Kenya: The UN strengthens its protection of drought-stricken women and girls

Date:

Kenya: The UN strengthens its protection of drought-stricken women and girls

  • News by AUN News correspondent
  • Sunday, October 23, 2022.
  • AUN News – ISSN: 2949-8090

Summary:

  • Since the drought, there is evidence that families have been marrying off their daughters to pay for food or livestock.

  • This has led to more gender-based violence, female genital mutilation, and child marriage.
  •  In 2022, the UNFPA helped more than 186,000 women and girls with their sexual and reproductive health.
  • Shared appeal, but much more assistance is required; the UN is requesting $320 million as part of a joint drought appeal to help more than four million people who are in desperate need of help.

  • Millions of women and girls risk being impacted by the catastrophe if predictions of failing rains over the season of October to December come true.

Kenya is going through its worst drought in forty years, which is bad for women and girls because it makes sexual exploitation, violence, and abuse more likely.

Elimlim Ingolan, 39, a mother of a 7-month-old baby, says, “We have to trek for more than seven kilometres to find water, and sometimes what we see is not safe to drink. She remembers spending hours, sometimes even days, searching unsuccessfully for water in dry riverbeds.

At a community outreach event in the Turkana County village of Lokapararai, Ms. Ingolan is speaking. The session, which the UNFPA supports, is one of many that are meant to help women and girls affected by the long-lasting drought that is wreaking havoc in the area by providing sexual and reproductive health services and services to protect them from violence based on their gender.

Drying up

More than four million people suffer from severe hunger due to crop failure, animal losses, and locations where over 90% of water supplies have dried up. For many households, livestock is their only source of income. In areas of Kenya hit by the drought, there are currently an estimated 134,000 pregnant or nursing women; many are tired and frail, with illnesses that can be fatal.

Typically, women and girls are responsible for gathering water, but due to the drought, they are forced to trek even farther and wait for hours at boreholes.

This makes them more likely to be hurt by violence when communities fight over scarce resources and tensions rise.

When most need protection and support services, hundreds of thousands of Kenyans are being pushed to travel in quest of a better life, leaving vulnerable women and girls with little to no access to vital health facilities.

Since the drought, there is evidence that families have been marrying off their daughters to pay for food or livestock. This has led to more gender-based violence, female genital mutilation, and child marriage.

Protecting people’s lives, rights, and health

UNFPA is giving maternal health and dignity kits to women and girls all over Kenya to help protect their health, safety, and general well-being from the effects of the drought.

These kits have things to help new moms and essential hygiene items for women and girls. They also have a solar-powered flashlight and a whistle if they need help. UNFPA also gives free hospital referrals and ambulance rides to women who need help with their pregnancy or a new baby.

Between October 2021 and June 2022, the UNFPA helped more than 186,000 women and girls with their sexual and reproductive health.

Also, the organization helped over 60,000 victims of gender-based violence, including more than 45,000 who needed care for their mental health.

Shared appeal

But much more assistance is required; the UN is requesting $320 million as part of a joint drought appeal to help more than four million people who are in desperate need of help.

Millions of women and girls risk being impacted by the catastrophe if predictions of failing rains over the season of October to December come true.

It is distributed by APO Group on behalf of UN News.

APO has issued this press release. The editorial team of AUN News does not monitor the content, and none of the content has been checked or validated by our editors, proofreaders, or fact-checkers. The issuer is solely responsible for the content of this announcement.

Analysis by: Advocacy Unified Network

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