown’ is strenuous for most households, and this may lead to cases of prostitution and early marriages.

Plan International is fitting water tanks and hand washing facilities across various points in Kibra, where young mothers will earn daily stipends from manning water points to assist them to fend for their children.

Inua Dada Founder Janet Mbugua said menstrual hygiene is vital to all women and adolescent girls in accessing sexual and reproductive health services.

It is also important for well-wishers to offer social-economic support to disadvantaged households who do not have any other means of survival especially with the coronavirus isolation.

“We are offering these care packages to the vulnerable women and girls in the slum areas. Girls usually receive free sanitary towels in most government schools. But with the schools closed due to Covid-19 pandemic, we are stepping in to support them,” said Janet Mbugua.

She added that the girlchild has a right to protection from various forms of exploitation in such a time when they are vulnerable as their parents and caregivers struggle for means of survival.

On Monday, Inua Dada handed over care packages to Plan International for 50 young mothers in Kibra: the packages include sanitary towels, diapers, flour, cooking oil, lifebuoy, face masks and toilet papers.