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COVID-19 Lockdown experiences and Gender based violence in Kibra informal settlements in Kenya

Abstract: This study aimed to investigate how Covid-19 Lockdown experiences and Gender based violence in Kibra informal settlements in Kenya. The research was anchored in two theoretical frameworks: the ecological theory of GBV and the sub-culture of violence theory. The methodological design utilized a mixed-methods approach, integrating quantitative surveys and qualitative interviews. The study engaged 400 residents, many of whom were adult women who have experienced gender-based violence in their lives, and minors who were given consent to be part of the study. The findings revealed a high prevalence of GBV during the lockdown, with 70% of the 275 respondents confirming personal experience of GBV. Economic hardship, primarily stemming from job loss, surfaced as a significant factor contributing to the increased rate of violence. Mental health implications were also evident, as 70.5% of the participants reported symptoms aligning with depression and anxiety disorders. Furthermore, 95.25% of respondents identified as victims of GBV during the lockdown, underlining the intensified vulnerability of individuals within such communities during global health crises. Based on these findings, the study recommends the implementation of immediate, targeted interventions designed to safeguard and support the most vulnerable individuals during pandemics or similar emergencies. These interventions should include comprehensive community-based support systems, economic empowerment initiatives, expansion of mental health services, the promotion of gender-inclusive strategies in GBV prevention, and improved data collection and monitoring systems. A multi-sectoral collaboration involving government agencies, NGOs, and community-based organizations is also necessary to implement comprehensive interventions effectively.

Keywords: COVID-19 lockdown experiences, informal settlements, pandemic

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