Empowering Change in Kajido, Kenya 

In a profound testament to the enduring spirit of Team Kajiado, working in the heart of Kajiado County, Kenya, the team continue their transformative journey against gender-based violence (GBV). As we revisit the progress made since our initial report in 2022, the dedicated efforts of public health clinical specialist Caren Kamau and Team Kajiado within the International Centre for Local Democracy’s (ICLD) Gender Mainstreaming programme shine through. 

A Revisit to Kajiado 

Kajiado County faced a surge in violence against women and girls over the past three years, fueled by severe drought and societal challenges. The initial report highlighted the dire situation, but it also introduced us to Caren Kamau and Team Kajiado, determined to bring about change through the Gender Mainstreaming programme. 

Caren Kamau, an experienced public health professional, emerged as a ray of hope leading the charge against harmful traditions and practices affecting women in Kajiado. The team set ambitious goals, including launching the Kajiado Gender Mainstreaming Policy, balancing staff representation, and opening the Gender-Based Violence Recovery Centre. 

New Developments

Since 2022, a notable development has unfolded with the appointment of a new Gender County Executive Committee Member (CECM). This dedicated individual has taken up the task of translating the passed Gender Mainstreaming policy into tangible actions, signaling a significant step towards systemic change. 

The commitment to policy implementation across departments, despite limited resources, is a testament to Team Kajiado’s strategic approach. Continuous awareness creation, community dialogue, and engagement remain pivotal strategies, ensuring that the community actively participates in shaping solutions and fostering a collective sense of responsibility. 

Rays of Hope

The Gender-Based Violence Recovery Centre, a cornerstone of Team Kajiado’s initiatives, has become a symbol of hope. It has not only provided a safe haven for survivors but has significantly reduced teen pregnancies through timely interventions. The success stories emerging from the center underline its vital role in ensuring abuse is reported and survivors receive the necessary support. 

As Team Kajiado looks to the future, the anchoring of programmatic solutions on policies ensures sustainability and continuity. Utilizing ICLD GM (gener mainstreaming) resources, they actively engage in short assessments for public institutions and collaborate with local universities to support professionals through short Gender Mainstreaming courses. 

Caren Kamou, programme officer, reflects on what the team has learned:

– The key lessons learned include the resilience required in the face of political influence, the importance of consistent mentorship, and the realization that gender mainstreaming transcends specific departments. We see peer-to-peer learning, with an African perspective, as essential when fostering progressive partnerships for the exchange of expertise. 

In conclusion, Team Kajiado’s journey signifies a holistic and community-driven approach to empowering Kajiado against gender-based violence. The progress made, coupled with the invaluable lessons learned, paints a picture of hope, resilience, and a commitment to creating a safer and more equitable environment for the people of Kajiado County. The transformative journey continues, fueled by passion, dedication, and a vision for lasting change.  

Team Kajiado members: Jonathan Marima Kulei, Chief Officer Health, Yvonne Anyango Aiko, Coordinator, and Caren Kamau, GBV County Focal Person.

Who is Caren Kamau?

  • Public health clinical specialist with over fourteen years of expertise in TB, HIV/AIDS, STI, and other infectious diseases.
  • Programme officer for the HIV/AIDS program in Kajiado County for the past 5 years.
  • Passionate about women’s health and improving access to healthcare in the County.
  • Focal person leading the Gender Based Violence Prevention and Response department in Kajiado County Department of Health.
  • Instrumental in establishing a Public Gender Based Violence Recovery Center as part of ongoing efforts.