Women, gender activists and human rights campaigners celebrated the International Day for Women yesterday with a call to the Government to do more to contain violence and abuse against women. The campaigners said more needed to be done to contain the rising cases of abuse against women and girls. And the Government announced it had taken the first steps in setting up a fund to improve the welfare of women. Gender and Sports minister Maina Kamanda said his ministry had made proposals to the Treasury to be allocated Sh2 billion in the budget to set up the fund similar to the recently disbursed Youth Fund. Mr Kamanda said, unlike the Youth ministry that was in the process of setting up structures to disburse their money, those for women already exists. Party nominations: He challenged politicians demanding more parliamentary seats for women as part of the minimum reforms to ensure they gave 30 per cent of party nominations to women seeking to vie for
parliamentary seats. The minister, who was presiding over a parents meeting at Parkroad Primary School in his Starehe constituency, was responding to demands by 18 women MPs that the Government allocates a Sh1 billion to set up a kitty similar to the recently disbursed National Youth Fund by the Ministry of Youth Affairs. And the NCEC urged the Government to increase funding for the treatment of victims of gender violence as well as take an active role to eradicate traditions and practices that encourage violence against women and girls. However, the lobby welcomed the Governments effort to ensure gender parity in its policies. Although celebrations held at Nairobis Holy Family Basilica and at Korogocho slums were marked with song and dance, women narrated bitter and cruel personal experiences which gave a dark side to the otherwise colourful activities. At the Basilica, some women refugees told of how they were forced to go into prostitution to be able to feed their families. Refugee status: They claimed the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees was reluctant to grant them refugee status. At Korogocho, Amnesty International (Kenya) and a non-governmental organisation calling itself Tukomeshe Unajisi Network (Let us stop Rape) held a rally where the Government and Kenyans in general were asked to focus on ending violence against women and girls. In Kiambu, the district commissioner advised women to take advantage of the Governments new policy to have reserve 30 per cent of positions for women. In Nakuru, women from the local Catholic diocese held a procession in the streets to mark the International Womens Day.
Reports by Patrick Nzioka, Nyabonyi Kazungu, Sam
Kiplagat, Kamore Maina and Kimani Waiya.
Samwel Okech kongere
Nyamuga primary school
P.O BOX 191,
Cell: +254 725 600 439
UDOGO youth development group-coordinator
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