This study sought to establish the influence of Gender Based Violence intervention programs on households’ wellbeing; a case of Majengo Slum, Nyeri Municipality, Nyeri County, Kenya. The study specific objectives were; to determine the effect of gender help desks on households’ wellbeing of Majengo slum residents, to establish how Gender Based Violence response centres affect households’ wellbeing of Majengo slum residents, to evaluate how advocacy and support programs affect the households’ wellbeing of Majengo slum residents and to analyze the effect of publicity of Gender Based Violence prevention policies on the households’ wellbeing of Majengo slum residents. The study literature captured on the general objective of the study titles and empirical review of the reflective objectives that are gender help desk, response centres, advocacy and support programs and publicity of GBV towards households’ wellbeing. The study literature incorporated the Social control theory, Radical feminist theory and Social Learning theory, which were presented to support the concept of the GBV intervention programs. The study adopted an explanatory research design and used questionnaires and an interview schedule to collect data from a target population. The sample size of the household was arrived at through Yemane’s formula and selected through stratified simple random sampling while the help desk officers, GBV response centre officers, the assistant chief and NGO project managers were selected through purposive sampling. Pilot testing of the data instruments was conducted using a small number of respondents to test the appropriateness of the instruments. Validity was ascertained through content and construct validity while the reliability of data from the pilot study was done using Cronbach’s alpha coefficient. Data collected was analyzed qualitatively and quantitatively. Content analysis was done and further analysis using statistical package for social sciences and presented in tables, graphs, and charts. The study revealed that gender help desk has an influence on households’ wellbeing of Majengo slum residents (B=0.651, sig. 0.012). The gender help desk has greatly impacted victims of GBV when seeking justice. The GBV response centres has an influence on households’ wellbeing of Majengo slum residents (B=0.686, sig. 0.010). The GBV response centres act as treatment and consulting place for reported GBV cases. The study established that advocacy and support programs has an influence on households’ wellbeing of Majengo slum residents (B=0.462, sig. 0.020). The society has praised NGOs advocacy and support for championing human rights agenda. The study established that Publicity of Gender Based Violence prevention policies have an influence on households’ wellbeing of Majengo slum residents (B=0.497, sig. 0.020). The presence of social media has enhanced reporting of GBV cases among the victims. The study recommends that support of rescue or safe homes should be set up to provide safety to the victims of GBV. The NGOs should seek to ensure that they provide adequate programs to reach out to all the GBV victims. The study also recommends that more funding should be provided for GBV campaigns.


            Background of the Study

Households’ wellbeing is associated with the wellbeing of the residential unit with realizable monetary units from economic production, consumption and family upkeep. The assessments of household wellbeing have been expanded to comprise the individual’s social safety, happiness, access to resources and conditions to live a comfortable and healthy lifestyle (United Nations Habitat, 2016). Household wellbeing refers to positive and desirable conditions based on material, individual preferences and social cultural contexts (Gautam & Anderson, 2016). Broadly, the household data includes the demography, employment and labour force participation, health, housing, income and participation of households in poverty alleviation programs (Dartanto & Otsubo, 2016).

Having a good life is associated with having good things or resources of ‘prudential values’ (Griffin, 1986) that enables meeting various elementary needs of life such as being adequately nourished and escaping morbidity as well as having a life if dignity, self-respect and taking part in the life of the community (Sen, 1993). Policies are formulated at various administration levels to help alleviate poverty, enhance social protection and minimize cases of GBV in society. Households’ wellbeing indicators are associated with the capacity to access education, health, social protection, food security, asset base and social welfare of the society. There exist a lot of challenges when it comes to planning and policy intervention of the households’ wellbeing of the informal settlements. There are many projects set up in the slum set-ups whose main agenda is to improve the wellbeing of the households. The nature of their existence becomes a hotbed of mixed challenges when implementing programs. Gender Based Violence intervention programs are meant to safeguard the vulnerable dwellers in the slums and enhance their wellbeing.

The phenomenon of Gender Based Violence (GBV) is very pervasive around the world, with women and children mostly affected hence a priority and a concern for intervention by the international community. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR, 2019) opines that gender based violence involves any act that is perpetrated against any

person’s will on the basis of their gender, norms and unequal power relationship with underlines inflicted to harm. The act deprives individual’s liberty by inflicting physical, mental, sexual and psychological harm. GBV encompasses violations of human rights with bias in gender relations amongst the people in a family setup, community setup, workplace or any context that involves abuse to the lesser and weak people with certain limitations (Beall, 2019). It is widely linked to the aspect of gender inequality whereby either men or women arise from power inequality relationships, economic deprivation and isolation, which demeans households and causes safety concerns and wellbeing of the people in a society.

The current outbreak of Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has not only paralyzed the global economic stability and family welfare but has also brought about an increase in cases related to Gender Based Violence (GBV) amongst the vulnerable people in the society (Abuya, Isaac & Pinchoff, 2020). The aspect of gender connotes a lot in the social, cultural and biological differentiation between the male and female gender disposition and the severity of the violence towards the feminine or masculine gender. Historically, femininity and masculinity are embedded in cultural concepts, with varying dimensions of their roles which must not be stereotyped (Mondal, 2019) The existence of gender relations does manifest in many facets of household wellbeing with the worrying trend to the extreme of GBV in various forms and women becoming the hardest hit. This has become an endemic in all communities around the world without a spare to the age, race, religion, social class or region. The immense negative impact of gender violence is a global challenge with an outstanding long-term impact on social setup, physical and mental wellbeing more so during the lockdown period coupled with pandemic casualties. The GBV being a global pandemic is affecting women and girls in their households, at the lower level class and the upper level class.

At the global level, the report by (UNHCR, 2019) depicts that 67% of physical violence and 97% of the sexual violence perpetrated against women and young girls; are committed by men worldwide compared to less than 6% of the male cases. The International Labour Organization (ILO, 2018) report indicated that over 35 percent of the women and men worldwide have at some point experienced harassment, physical harm or sexual violence at the workplace. Surprisingly, most of the registered cases of GBV at the workplace end up not being addressed due to the fear of further victimization, lack of management support, protection of

organization’s and management’s image from negative publicity and lack of support and advocacy from outside independent organizations.

Gender Based Violence has no place in modern society given that it is part of the declaration that came in limelight at the United Nations general assembly in 1970 by feminist activists (Hale, 2017). This has seen developed nations such as the United States provide an example of the much-needed support in addressing humanitarian emergencies and anti-GBV goals. Strengthening communities through police intervention in addressing Gender Based Violence in Pacific Island countries was presented by (Howes & Watson, 2019). This was necessitated by little involvement of the women, youths and lower income earners in decision-making roles to the impact of domestic violence and the dominance of patriarchal household wellbeing that leaves women out of access to justice. Police officers are better placed to recognize community members and to open up workshops to increase all gender participation in addressing the issues attached to GBV.

In Africa, the issue of GBV was clearly addressed in the African Union gender policy guide capturing on the human right practices for implementation by the member states. Strong emphasis was directed towards women and children protection from any form of physical, mental, psychological harm. All the member states of the African Union were tasked to eradicate extreme traditional and cultural beliefs, practices and stereotypes that upholds human dignity and more so the women. Calls to adopt administrative, legislative, social and economic measures were stumped as key to eradicating all forms of GBV in the society through the declaration of 2010 – 2020 as African Women’s decade in the year 2009. This succeeded the Maputo Protocol declaration in 2003 for the rights of women in Africa and the Solemn Declaration on Gender Equality in Africa (SDGEA) in the year 2004.

Addressing the study report on violence in the lives of homeless women in South Africa (Bezzina, Suarez & Coop, 2019) attributes domestic violence as a consequence of drug addiction, mental illness, unemployment, laziness and bad decisions to homelessness. This has led to many victims of domestic violence ending up in abusive relationships, family breakups and single parenting with no stable income and forced slum life with deplorable conditions. The solution to finding a leeway and recovery after GBV is overarching (Sinko, Saint &

Arnault, 2019). There being a little focus on survivors of GBV which is adverse, this gave the need of having a mechanism to support the survivors and the need to reconnect survivors in the healing process.

A report published by Sendo and Meleku (2015) on the prevalence and the factors associated with GBV in the six African countries; South Africa, Zambia, Lesotho, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Mauritius. The study report showed the highest report on GBV being 89 percent of those women surveyed being victims, 86 percent of the women victims were from Lesotho, 68 percent of the women victims were from Zimbabwe, 67 percent of the women were from Botswana, the 50% of the women victims were from South Africa and Mauritius registered 24 percent GBV on women in a survey.

The dispensation of the new constitution of 2010 in Kenya captures the equality and freedom from discrimination based on gender, race, culture, religion, tribe or status under article 27. The article elaborates on the equality and freedom of both men and women on social, political, cultural, economic and legal rights of every person (Government of Kenya, 2010). Further, the issues relating to GBV on sexual offenses with heavy penalties have been captured in the context to include sexual assault, rape, sexual harassment and other sexual offenses more so to the women and girls who are vulnerable. The Kenya Vision 2030 social pillar strategy has outlined on the measures meant to address issues relating to the GBV and the need to create a cohesive society with social equity. A report by the National Gender and Equality Commission (NGEC, 2016) cited that 5,143 GBV cases were reported in 2015 from 131 health care centres across the country. A total of 41 percent of the cases reported were girls aged 12 – 17 years, 32 percent of the total cases were women aged 18 – 49 years, 24 percent involved girls below 11 years, women over 50 years represented 3 percent while girls living with disabilities represented 1 percent.

Vision 2030 provides for the following intervention measures to solve the problem of Gender based Violence; coordination and monitoring of gender mainstreaming across Ministries, departments and agencies, enactment of a national affirmative action policy and monitoring compliance, development and implementation of the National Gender and Development

policy: gender disaggregated data to guide policy decision making, establishment of Gender Research and Documentation Centre, establishment of integrated one stop sexual and gender based violence response centers in all healthcare facilities in Kenya. The proposed centers will offer medical, legal and psychosocial support to victims of SGBV and also public awareness campaign against FGM, early and forced marriages.

An assessment on the slum health through arresting of COVID -19 and improving the wellbeing of the urban informal settlements in developing nations was done by Corburn, Mberu and Rahid (2020). This was pegged to the fact of least preparedness in the handling of COVID – 19 pandemic and lack of access to basic needs such as waste collection, water, toilets, sewers and poor housing in space-constrained environments in the slums. The slum dwellers are economically vulnerable and any attempt to the COVID -19 responses is being jeopardized by their survival activities. Most of the households are going through confinement, lack of access to the source of income, idleness and purge from the support centers. This has led to increased cases of domestic violence, undermining of family dignity, immense pain, homicide and threat to equality.

Nyeri County is one of the forty-seven counties under the devolved system of governance in Kenya; it is located within central Kenya and has a population of 759,164 as per the 2019 census released by Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS, 2019). The county has administrative units that consist of; Kieni East, Kieni West, Tetu, Othaya, Mathira, Mukurwe- in and Nyeri municipality that has the highest population of 101,238 residents. Majengo Slum is located within the Nyeri Municipality and its residents have challenges related to housing, education, security, health facilities and unemployment.

This makes it prone to GBV related incidences with less intervention from the government and human rights organizations.