According to the world health organization (WHO), Gender-Based Violence (GBV) is the most widespread, persistent and socially tolerated human rights violation across the globe. 

In Kenya, government figures (KDHS 2014) shows that 45% of women and 44% of men age 15-49 have experienced physical violence, and 14% of women age 15-49 have experienced sexual violence.

Kilifi County, for instance, recorded the highest number of teenage pregnancies at 22% which was higher than the country’s average of 18%. Rabai sub-county alone had the highest number of teenage pregnancies among girls between 10-14 years at 31% pointing to clear cases of Sexual Gender-Based Violence (SGBV).

GBV is a major source of inequality and impacts the social-economic dynamics of families, communities and the entire nation. The causes of GBV are multi-dimensional and deeply rooted in patriarchal social-economic systems. One of the key drivers of GBV is the unequal power relations both at structural and cultural levels sustained by negative social norms that foster a culture of abuse.

The SASA Amplify Change project primary goal was to contribute to reduced GBV on adolescent girls and young women through addressing negative social norms, increase comprehensive sexuality education targeting AGYW and strengthen community GBV prevention and response systems. 

Key strategies included engagement of non-traditional allies and men in addressing the social norms, implementation of evidence-informed sexual reproductive health interventions, strengthening the health care system on the chain of evidence collection and improved coordination of duty bearers. 

The project has reached 3,359 in-school youth, 1,444 out of school youth and 4,544 community members with GBV prevention messaging. 

Additionally, the project has supported the training of 25 health care workers on the clinical management of sexual GBV and distributed 100 post-rape care kits to selected facilities.

Notable challenges included a culture of non-reporting by the survivors, uncoordinated response by the duty bearers resulting in blame-shifting and lack of adequate response support facilities and commodities. 

In the course of implementation, through the Amplify Change project, HFG supported the formation of a local gender advisory committee to help in coordination and sharing of best practices and challenges among the duty bearers. 

HFG supported in sensitization of health care workers on the national guidelines on the management of SGBV and initiative that was not in the project design stage in an effort to support facility preparedness and provision of appropriate and client-centred services. Selected facilities were also supported with post-rape care kits.

“I want to thank SASA project and its teachers (SASA advocates) for teaching my students about SRHR. Teenage pregnancies are one of the challenges that we have in this school and I think having someone else other than the teachers to talk to students will have a positive impact on them. I also think the pupils are able to ask questions freely to the SASA project teachers more than the school teachers. My request is for the project to deliver more sessions to reach pupils from class three to eight with the different topics,” says Mwangudza Madenje, the Headteacher of Kasidi Primary School.

“Some of my pupils have been survivors of SGBV, however in Rabai, most families choose to end the cases at home especially if it’s a relative or family friend involved. The SASA project has delivered sessions to class 8, 7 and 6 and from the questions asked by the pupils, am positive that they were able to learn a lot and that SGBV cases shall be reported to either us, the teachers or the SASA agents. If possible we request for more sessions especially for class 5, 4 and 3,” says Motto Mwanyoka, the Head Teacher of Isaac Nyondo Primary School.