Project Forty-One: Nyanza CBO at war with gender bias

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Established in 2021 at the height of the pandemic to save women undergoing the wrath of violence in the hands of their spouses, Project Forty-One has metamorphosized into a strong defender of women and young girls in Kisumu, something putting it in crosshairs with some of the abusers in the county.

Aware of how the new media hugely influences our perceptions and ideas about the role of girls and women in society, Project Forty-One rolled its phase one in June 2021, which ran for four months – with the sole intention of introducing the canceling culture Kisumu as a tool on war against GBV. Where sex offenders and women beaters would be named, exposed, and shamed online.

This first phase of the initiative saw the CBO rescue 40 young women from the hands of their abusers.

”Phase one opened our eyes to what the reality is. We saw and felt the pain on the ground. Of women and young girls. Some were raped at the height of the pandemic, and others had despicable things done to them. It was quite an overwhelming experience but a necessary one that has given birth to our next cause of action,” says Finn Okewo, the country’s Project Forty-One national coordinator.

A look into the young organization’s records, between June 2021 to August 2021, more than 15 young women are recorded to have reached the organization seeking help from the hands of their abusers, or just anonymously reporting sexual and violence meted on them.

”We have footages and video clips of some of the survivors who agreed to talk on camera. They have named their tormentors and currently, we are assembling our arsenal to bring them all to book. It is not a fight for the faint-hearted but as women, we are all we got,” the Project Forty-One co-ordinator adds.

After the outbreak of COVID-19 data and reports from those on the front lines, have shown that all types of violence against women and girls, particularly domestic violence, have intensified – something the Kisumu-based CBO is working around the clock to reverse.

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