East Africa is the term used to describe the eastern part of the continent, including the islands in the Indian Ocean. According to the United Nations classification of geographical regions, East African Countries are:
Drug abuse has become a major issue in this region, especially in Mombasa which is affected by this issue more than any other part of the country. Young men in their early 20s have been the most affected demographic. Women in Mombasa have held public protests, asking the government to move quickly to arrest young people using narcotics.
The major gap in state responses has been the lack of involvement of local communities in efforts to understand organised crime and how to prevent it.
In 2021, East Africa had the highest levels of criminality in Africa according to the organized crime index. The region was followed by West and Central Africa, respectively. The source identified human and arms trafficking as well as wildlife crimes as particularly widespread on the continent.
CHALLENGE / LOBBY WORK / STRATEGY
One in every five women in Tanzania will experience sexual violence in her lifetime. Less than half will ever seek help. PGCDs were established to address under-reporting, but privacy concerns remain for survivors who fear retribution from their communities. For those that do pursue care or attempt to report, a labyrinth of government regulations exist, requiring survivors without life-threatening injuries to first report to police, then receive a form, which they must then take to a hospital, where they will likely be charged an administrative fee for opening a file. In the event that the medical professional working with the survivor does collect forensic DNA evidence, the likelihood of it being tested is very low: evidence must be delivered to one of only two government-run labs in the country of over 58 million people. Despite these constraints, Tanzania has made strides toward supporting survivors. There are currently ten One-Stop Centers in the country which collect forensic evidence and provide medical treatment, psychosocial guidance, counseling and legal assistance to survivors of violence free of charge. The government has also made a commitment to expand that number under its National Plan of Action to End Violence Against Women and Children over the next five years. Though the Tanzanian government is eager to protect survivors and hold offenders accountable, expanding One-Stop Centers and establishing comprehensive collection and analysis procedures for forensic DNA is only possible with funding and coordination from governments and the international community.
The prevalence of sexual violence in Uganda is startling: one in every four women reports that her first sexual experience was rape. Only nineteen convictions out of a total of 1,519 cases last year. Despite this, the country has taken steps to stem the tide and hold offenders accountable. Ministry of Health guidelines state that every level four health center should be able to treat survivors of sexual assault. Many level three health centers offer PEP, medical treatment, and connection to legal and psychosocial services. While full implementation of the Ministry of Health guidelines has been slow the government has dedicated increased resources for the collection and testing of forensic DNA; the Uganda Police have adopted survivor-centered training; Ugandan courts have worked to provide justice to survivors by holding special sessions to clear the backlog of pending sexual violence cases; and Parliament has been active in passing legislation that will ensure repeat offenders can be identified and held accountable.
40.7% of ever-partnered women in Kenya have experienced physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence in their lifetime. For survivors seeking care in Kenya, there is a network of Gender Violence Recovery Centers, a Gender Based Violence Recovery Center at Coast Provincial Hospital in Mombasa, and a network of hospitals which received support from Liverpool Care and Treatment (LVCT Health) to incorporate delivery of post-rape care services. The Kenya Ministry of Health has also issued guidelines for post-rape care. Though the will and framework exist, lack of staff training and unavailability of basic equipment such as HIV kits, speculums, and rape kits plague effective delivery of post-rape care. The landscape for collection and testing forensic DNA is much the same: reality does not match ambitions. Forensic DNA is admissible in Kenyan courts and the police have measures in place to document, collect, and test evidence collected during a post-rape exam. In reality, outdated documentation and mishandling of forensic evidence contribute to low conviction rates and an inability to capture repeat offenders. Additionally, importation of reagents for testing from the U.S. and U.K. is difficult, as is arranging for servicing of the equipment.