Nakuru bloggers, journalists unite to fight GBV
With the rising number of gender based violence cases in some parts of Nakuru town, a group of Nakuru based bloggers and journalists have teamed up to support the war on violence against women and girls.
The group under the banner “bloggers café” brings together journalists and popular social media bloggers in Nakuru with the aim of getting them engaged and involved in the war against gender based violence. The idea of involving bloggers and journalists in the war against VAWG was mooted by the Center for enhancing democracy and good governance (CEDGG) which is a Nakuru based civil society organization.
Wylkista Akinyi, a program’s officer from CEDGG department said that they decided to involve bloggers and journalists due to the kind of influence they command both in the mainstream media as well as the social media platforms. She said the group will be very instrumental in creating awareness about gender based violence in Nakuru as well as highlighting GBV cases which occur and pushing for action whenever such cases are reported.
“The media plays a very critical role in the war against gender based violence and that is why those involved in this war must bring on board journalists as well as bloggers because they have some sort of influence which can be helpful in this war,” she said.
“We need bloggers and journalists to expose these cases and sensitize the community on GBV as well as push for justice for GBV survivors and we will involve them in all our activities especially during community education and sensitization sessions as well as when pushing for justice for victims and survivors,” she said.
In a meeting held at the Nakuru branch of the Kenya national library, the group of bloggers and journalists agreed to give much attention to cases of gender based violence through their various platforms including reporting such cases, exposing state actors oppressing the war on gender base violence and educating the community on various forms of gender based violence and how to counter them, pushing for justice for GBV victims and survivors and engaging in community sensitization programmes on GBV.
Attendees at the meeting discussed various challenges facing the war on gender based violence and how to counter them and the how the media can effectively get involved in the GBV war.
GBV sensitive reporting
It emerged that most bloggers and journalists lack proper knowledge on reporting gender based violence cases and hence the need for more training of journalists covering stories on gender based violence.
“Some of us here might want to report on these cases but the problem comes when you want to get information especially from the victim. Journalists need to be trained on the best ways of getting information from these victims because it is only easy to expose these cases when one gets the right information,” said Kioko Kivandia, a journalist at Nakuru’s Egerton radio
The journalists also raised issue with senior editors who they accused of not giving enough airtime and space to stories touching on gender based violence.
“At times we might want to blame the journalists for not highlighting GBV stories but what we don’t know is that the editors decide what goes on air or what story gets space and in most cases they tend to give little attention to GBV stories,” said Kioko.
The need for more reporting on GBV cases was raised as one way of sensitizing communities and creating awareness on the same.
The bloggers and journalists also called for inclusion of gender based violence education in the school curriculum saying that it will help in raising a society which respects women and girls in the society.
Ben Gathogo, a Nakuru politician and human rights activist said that the government needs to take the issue of GBV seriously by ensuring that school children are academically empowered as stakeholders in the war against GBV.
“We need to push the government to fully implement the inclusion of GBV education in the school syllabus so that our children can be taught from a young age on GBV issues,” said Gathogo.
CSO’s superiority wars
The group however took an issue with civil society organizations working in the field of GBV for failing to pull together in the war against gender based violence. The journalist and bloggers accused COS’s of engaging in supremacy battles instead of pulling together in fighting for the rights of victims.
“As much as we bloggers and journalists will do our part we must also tell the civil society organizations that they must stop the superiority wars among them and pull together in the GBV war,” said Adiero ,a Nakuru based journalist.
The team of journalists and bloggers will be meeting on a monthly basis to further engage and assess the impact of their mainstream and social media campaigns against GBV in Nakuru.
Being the fourth largest town in Kenya, Nakuru has in the recent years been recording increased cases of violence against women and girls with prevalent cases being rape, defilement, marital rape and domestic violence. According to statistics available at the Gender desks in Kaptembwa, Bondeni and Rhonda police stations, at least one gender based violence case is recorded on a daily basis .The cases are so prevent in densely populated areas of Nakuru town where poverty and drug abuse are also reportedly high.