Community awareness forum followed up by a FREE legal aid clinic in Kibera
Kituo Cha Sheria in conjunction with the Kibera Gender Advocacy Group and the County Gender Office joined residents of Kibera, Nairobi County for a 2-day community awareness forum on Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV). The forum took place on the 26th-27th June 2019 at the Kibra CDF Hall. The forum had a main aim of increasing community awareness of SGBV, raising the confidence of survivors and reducing incidences of violence in the Kibera informal settlement area. The decision to conduct the forum was based on the fact that majority of the people living in Kenya’s informal settlements do not have access to legal information and representation which is expensive. The most affected groups in these areas are persons living with disability, women and children. This is the case for Kibera informal settlements where there is a high prevalence of domestic and community violence. This prevalence has been fueled by a lack of awareness on the law and understanding of human rights and minimal confidence in the way police handle sexual violence cases, fear of the police, and/or the legal process as well as fear of victimization by the victims, among other factors. The forum also sought to strengthen the capacity of locals and security and law enforcement agencies to systematically document, monitor and act to prevent and mitigate effects of SGBV, as well as to build and strengthen existing community networks and capacities of poor and marginalized communities to be effective champions and monitors of their legal and human rights. The forum participants engaged in an open discussion and analyzed the extent that the constitution and laws related to SGBV are being taken up and the resulting impact while also sensitizing participants on Human Rights as guaranteed in the Constitution, access to justice for SGBV survivors and response mechanisms. The forum also offered an opportunity for Kituo to provide public awareness on M-Haki which is an SMS platform whereby civilians can send in legal questions and receive answers within 48 hours. On 28th June 2019, Kituo also undertook a FREE legal aid clinic at the Makina Roundabout targeting members of the public from Lindi, Makina and Kibera Wards. Kituo through the Legal Aid and Education Department (LAED) conducted the activity which attracted clients with diverse legal problems ranging from land, labor as well as marital issues. The activity was the climax of the legal awareness forum on SGBV and was spearheaded by Kituo lawyers Janet Kosgei, Janet Machoka and other volunteer advocates who gave legal assistance free of charge. Those with problems that required follow-up were issued with appointment dates. Kituo conducts regular legal aid clinics in different areas and continues being committed to helping the disadvantaged, poor and marginalized through providing legal empowerment to realize its vision of a society of justice and equity for all.