This month marked a rather sad turning for our fight against domestic violence. One of our activists, Chelimo, was brutally attacked by her husband. She lost two teeth and is currently admitted in hospital.
Her active participation has seen us organize several outreach campaigns in her rural village, Kapkoi, where violence had been on the increase.
With the support of a local religious organization, GEMINI was able to organize a two-day home visit for project beneficiaries, provide counseling and trauma support for women victims.
"We are happy that natural networks like churches are joining the fight against this vice," says Fr Koech of St Monica parish. "This is not only a social issue but also a spiritual one that could help us strengthen our relationships with God."
The campaign, slated to be officially kicked off next month, targets to reach 25 local churches. Religious leaders will be trained and equipped with the requisite skills to enable them tackle domestic violence from the puplit.
GEMINI will be instrumental in providing logistical support and linking the leaders to resources and other information necessary to make the campaign successful.
We continue to thank each one of you for your continued efforts in supporting us, even in times of calamity, like Chelimo's case. She has promised to be stronger and more focussed in her quest to seek social justice.
Again, our sincere gratitude to each one of you...please keep up the great work..
When Ruth first attended our workshop, she had no idea that domestic violence was a criminal offense. In fact, she laughed us off, describing her previous beatings as part of her marriage covenant. She was insistent that even if her husband continued molesting her, she would not report to the police. Or to any other authorities.
We buried her a week ago. She was battered by her husband and left for dead outside her house. When she was discovered in the morning, it was already too late.
Recent surveys in the country indicate that more cases of gender-based violence are turning fatal. Two prominent personalities have died due to family violence in the past month.
With the increasing case of family violence comes a sober realization that more needs to be done to tame the growing cancer.
The fight against HIV/Aids is gaining positive results because of continued awareness and public outreach. A recent study indicated that the prevalence had decreased from 14% to 6% last year.
GEMINI believes that putting such effort in the fight against gender-based violence would tremendously reduce such cases. Last month alone, our grassroots officers provided legal information and IEC materials to 113 women, most of them living in rural areas. A village-to-village campaign was mounted in Kapkoi where Ruth lived.
A special task force, comprising gender-sensitive men, has been formed to reach out to older men. An outreach campaign targeting young men in/out of school, is also being rolled out.
Your continued support is very instrumental in ensuring that more people are aware about the fatal consequences of gender-based violence. We hope that your support will continue to be forthcoming as we dig deeper into demystifying family violence.
We also thank all of you that have continued to write to us, comment on our reports and make generous donations. We promise to keep you updated on our efforts.
A study released recently indicate that more and more families are getting embroiled in family violence, with women suffering the brunt of the violence.
"A worrying trend has been noticed among urban families, with an estimated 3 out of every 10 families reporting some form of abuse," says Dr. Elizabeth Kurui, a general practitioner at the Moi Teaching & Referral Hospital, Eldoret. "Most of the abuse is strongly tied to sexual issues, with an increasing number of young women reporting being raped and molested."
The local media has been awash with reports of violence among married couples, with the police spokesman admitting that 24% more P3 forms have been filled between January-Mach this year compared to last year.
GEMINI's efforts to increase awareness on gender-based violence continue to win support from grassroots stakeholders. "We believe a change of attitude, direct dialogue and political goodwill will help end the violence," says Mwalimu Anching'a, a retired teacher and GEMINI program coordinator.
The first quarter of the year saw us distribute over 300 handbills on violence, conduct 2 musical outreaches that encouraged open communication and facilitated counseling to 14 families affected by family violence.
We still hope to conduct more general awareness, involve the media and encourage public discussion on the issue. As usual, we welcome any kind of support from all our friends. Your input-feedback, ideas, criticism-are gladly welcome.
Again, thanks so much for your continued support and we hope you will spare a moment and support us in our efforts to keep families united.
Happy New Year!!
On behalf of GEMINI, I wish to pass my best New Year regards to each of you.
Just a quick update on what we were up to during the last quarter. As we have realized, achieving behavioral change amongst community stakeholders is a tedious process that requires tact, patience and resources.
During the last quarter of 2010, we separately engaged community gatekeepers, including teachers, healthcare providers, women leaders, among others. In November and December, we identified several church leaders and organized a two-day retreat for interdenominational religious leaders.
"We feel privileged to be part of this healing process," said Rev. Joash Nyakundi, one of the participants and the leader of a pentecostal church. "Most of these community members are our congregation and our participation will increase the level of impact with them."
The strategy seeks to round major stakeholders to a discussion table to facilitate the opening up of debate on gender-based violence. GEMINI works with the assumption that if violence is openly discussed, then more women will rethink their current attitude of accepting the violence without reporting to the police.
During the last quarter of the year, we were able to bring together 48 community members for discussion and debate on various solutions, including 12 church leaders. All the participants have continued to agree that for such measure to be more successful, we need to include the participation of law enforcers and the judicial system.
These will be our priorities for 2011.
For now, we continue to express our sincere gratitude to each of you for your constant donations, feedback and comments on our projects. We value your participation and hope that this new year will strengthen this partnership.
Again, have a prosperous 2011 and remember, we still need your support!
Its been long but I hope you are doing fine.
It hasn't been easy to woo victims of domestic violence to come from their cocoons of silence. Last month, we hosted a partnership meeting with Be the Man!, a program that targets men around Eldoret and encourage them to spearhead the campaign against domestic violence.
The idea is to incorporate the support of men in identifying gender-based violence as an impediment to women development. GEMINI will be participating in a one-week training that will bring together grassroots organizations, the provincial administration, religious leaders and other stakeholders in identifying and addressing violence.
"Gender-based violence is one of the hardest issues to tackle because nobody realizes its happening if the victims do not step forward and report," said Inspector Joel Mmbwana, one of the key speakers during the training. "We need to increase discussion and encourage more women to step forward and report."
GEMINI hopes to reach more women, especially in rural areas and educate them on the new statutes enshrined in the constitution that was recently passed.
We would like to extend our sincere gratitude to each of you that made a donation to any of our project. We are grateful for your continued confidence in our organization and hope to continue strengthening this relationship.
As usual, let us know what we are doing right, what we are not doing and help us improve.
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ELDORET, RIFT VALLEY,