In Migori County, Ripple Effect formed two community committees and equipped them with the skills and knowledge to educate their peers on GBV through awareness events and individual interactions. They also learned how to identify vulnerable girls and GBV survivors and refer them to known resources and supports.
Paskal Okuombe the chairman of West Kanyamakgo CDRC, reports that since it began one year ago, the committee has been raising awareness at community gatherings to help people to understand what abuse is and share support systems for survivors.
“We come across many cases of violence against [women], but it’s difficult to convince a survivor to seek support when the perpetrator is a close relative as they resort to solving the issues within the family.” - Paskal Okuombe, Chairman of a Community Disaster Risk Management Committee.
After these local awareness campaigns we have seen a rise in people seeking out services, especially girls and parents of abused girls.
Paskal and other committee members are very proud that they were able to rescue two school girls who had been duped into marriage. The girls are now back in school, with a chance to complete their studies and take control of their futures. Through the committee’s advocacy, the perpetrators were arrested and one is serving his jail term.
As a leader and champion against GBV, Paskal is optimistic that collective action is the best way to create safe communities for girls and women, despite the culture and attitude challenges they face.
Dealing with GBV requires the involvement of all stakeholders and Ripple Effect recognizes the critical role that communities play in changing lives and making the world a better place for all.
By Sylvia Owino, Gender and Social Inclusion Officer for Ripple Effect