URBAN VIOLENCE IN NAKURU, KENYA
A research report on root causes, risk factors and
SUMMARY - MAY 2016
The main objective of the study is to establish knowledge of the current report on violence,
prevalence, actors and existing prevention mechanisms and roles of other relevant actors in the
i. The study is to identify root causes, mechanisms and dynamics, general risk factors and
protective factors and settings associated with urban violence.
ii. The study is to identify vulnerable groups (at risk groups and victim categories)
iii. The study is to identify factors that increase or decrease the probability of becoming a
victim of violence.
iv. The study is to identify factors that increase or decrease the probability of becoming a
perpetrator of violence.
The study involved the collection, analysis and use of primary and secondary data. It used a mixed
methods approach, by involving both qualitative and quantitative methods. A quantitative
household survey was developed to obtain an overall view of the four sites in Nakuru, respectively,
Kaptembwa, Bondeni, London and Free Area. Questionnaires were distributed to 680 households
that were randomly sampled. Furthermore, there were Focus Group Discussions (FDGs) and semi-
structured interviews with Key Informants (KI) as well as incidence reporting from police stations
and hospitals in Nakuru. Data was collected from December - January 2016. Data from these
sources were triangulated to improve understanding of the dynamics of urban violence and of
collective and individual responses. Triangulating the survey data with qualitative data allowed for
a richer picture of the experience of violence in the studied communities. Data analysis of the
quantitative data was done by SPSS using both descriptive statistics, cross-tabulations as well as
49% of the sampled respondents were male and 51% were female. The majority of the
respondents in the survey were between the ages of 27-35 recording 28% (n=190), followed by
those between the ages of 18-26, at 23% (n=155). 31% of the respondents had reached
secondary school as their highest education level. Majority of the respondents, 52% (n=354) earn
between Ksh.0-10000 monthly/household level. Only 20% had ownership of their house.
Experience with violence
63% of the respondents had experienced violence in the last 12
months. From the table below, respondents shared life time
events with violence exposure within the household and
neighborhood. Majority of the respondents, 92% had
experienced beating in the neighborhood as well as extortion
70% and intimidation and shooting at respectively 80% and
83%. In the household child neglect and abuse was highest at
Violence typology Household (%) Neighborhood (%)
Fighting 326 (48) 354 (52)
Intimidation and threats 135 (20) 545 (80)
Beating 52 (8) 628 (92)
Extortion 202 (30) 478 (70)
Sexual violence 225 (33) 455 (67)
Robbery with violence 228 (34) 452 (66)
Shooting 114 (17) 566 (83)
Child neglect and abuse 545 (80) 135 (20)
Mugging 141 (21) 539 (79)
Perpetrators of violence
37% of respondents reported
violence being perpetrated by youth,
while 36% reported that violence was
perpetrated by organized groups,
18% reported violence to be
perpetrated in the domestic spheres
and 5% reported police being most
frequent perpetrator of violence.
Victims of violence
Female respondents (n=384) were the most vulnerable to violence compared to male respondents
(n=296). Victims of young age were also the most vulnerable, 18-26 years of age (n=148) and 27 -
33 years of age (n=202) were most vulnerable. The least vulnerable group was at the age of 55
and above. Which underlines that the youth is the most vulnerable groups to violence. The
likelihood of having suffered from violence, e.g. physical injuries, was higher for the Muslim victims
than the respondents belonging to the Christian religion (OR=1.5, CI:0.63-3.63). The result
indicated that the Muslims may experience more serve violence and the impact of physical assault
is more profound.
Root causes and risk factors to violence
Unemployment was perceived to be the major root cause of violence at 50%, followed by poverty
at 20%, lawlessness at 16% and 7% for politics. Likewise, when being asked to indicate the risk
factors of violence, unemployment level was reported at 90% followed by poverty and social
economic disempowerment at 65%, drugs alcohol and substance abuse at 40%, politics at 21%
and presence of gangs and militias at 14%. This is accentuated by the below statement from a key
Poverty, unemployment, illiteracy, permeation of drugs and alcohol, small business related
conflicts, political incitements and negative ethnicity. We frequently handle matters related to all
these” KI with County Peace Committee Member, Nakuru County, December, 2015
Logistical regression showed, women were twice as likely (OR=2.1, CI:1.35-4.74) to seek social,
financial or emotional support from social networks, compared to men. This result suggests that
higher social capital worked as a protective factor when facing violence. Education and household
income level is also associated with the reporting of experiencing physical injuries due to violent
attack. The odd ratios are greater for the respondents with education of primary school level or
having university education, compared to the one without any education, (OR=3.18, CI:0.02-1.19
and OR=3.25, CI:0.02-1.31, respectively). The likelihood of experiencing physical injuries due to
violence is also greater for the respondents with household income levels below 10.000 Ksh
(nearly 52% of sampled population), compared to the respondents without any household income,
(OR=2.13, CI:0.98-5.09). Poverty and socioeconomic characteristic are often associated with risk
of violence, and this data underlines this correlation.
Violence prevention mechanisms
The respondents feel that the best way to address violence is by creating social prevention
programs at 85.1%, followed by making tougher laws at 76.9% and having more police/military
officers at 69.6%. On issues of mob justice, 35.1% of the respondents agree that mob justice is the
best way to address violence while 50.6% disagree.
On being asked to rate the effectiveness of institutions in preventing violence, the respondent feel
that the ‘very well’ effective institutions are: Religious leaders at 44.4% followed by the County
government at 30.6%. However, respondents felt that the County Peace Committee at 66.9%
followed by the Community Policing-Nyumba Kumi initiative at 56.2%, where ‘not at all’ effective.
Trust in Institutions
Equally, when respondents were asked about trust in the institutions, the religious leaders were
mostly trusted, at a 41% followed by the national police at 29%. However the respondents do ‘not
at all’ trust the County Peace Committee at 75.7% followed by the Community Policing-Nyumba
Kumi at 47%.
The fact that majority of respondents do not trust or do not find central institutions and
authorities effective in adressing violence, such as civil society, Country Peace Committee
and Nyumba Kumi, needs to be adressed since they are crucial players in the community
and in preventing violence.
There is need to incorporate analysis of politics and violence into assessment of policies
and measures to strengthen youth employment and basic services in poor neighbourhoods.
There is an urgent need for local government and civil society to address everyday violence
amongst the urban poor, since this feeds into widespread violence during election time.
Communities need to strengthen their mechanisms for protection of victims of violence.
It is recommended that county and national governments enhance working relationship
especially in addressing factors that increase probability of becoming a victim and