John Echwa, 30 and Nancy Nadai, 17, both South Sudanese refugees living in Kakuma Refugee Camp won yesterdays’ Community Run that took place in the Kalobeyei Integrated Settlement which hosts mostly South Sudanese refugees living in proximity with the host community in Turkana West Sub-County.
The race dubbed Kakuma-Kalobeyei Community run was organized by UNFPA Kenya, UN agencies, implementing partners and the refugee community in Kakuma and Kalobeyei refugee camps, as a top activity to mark this year’s 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence (GBV)
This year’ theme is; “End Gender Based Violence in the world of work’.
The organizers sought to create awareness and mobilize refugees in Kakuma and Kalobeyei against GBV as well as create awareness among agency and refugee workers on their responsibility and obligations for creating safe work spaces, including Prevention of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse as a form of GBV.
The race also aimed to address GBV as a barrier to access Sexual Reproductive Health Services for women and girls within the refugee communities including Family Planning as power of choice to determine their reproductive health pathways which is often constrained by GBV.
On winning the race, John Echwa said that he was aware of the various forms of GBV that happen among them and that he plans to use his newly found platform to rally other men against perpetuating GBV.
“I am happy about winning today’s race. I will use this opportunity to urge my fellow men to stop abusing their women” Said John.
On her Part, Nancy said,
“For me it’s not just about winning, it is about creating awareness about the forms of violence that we experience as women living in refugee camps. I want GBV against women and girls to end” She said.
The race also reserved a special category for people with disabilities and adolescents.
“UNFPA responds to vulnerabilities generated by humanitarian situations to ensure adequate and sustainable access to reproductive health services and protection against violations founded on gender inequalities. This years’ 16 Days Of Activism is for us to amplify efforts that we have made in collaboration with our partners to eliminate gender based violence as a desecration of human dignity and impediment to realization of sexual and reproductive health rights” read a statement by UNFPA’s Country Representative Dr. Ademola Olajide ahead of the race.
A joint statement released by UN Agencies few days to observing the 16 days of Activism read;
“Our duty is not only to stand in solidarity with survivors of GBV but also to intensify our efforts to find solutions and measures to stop this preventable global scourge with a detrimental impact on women’s and girls’ lives and health. Ending violence against women and girls is not a short-term endeavor. It requires coordinated and sustained efforts from all of us”
Sexual Exploitation and Abuse as a form of GBV can lead to discrimination and exclusion of especially women and girls from work places, denying them opportunity for economic empowerment which deepens their vulnerability to further abuse.
GBV in its various forms occasions emotional and physical trauma, unwanted pregnancy, unsafe abortion, pregnancy complications and sexually transmitted infections (STI), including HIV.