Human rights groups in Kilifi have received training to prepare and present cases of gender-based violence in court in an effort to help victims get justice.
The training conducted by the Katiba Institute in collaboration with Social Justice Center Working Group aims to eliminate gender injustice in society through enforcement of law.
Kilifi County, where gender violence is rampant, has seen many projects to fight against the evil initiated while human rights groups have been heavily relied upon to make the movement successful.
In an interview with journalists, the National Convener, Social Justice Center Group Mr. Happy Olal said that the program will greatly help to reduce GBV perpetrators because human rights defenders will have the knowledge to take legal action against them and represent victims in court.
“We are helping the community so that they can have more powerful defenders amongst them. If there is an issue of GBV in the community, they can defend the community by going to the court”, Olal said.
“It is very important, especially in coastal areas that have seen many cases of gender violence, to help them so that they have people who can defend them”, he added.
His counterpart, GBV Project Officer Billy Juma echoed the significance of the initiative saying local human rights defenders at the grassroots are best placed to take up cases to court therefore the need to equip them with the knowhow.
Convener Nawiri Africa Organization’s Peally Salim said successful acquisition of the law-suit knowledge will reduce the complainants against predatory lawyers and legal firms who are too expensive to hire.
Salim expressed hope that the training will empower the defenders and bring about great social change to the community.
“I do hope that with more of these trainings we are going to be able to achieve social justice and change in our communities”, she said.
She also pointed out that many victims of sexual violence do not know what to do according to the law to defend themselves, therefore the training will help people raise their voices to curb gender violence.
“Most of the time people remain silent not because they prefer to be silent but because they do not have the knowledge or technical know-how to approach situations that affect them”, she said.