Gender-based violence in Kenya

Progress on gender equality has been made in Kenya; particularly around women’s political participation, with specifications for gender equity in decision making included in Kenya’s new constitution of 2007. However, women still face many barriers in all spheres, including education, health, employment and public life. Read more on gender equality in Kenya.

Collective action on GBV in Kenya

Emerging from decades of work by the feminist movement in Africa around the turn of the millennium – and finding different forms of impetus from the HIV response as well as the surge in gender-based violence (GBV), triggered by the widespread 2007-to-2008 post-election violence – women and feminist movements in Kenya have played roles in ensuring that legislation and policies on gender based-violence are created and implemented. Yet, examples of the role of collective action in determining the success of specific programmes and interventions are less readily available, although many successful interventions do contain the important elements of partnership and coalition working, or community mobilisation strategies around changing social norms.

Kenyan men’s involvement in gender equality and GBV issues has also increased markedly in recent years. There has also been a significant increase in the number of programmes seeking to engage men and boys in efforts towards gender equality. This response is largely the result of people’s better understanding of men’s central role in determining development efforts for women and men. Efforts to involve men and boys are thought to stand a greater chance of succeeding if different stakeholders can build partnerships with other organisations and across social movements.

Yet, the body of knowledge about effectiveness and success of initiatives that engage men in the prevention and response to GBV remains relatively limited. There also remains much less clarity about the most strategic targets, processes and goals of such male engagement. There is a need for organisations working with men and boys to build partnerships among themselves since neither can advance its agenda fully without the others contributions.

Read more on collective social actors in Kenya.

Kenya programme reports

Men in Collective Action on SGBV in Kenya: A Case Study. Edström, J; Izugbara, C; Nesbitt-Ahmed, Z; Otieno, P.E; Granvik, M; Matindi, S (2014)

This case study examines the ways in which collective action and the involvement of men may influence the prospects of effectively changing community perceptions and values regarding sexual and gender-based violence, and how it may strengthen the overall response to the problem in Kenya. 

Evidence report | Supporting brief

The Shifting Roles of Men in Collective Action on SGBV in Kenya: Report of a Movement and Influence Mapping Workshop, Nairobi, 3–5 July 2013. Edström, J; Murgor, C; Nesbitt-Ahmed, Z; Otieno, P.E; Izugbara, C (2014)

In order to improve our understanding and knowledge of shifting roles of men in movements to address sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) through collective action in Kenya, Men for Gender Equality Now (MEGEN), the African Population and Health Research Center (APHRC) and the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) joined together to engage with multiple actors in Kenya for collective learning through this workshop.

Evidence report 

Latest updates

A new IDS policy briefing summarises the key findings of a global research programme on effective organised activism against sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV). It highlights the importance of addressing the underlying structural causes of violence showing that men are becoming more visible as partners in tackling SGBV, holding themselves and others accountable for maintaining harmful gender norms that perpetuate violence.

17.06.15Towards safety and equality for women and girls

This comparative study of gender-based violence (GBV) in Kenya, Rwanda and Sierra Leone was led by Sonke Gender Justice. Themes include the need for a more holistic understanding of GBV, poverty and patriarchal beliefs and attitudes about male and female sexualities and their expectant gender roles.

19.05.15 GBV prevention in Kenya, Rwanda and Sierra Leone

MenEngage Africa & Sonke Gender Justice have published a report which draws on project activities for gender-based violence prevention in Kenya, Rwanda and Sierra Leone. It looks at gender relations is the role of interventions which aim to engage individual men and communities.