Despite a relatively new and progressive Constitution that ultimately led to strengthened institutions and enactment of laws aimed at preventing and responding to cases of Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) across the country, violence against women in Kenya still continues to exacerbate requiring exigent action by SGBV advocates. As Kenya held its general election this year, a notable gap continues to exist in the protection of women against election-related SGBV and persecution of perpetrators found guilty of these atrocities.
The Young Women for Awareness, Agency, Advocacy and Accountability (YW4A) programme envisions that women rights organizations (WROs), faith-based organizations (FBOs) and young women have the knowledge and skills to communicate their advocacy messages for social, economic, and political reform in their communities.
With limited advocacy in this area, highlighting lack of laws and policies relating to election-related sexual gender-based violence (SGBV), the YW4A young women leads (peer educators) from Meru, Kisii and Migori counties in Kenya used social media, through a YWCA Kenya-developed guiding toolkit on how to break the silence and make their voices heard through a month-long online campaign prior to the general election.
The young women used social media to augment their advocacy efforts through knowledge acquired during the course of the YW4A programme implementation. This led to reinforced relationships among supporters and fostering participatory dialogue among CSOs, WROs and FBOs that saw them pose for pictures holding up placards with #EndSGBV advocacy messages which they shared on their social media platforms – Twitter, Facebook and Instagram as a way to speak out against gender based violence and inspire others to show their support by also making a deliberate pledge to end the act.
Follow us on social media and check out our website for updates on how young women in Kenya are shifting societal norms and putting an end to various forms of violence and injustices against women and girls through the hashtags #YW4A and #EndSGBV.