This week on our Echoes from around the world, we will be kicking off with Kenya’s lets talk campaign popularly known as TUONGEE.

Gender-based violence has become a major threat to global development. According to the World Health Organization, about one third of women worldwide have experienced violence. There is an increased risk of HIV when the violence is from an intimate partner.

In Kenya, a recent study found that 32% of young women aged 18–24 years and 18% of their male counterparts experience sexual violence before the age of 18. Gender-based violence reduces the bargaining power to negotiate safer sex, stay on treatment or remain in school. In 2013, statistics gotten by the police service in Kenya showed that 3,596 defilement cases; 913 of rape and 242 of incest. The shocking part is that girls living with disabilities are not left out of this violence as the perpetrators do not allow them go scot free.

In other to end gender-based violence in Kenya, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), together with the Kenya Medical Women’s Association and the Kenya Women Judges Association, and partners, launched the Tuongee (Let’s Talk) Campaign on 25th of May 2018 at an event hosted by Nicolas Nihon, the Ambassador of Belgium to Kenya and UNFPA.

Speaking at the launch, Michel Sidibé, the Executive Director of UNAIDS, said, “Gender-based violence and HIV are linked epidemics. If we are to deal with it, we must address the structural barriers that drive violence.” He spoke about the need to equip young women with the skills and capacities to make informed decisions about their health and underscored the critical importance of engaging boys and men early to change behaviors and challenge norms that allow gender-based violence to persist.

Written by Orejesu Ajayi

Source: UNAIDS


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