Cooperation between Finland and Kenya to eliminate gender-based violence
Finland and Kenya are cooperating to reduce violence against women and girls in Kenya, where gender-based violence has increased during the COVID-19 pandemic. With Finland’s support, Kenya also aims to increase the number of women in leadership positions.
A bilateral project to prevent gender-based violence and to support action to tackle the problem has been launched. The project will strengthen the ability of the authorities to help survivors of violence and increase knowledge and awareness of gender-based violence. Kenya’s goal is to end gender-based violence and female genital mutilation (FGM) by 2026.
“The project is highly topical as gender-based violence has increased considerably during the COVID-19 pandemic. Expertise provided by Finland in addressing the issue, and our bilateral cooperation with Kenya could help to reverse this trend,” says Pirkka Tapiola, Ambassador of Finland in Nairobi.
The project will be implemented in three counties. In the counties, the problems relate to harmful cultural practices and FGM in Samburu, poverty and unwanted or unplanned pregnancies among young people in Kilifi, and high rape statistics in Bungoma. The project has the potential to expand to other counties as well. Finland has appointed a consultant to the project on a long-term assignment starting at the end of September 2021. Kenya has budgeted EUR 1 million for the project, while Finland’s contribution amounts to EUR 5 million. Furthermore, Finland will partner with a civil society organisation (CSO) to complement the preventive efforts of the authorities in the counties. The planned support for this is EUR 2 million.
In addition, Finland and UN Women support Kenyan women to reach leadership positions in the public administration. For example, female candidates are being trained for next year’s general elections. Female politicians and women’s organisations are supported in their efforts to improve legislation and political party practices. Violence against women is also a problem in connection with elections, which is why eradicating it would promote political participation.
Gender-based violence has far-reaching consequences, Finland invests in efforts to tackle the problem through development cooperation
Structural discrimination and harmful gendered norms are the root causes of gender-based violence. Gender-based violence is a serious human rights violation with extensive and long-term impacts on both individuals and society. In the European Union, it is estimated that in addition to human suffering and health impacts, the economic cost of gender-based violence amounts to EUR 228 billion per year.
Action to combat violence against women and girls is a central part of Finland’s development cooperation, and Finland is a strong supporter of the UN Population Fund UNFPA. UNFPA works to eradicate gender-based violence and harmful practices such as FGM and child marriage. In 2021, Finland’s support to UNFPA is EUR 33 million.
Furthermore, Finland works in close cooperation with various CSOs in this area. CSOs are often present in areas where other actors are not, such as grassroots level local communities and least developed countries (LDCs) in which Finland does not have other activities. For example, CSOs have used comprehensive and quality sex education to prevent unwanted or unplanned pregnancies.
This news item will be published on 25 November, designated by the United Nations as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. The purpose of the day is to pay attention to violence against women and to support the elimination of violence.