In a longstanding partnership, Anglican Overseas Aid has been working with the Anglican Church of Kenya to address the links between poverty and violence against women and children.
Through this Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP) project, Anglican Overseas Aid is raising community awareness about the realities of domestic violence and helping to strengthen community and government capacity to prevent abuses and support survivors. Training and education about violence and child protection is provided to a range of groups, including schools, community leaders, through health centres and for government workers.
The project trains faith-leaders in the roles they can play in reducing gender-based violence and protecting children. Community leaders who have been identified by the government are also being trained to check on the safety and security of women as well as their social welfare needs.
Mercy’s life has been transformed by this program. Orphaned at four years of age, Mercy became pregnant and married at 14 to an older man, and did not finish primary school. After a few years her husband left her. Then, when she was rebuilding her life, he returned and assaulted her, leaving her unwell and unable to work.
The Anglican Church of Kenya offered Mercy the support network she needed to get her life back together. Additionally, their community program helped her to find work – meaning she could support her children and live independently.
The project is also training community leaders in legal rights and justice, as well as assisting the government to implement community-based social safety nets, in order to protect children and women like Mercy in the future.