Moreover, COVAW believes that by engaging duty bearers representing key national public institutions in high level national advocacy campaigns, women will receive timely, quality and effective services from such duty bearers who include health service providers, law enforcement agents and policy makers. COVAW’s work on tracking the trends of VAW in Kenya has advised specific campaigns and initiatives taken up in recent months: especially considering the 2013 General Election.
Following the violence witnessed after the 2007 General Election, COVAW was gravely concerned that as the March 2013 General Election drew closer, women and girls were yet again vulnerable to and were already being subjected to Gender Based Election Violence (“GBEV”). During the 2007/08 Post Election Violence period, there was recorded numerous incidents of Rape, Gang Rape, Indecent Assault which violence was specifically targeted at women and girls in various parts of the Republic. Further, and in late 2012, COVAW had also recorded several cases of SGBV in the Tana River Delta, which incidents are currently being investigated by the relevant authorities. Further, sexual violations in Mombasa with the Mombasa Republican Council, in Garissa, and Baragoi areas, were attendant and had evidenced the upstart and continued violations against women, in the lead up to the 2013 General Elections.
Therefore, and in consideration of the prevalent situation, COVAW launched the Campaign dubbed “Use the ballot, not my body” in order to obtain a million signatures from the People of Kenya in support of a violence-free election. The purpose of the Petition was to hold duty bearers accountable to ensure that credible mechanisms were put in place to ensure protection of women and children during the lead up and conduct of the 2013 General Elections. COVAW believes that following and on the strength of this Campaign, there was witnessed the lowest-ever recorded prevalence rates of SGBV during any election period in post-independence Kenya. Further, in February 2013, COVAW established on Online Platform through which any person can send in a report of violence (physical and sexual), death, threats, intimidation, displacement, relocation of persons, abductions or any other form of violence directly affecting the Kenyan populace.
Originally, it was envisioned that the crowd map/ Online Platform was only to aid in recording cases of GBEV witnessed and/or experienced in the run up to, during and soon after the 2013 General Election. However, the tool has now been permanently adopted to assist in tracking trends of GBV in Kenya whilst also offering an avenue of identifying advocacy and intervention opportunities to strengthen support and assistance provided to survivors of SGBV in Kenya.