Coexist Initiative

Home Gender Based Violence

We are premised on the fact that Gender based violence is a manifestation of unequal relations between women and men with roots in deeply entrenched social, economic and political informal conventions based on perceived men and boys “privilege” at the expense of girls and women’s vulnerability. Our work at Coexist is anchored on the fact that men and boys remain the main perpetrators of violence against women; therefore the fundamental role of men and boys in fostering gender parity cannot be over emphasized yet largely ignored.

We work with men, boys and communities by focusing on addressing attitudes that generate traditions of terror and encourage the use of violence as enshrined in patriarchy, negative masculinity and the entire negative socialization processes. We reverse the trend by targeting the men and boys and working with them to change negative attitudes, practices and beliefs that put women and girls at even greater risk and vulnerability including HIV infection. We do this through a multiplicity of strategies including capacity building, advocacy, peer education, media programming, tools development, edu- entertainment and community forums

Download the samburu beads of death

The samburu beading study

 Female Genital Mutilation is shrouded in silence, secrecy and coercion. It’s sustained by resolute mechanisms that have defied time and legalism.  The traditional information channels have paid lip service to the eradication of the vice while discreetly advocating to its continuance. It’s is a social convention governed by rewards and punishments which are a powerful force for continuing the practice. In view of this conventional nature of female genital mutilation, it is difficult for families to abandon the practice without support from the wider community, specifically men and boys who remain largely ignored in FGM programming in Kenya. That’s why our  mission is creating awareness on issues around FGM by engaging men and boys and communities.

Main Project

The Entapal Emuratare project is a grassroots initiative that is participatory in nature and utilizes the expertise and tools that are respected by the target communities. The project endeavors to spur change through a culturally sensitive, human rights-based approach that promotes collective abandonment of the practice.

It is a recognition of the role men and boys can play in the eradication of female genital mutilation. It’s a deliberate attempt to work with men and boys towards fostering a community in which girls and women live healthier and bursting lives devoid of the torture and depravity associated with FGM. The undertaking is premised on the fact that men and boys play a leading role in the sustenance of pervasive and destructive cultural practices and customs including the dehumanizing female genital mutilation. We believe the walls of the silence that have fortified FGM from public discourse must be shattered.

Child marriage is a gross violation of human rights and a barrier to girls’ health and social well-being. It severely impedes the region’s development efforts including undermining initiatives to raise girls’ education, to reduce maternal mortality, and to increase employment and enterprise levels. Child marriage is an affront to all development efforts as defined by the current SDG’s and Kenya’s own Vision 2030
We believe there is need therefore to bring together the talents, resources and skills of people in the communities in order to increase their collective power and work for social change which in this case is eliminating child marriage. The thinking behind this approach is to work with perpetrators for purposes of converting them into partners against child marriage.
Some of our projects include:
1. Engaging men and boys in elimination of child marriages in Kisumu and Siaya counties .


i) To sensitize boys, parents, teachers and religious/traditional leaders on the importance of abandoning the practice of Early Child Marriage in their family and community.
ii) To mobilize and train boys in school and men through community institutions to recognize child marriage as a harmful practice and become champions of change taking actions to address it.


NGAO(Shield) Project

The project is aimed at rolling out a multi-stakeholder approach aimed at popularizing existing legislation and policies around the eradication of child marriages Samburu and Kajiado counties. The project works with county government, law enforcement agencies, judiciary, men and boys, women and girls and community groups and organizations.



  • To promote the effective implementation of national legal and policy instruments by engaging the drivers of child marriages.
  • To build a social movement at the grassroots for purposes of eradicating child marriages.
  • To domesticate existing legislation within varying community contexts.
  • To build competencies and capacities of law enforcers around the elimination of child marriages

SETEM Movement

 It’s a multi-stakeholder collaboration aimed at creating gender-just environments at individual, community, institutional, and government levels. The project is premised on engaging men, boys, communities, county government in fostering gender equality and eliminating harmful traditional practices, including female genital mutilation and forced early child marriage.

Specific Objectives

  • To shift attitudes and perceptions on gender norms among men and boys and creating champions of change
  • To establish a tracking mechanism that track implementation of laws on gender equality and elimination of child marriages and FGM.
  • To build the capacities of partners to be able to implement institutional gender transformative and girls’ rights programs

The frequency of sexual violence in Kenya currently presents a scary public health challenge. In addition to the immediate physical injury and psychological trauma, rape survivors often suffer long-term consequences such as depression, post-traumatic stress disorders, and gynecological disorders, and are at risk of unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV. The impact of sexual violence reverberates in all areas of health and social programming thus survivors of sexual violence experience increased rates of morbidity and mortality, and violence has been shown to exacerbate HIV transmission, among other health conditions (IGWG of USAID, 2006). Efforts to aim, address and reduce the drivers of sexual violence within communities and principally among men and boys remain dismal

Our Projects

Amka (Stand-up) project

Its a project premised on mobilizing and building the capacity of community and religious leaders, men, boys, women groups, local medical personnel and relevant actors for sexual violence response and prevention with a key focus on enhancing community engagement in sexual violence prevention and post rape care. The program seeks to increase access by sexual violence survivors to information, counseling, social support, treatment and protection against harmful traditional practices, stereotypes, stigma and discrimination. It addresses the gaps that still exist in access to and provision of effective response services for sexual violence victims and survivors while harnessing mechanisms to enhance sexual violence prevention at the community level.


3C Movement

The project is at helping young men learn to discover their own personal worth and make a positive contribution to realization of gender equality and women empowerment in their communities. It’s purposed to enable young men to transition from possible perpetrators of violence and other risky behaviors to ones that have the Conscience, Character and Courage. The  project enables young men to become more accountable and industrious members of society by being able to find solutions to the challenges they face in life through high-touch mentorship program that stresses personal development and building partnership within the local communities that will enhance carrying out advocacy and sensitization campaigns.
The project is anchored on setting a chain of transformation in families, neighborhoods and immediate circles. It’s centered in community and built on fun activities. We know that the young men that go through the mentorship will pass the torch, as young adults, by mentoring the next group.