In the context of the project on Addressing Gender Based Violence in Schools in Kenya, UNESCO Regional Office for Eastern Africa in Nairobi in partnership with the International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) through the Kilifi TSC County Director, Ms. Caroline Mwakisha, organized a two-day training workshop of teachers and key education sector stakeholders on prevention and response to Gender-Based Violence in the schools in Kilifi County. The training took place on 26th and 27th May, 2016 at Pwani University in Kilifi; and brought together the County Director of Education, Sub-County Directors, Head teachers of both Primary and Secondary schools, Guidance and Counselling teachers, Special Education School teachers, Quality Assurance Officers, local Chiefs and a representative of the Children’s Officers.
Figure 1: Group Photo of the Education personnel during the GBV prevention and response trainbing. Sitted in front is the County Director of Education for Kilifi Mr. Dickson Ole Keis and the TSC Director, Ms. Caroline Mwakisha.
The training was a call for action on GBV and it involved presentations on the Definition and Conceptualization of Gender Based Violence (GBV), Gender, sex and culture; presentation of the impact of GBV on the education sector, Legal overview, Myths, facts and Statistics on GBV as well as Human Rights & International Standards on GBV & SGBV. The participants were also enlightened on the provisions of the Sexual Offences Act, 2006, Protection Against Domestic Violence Act, 2015 and Victim Protection Act. 2014. The participants were also trained on the Rights of the Survivors of Sexual Gender Based Violence, Documentation, Referral & Follow-up, Investigation and prosecution of cases of GBV and SGBV; challenges and prospects and the relevance of Addressing GBV in the Education Sector in the Post 2015 Agenda. During the training workshops, findings of a Rapid Situational Analysis on Gender-Based Violence in the education sector were shared with the participants. The analysis was conducted by the Ministry with the financial support from UNESCO to identify needs for training and also to inform the development of a training manual on GBV for the education sector.
The following are some of the recommendations that emanated from the training workshop:
- The trained group of education personnel in Kilifi should be constituted to form a Technical Working Group on prevention and response to GBV in the County;
- An action plan for addressing GBV in Kilifi County should be prepared to guide GBV intervention with timelines;
- There should be a specific officer/Focal point on GBV at all levels in the County; e.g school, sub-county and County levels;
- Budget should be allocated for addressing GBV at all levels in the education sector;
- TSC and MoEST should come up with a policy to coordinate GBV related issues in schools;
- Head teachers should assume responsibility and ensure all teachers (TSC or BOG recruited) abide by the rules and regulations set by TSC particularly with regard to GBV;
- Participants to raise awareness among their colleagues on what they have learnt on prevention and respond to GBV in schools and the wider education sector;
- The CDE and TSC Director should ensure follow-up meetings and workshops to monitor progress on prevention and response on GBV in Kilifi County after the UNESCO/FIDA training;
- Head teachers should ensure that cases of GBV are handled efficiently and survivors provided with the care and attention that they deserve;
- The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MoEST) should develop a GBV Policy to guide interventions on the vice in the education sector;
- The on-going curriculum review should consider incorporating GBV in the new school curricula at different levels.
While giving his opening remarks, the County Director of Education, Mr. Dickson Ole Keis pointed out that GBV has grossly affected learning and attendance in schools in Kilifi. He reiterated how Sexual Gender Based Violence is rampant in schools along the Coastal belt; and cited corporal punishment and use of bad language as the most prevalent form of GBV in Kilifi County and the Country at large despite the law that criminalizes it. Mr. Ole Keis emphasized a need to sensitize ‘boda boda’ riders and members of the community to curb cultural resistance in Kilifi in order to effectively and comprehensively address GBV not just in schools and in the wider community.
During the training, the TSC County Director, Ms. Caroline Mwakisha highlighted the high prevalence of GBV in the education sector and more specifically the rampant cases of girls who get married so early in Kilifi County. She noted with concern that failure by the relevant authorities to follow the perpetrators of defilements, who in most cases are close family members, and prosecute them has opened wide windows for other perpetrators. She stressed on the need for a holistic, integrated and common child protection strategy with State and non State actors, especially from the National Police and the Judiciary to effectively address GBV.
Figure 2: Group 2 strategizing on how to prevent and respond to GBV in Kilifi County
The trainings featured group work sessions where participants discussed the duty bearers in addressing GBV in the education sector, what TSC should do to ensure eradication of GBV in schools and the role of the Ministry of Education in prevention and response to GBV in the Education Sector. Participants also discussed the emerging trends and issues of GBV in schools and the obligation and role of teachers and the education sector personnel in preventing and responding to GBV. The group work session also engaged the participants on ways to ensure effective prevention and response to GBV in schools in Kilifi County as well as identifying policy and legislative gaps for addressing GBV in schools and the education sector. The participants looked at how the perpetrators and survivors of GBV in schools and the education sector should be handled and gaps that hinder successful prevention and response to GBV in Kilifi County. The training ended with a commitment from the trained education personnel to fight Gender-Based Violence in Kilifi under the leadership of the County Director of Education and the TSC Director.