WE CAN MAKE GENERATION EQUALITY A REALITY IN KENYA

WE CAN MAKE GENERATION EQUALITY A REALITY IN KENYA

By Prof. Margaret Kobia

This year marks twenty-five years since the Fourth World Conference on Women held in Beijing China. Popularly referred to as the Beijing Platform for Action, the conference is reputed to have set up a most visionary agenda for women and girls everywhere. This year the United Nations 64th Convention on Status of women (CSW 64) will be reviewing the progress made in gender equality the world over under the theme “An Equal World is an Enable World”. It is the year that is also introducing a new approach to gender equality programming globally under the banner “Generation Equality”. What has inspired this change and how does it apply in the Kenyan context?

The Beijing platform for action identified twelve critical areas that needed strategic action by governments and civil society to enhance the human rights of women and remove systemic barriers that hold back women from fully participating in all areas of life. Among these concerns were poverty reduction, education, health, violence, decision making, and the plight of the girl child. Given the conditions at the time, there was informed reason to advocate for positive bias for the girl child.

Despite some progress, real, tangible and impactful change has been agonizingly slow the world over. Today, not a single country can claim to have achieved gender parity in all areas of life. In Kenya, despite some progress, women and girls still face discrimination, cultural exclusion, and experience inequality in the social and political front. In the political front, while more women sit in parliament, they account for only 23%. Women unemployment stands at about 11% against 6% for men. Female headed households are poorer, at 30%, compared to men at 26%. Women occupy lower skilled jobs and own fewer assets, compounding their challenges. On Gender Based Violence, 21% of women still face Female Genital Mutilation. On women’s health, 23% of girls are married off before the age of 18 thus exposing them to high risk of maternal mortality. In the same sector, the unmet need for contraceptives stands at 26%. True, progress has been made but there remain considerable unmet goals for Kenya. Nevertheless, this should not blind us to the progress we have made in many areas.

For instance, Kenya has made remarkable progress the policy and legal environment particularly on Gender Based Violence and FGM. The proactive deeds by His Excellency the President to end FGM by 2022 has set the pace for the country and galvanized the support of all stakeholders. Exemplary progress has been realized in matrimonial property, marriage and citizenship rights. In education, the universal free primary school policy has nearly achieved equal rates in enrolment for boys and girls. The 100% transition policy will accelerate this trajectory going into secondary education. Fertility rates dropped to 3.9 births per woman in 2014, down from 4.9 in 2003. These are a few of the remarkable advances made, that many developing countries would desire to achieve.

Generation Equality is conceptualized to accelerate progress in these and other areas of concern. It builds on the Beijing action points and demands a radical sense of guided impatience going forward. It envisages equal pay for all genders, equal sharing of unpaid care and domestic work, an end to all forms of sexual and domestic violence, access to health care services, and, most importantly, equal participation in political life and decision making in all areas of life. It sets the stage for doubling efforts to complete the unfinished business set by the Beijing Platform for Action 25 years ago.

The fact that the United Nations family is set to review progress twenty-five years after Beijing means that the gender equality movement is bringing advocates, activists and visionaries who were instrumental in laying the Beijing foundation, together with change makers in the new generation of actors. The new generation consists of change makers of all ages and genders. They are expected to galvanize the gains made, fill the gaps that are still open, and engender novel, ground-breaking, multigenerational approaches under the Generation Equality banner.  In Kenya, in line with the new spirit, community opinion elders and religious leaders, who are predominantly male, are already championing the campaign against Female Genital Mutilation.

Generation Equality is a global mobilization that provides an opportunity for countries to strategize on safeguarding the gains made so far and preventing claw-backs as has been witnessed in many fronts. The new spirit of a united front is providing space for countries to leverage on the opportunities presented by globalization and technological advancements. As the world reimagines economies, forms multi-generational partnerships, and makes adjustments in societies and political systems, human rights and gender equality must be upheld, ultimately setting a new impetus with the aim of leaving no one behind. It is instructive that the United Nations is leading this multi-generational campaign that will consist of a series of global conferences that will set the agenda for a global public conversation on gender equality.

In Kenya, our patriarchal leanings have contributed to the historical marginalization of women and girls. The new approach envisions the promise of a more inclusive, prosperous and peaceful, fair world for all – boys and girls, men and women alike. It is an inter-generational movement that has linked in government, international development organizations, civil society and private sector, among other stakeholders.

The progress we have made demonstrates that, indeed, this promise is achievable. It is possible to produce tangible and irreversible results on gender equality in line with our constitutional promise, and the global Sustainable Development Goals, particularly on Goal number 5 that envisages a world where all genders enjoy equal opportunities. Granted, some quarters have expressed concern that the global gender equality campaign has tended to leave behind the boy child. With the new approach, this concern should be comprehensively addressed as it promises to be a galvanizing moment that will leave no one behind.

NYS REFORMS BEARING FRUIT, PRESIDENT KENYATTA SAYS

NYS REFORMS BEARING FRUIT, PRESIDENT KENYATTA SAYS

Friday, December 6th, 2019

Reforms being undertaken at the National Youth Service (NYS) have ensured that the service is stronger and more effective in the delivery of its mandate. This was said by President Uhuru Kenyatta when he presided over the passing-out parade of 11,730 recruits of the National Youth Service at the NYS Gilgil training college in Nakuru County on 6th December.

The President said NYS has been able to overcome its past challenges and emerged to become an integral part of Kenya’s youth and national development and was playing a significant role on the realization of the Big 4 Agenda.

The Head of State commended the institution’s new governing council for strengthening management systems which have led to improved financial controls, procurement procedures, and administrative supervision in its oversight role. 

“This has resulted in higher productivity, better efficiency and enhanced revenues; which, in turn, have allowed young recruits to both experience as well as give improved service delivery,” the President said.

The President also commended the recruits for successfully undergoing the rigorous six months training and urged the new NYS leadership to ensure that the institute remains focused on the delivery of its mandate.

H.E. President Uhuru Kenyatta awarding a trophy to some of the best performing National Youth Service recruits during the passing-out parade at their training college in Gilgil, Nakuru County on 6th December 2019.

“I note with satisfaction the positive reports from the private sector, which validate our assurances to investors that NYS offers disciplined, dependable, skilled, competent and vibrant youth, whose work exhibits the highest standards of work ethic and commitment to duty,” the President said.

The Head of State commended the NYS management for partnering with other government agencies to establish the 2nd largest potato seeds production unit in Africa at the institution’s Tumaini field unit in Nyandarua County. He noted that the project will enable Kenyan farmers to access certified potato seeds easily and at a reasonable price thus contributing towards the achievement of food security pillar of the Big 4 Agenda.

He called on the institute to take a more proactive role in the national roll-out of Universal Health Care especially given the training of NYS health cadets which is being administered by the Ministry of Health and AMREF. The President subsequently directed the Ministry of Health and the State Department for Youth to ensure that NYS Community Health cadets undertake further training at Kenya Medical Training Colleges after one year of service to improve on their skills

“To secure the gains made under this transformative programme on healthcare, today I direct the Ministries of Health and State Department for Youth, to ensure that once they have served for one year, these NYS Community Health cadets undertake further training at Kenya Medical Training Colleges (KMTC), based on their academic qualifications and areas of interest,” the President directed.

He said policy changes have enabled NYS to save money and generate nearly half a billion shillings in revenue since January 2019. “I am happy to note the National Youth Service has heeded the Policy to “Buy Kenya, Build Kenya” by purchasing all the fabric and shoes used by the Service from local manufacturers,” the President noted.

The President reiterated the government’s commitment to continue rolling out and supporting initiatives aimed at generating employment and wealth for the youth.

In her remarks, Cabinet Secretary Prof Margaret Kobia said the new NYS management council is undertaking reforms to align the institute with the government’s development priorities including Big 4 Agenda and Vision 2030.

Since its establishment, the National Youth Service has nurtured over 220,000 servicemen and women in skills and knowledge; and, more importantly, in attitudes that have enabled them to improve their lives, while, at the same time, contributing meaningfully to Society

In attendance at the passing-out parade were the institution’s Director General Matilda Sakwa and the college Commandant Isaac Ndirangu.

HUMAN RESOURCES PRACTITIONERS URGED TO FIGHT CORRUPTION

HUMAN RESOURCES PRACTITIONERS URGED TO FIGHT CORRUPTION

Wednesday, October 16th, 2019

This year’s Annual Institute of Human Resource Management conference was held on 16th October, 2019. Cabinet Secretary, Prof. Margaret Kobia presided over the official opening at Sawela Lodges in Naivasha. In her keynote address, she acknowledged that the conference was happening at an opportune moment when Kenya is undergoing an ethical and governance transformation and at a time when President Uhuru Kenyatta is championing the fight against corruption.

Prof. Kobia noted that HR Management is the custodian of ethics at the work place. “As HR practitioners, you carry the noble responsibility of assisting the Government to uphold work ethics and code of conduct in all sectors of our economy,” she said.

She urged the HR practitioners to examine the challenges organizations face in a changing environment and propose how the Human Resource professional body may provide solutions.

The Cabinet Secretary noted that this year’s conference affords HR practitioners an opportunity to play a critical role in performance of the organization and the need for HR to address itself to the most important issues touching on the practice today and the future and to anticipate what the practice shall encompass. “Analysis of the evolution of Human Resource Management demonstrates how the practice and discipline has changed over the years adapting to the constant changes in the work environment and the focus of HR practice goes beyond conditions of work and addresses contemporary issues,” Prof. Kobia said.

IHRM is a State Agency established under the Human Resource Management Professionals (HRMP) Act, No. 52 of 2012. Its mandate is to regulate the HR profession in Kenya, enhance competencies and capabilities while supporting innovative and transformative HR practices and standards.

Today in Kenya, HR is a legally recognized profession, with registered, vetted and licensed professionals who profess accountability and demonstrate understanding and mastery of the body of knowledge of HR. IHRM has grown from 2500 members in 2016 to 15,000 members in 2019.

A RENEWED CAMPAIGN AGAINST GENDER BASED VIOLENCE

A RENEWED CAMPAIGN AGAINST GENDER BASED VIOLENCE

Wednesday, October 16th, 2019

Chief Administrative Secretary, Hon. Rachel Shebesh challenged Gender Based Violence stakeholders to re-energize campaign to fight against GBV in the Country in order to realize significant progress.

While addressing the National Conference on Gender Based Violence (GBV) held between 16th and 17th October 2019 raised concern over the rising cases of GBV in the Country and urged participants to seek answers on why, despite Kenya having a progressive constitution that clearly spells out issues of human rights coupled with a robust legal and policy framework, GBV continues to be a serious impediment to achievement of gender equality.

“We must ensure that we are coordinated as state and non-state actors on interventions towards prevention and response to GBV,” said Hon. Shebesh.

However, she noted that in line with article 6 (2) of the Constitution of Kenya 2010 and the Intergovernmental Relations Act 2012, the Ministry in collaboration with the County Governments developed the Intergovernmental Framework for Gender that came into force in January 2019.

“The framework is aimed at providing a mechanism for consultation and cooperation between the two levels of Government on issues of gender equality and women empowerment,” she added in her remarks.

The Kenya Demographic and Health Survey indicates that 45 percent of women and 44 percent of men aged 15-49 have experienced physical violence since age 15 with 20 percent and 12 percent, respectively.

A study conducted by National Gender and Equality Commission on economic burden of GBV in Kenya in 2017 provides disturbing statistics on the economic burden of gender-based violence to survivors and to the country.

The average cost of medical-related expenses per survivor and family amounted to KES 16,464; reporting the incident to a chief and community structures cost KES 3,111; reporting to police cost KES 3,756; productivity loss from serious injuries amounted to KES 223,476; productivity loss from minor injuries was KES 18,623; and productivity loss from premature mortality from GBV amounted to a massive KES 5,840,664.

The State Department for Gender through the 1195 help line has received 27, 877 cases of which 14,139 are Women and 8,539 are girls since it was launched in 2007 to date. Most cases recorded from Nairobi County with least cases from Wajir County.

The Nairobi GBV conference marked an important milestone for reflection and stock taking of the progresses so far recorded in efforts to eliminate GBV in Kenya, with the theme: The Missing Agenda: Accountability towards Gender Based Violence.

This conference sought to create enabling spaces for meaningful dialogue between state, non-state actors and survivors of GBV, and by so doing, amplify the voices of survivors as they call for urgent intervention and deliberate collective action towards elimination of GBV in Kenya.

The participants interrogated institutional gaps and challenges that exist in the implementation of the various policies and legislations dedicated to elimination of Gender Based Violence in the Country and the way forward in strengthening accountability mechanisms going forward.

2019 GBV conference was held under the auspices of the GoK-UN Joint Programme on Prevention and Response to GBV and hosted by the State Department for Gender (SDG), Ministry of Public Service, Youth and Gender, in partnership with the County Governments, the United Nations Agencies, Civil Society and other stakeholders.

KENYA’S MILESTONES IN ACCELERATING GENDER EQUALITY AND WOMEN’S EMPOWERMENT

KENYA’S MILESTONES IN ACCELERATING GENDER EQUALITY AND WOMEN’S EMPOWERMENT

Nairobi, Friday, 20th September 2019,

This week Kenya is hosting the 12th Commonwealth Women Affairs Ministers’ Meeting (12WAMM), an initiative of the Commonwealth member countries which brings together ministers, senior officials, civil society organisations, academia and development partner agencies to discuss critical issues in advancing women’s empowerment and gender equality in the Commonwealth.

The first meeting was held during the Third World Conference on Women held in Nairobi in 1985. The WAMM meetings have since been held every three years and the hosting is rotated among the Commonwealth regions.

As a Commonwealth member country, Kenya made its contributions to the meeting centered on the priority themes of the commonwealth on gender empowerment: women’s economic empowerment; women in leadership; ending violence against women and girls; and, access to affordable quality health care, a cardinal pillar in the Presidents Big Four Agenda of Universal Health Care.

Additionally, the meeting aimed to build synergies with the ICPD + 25 (Nairobi Summit) that Kenya will be hosting with UNFPA in November 2019.

Kenya shared the progress it has made in terms of policy and legal frameworks to entrench gender equality.

Article 27 of the 2010 Constitution guarantees equality and freedom from discrimination stating that every person is equal before the law and has the right to equal protection and equal benefit of the law.

Beyond the supreme law, the development blueprint Kenya Vision 2030 has reinforced the same. Other policy and legal frameworks have been enacted to promote, enforce and monitor equality and non-discrimination.

These include National Human Rights Policy and Action Plan; The Marriage Act 2014; The Matrimonial Properties Act 2013; The Land Act 2016; and Draft National Policy on Gender and Development among others.

With regard to access to health services, Kenya put in place the Community Health Policy and the Sessional Paper No. 2 of 2017 on the Kenya Health Policy 2014-2030.

These policies ensure free maternity service which has resulted in more safe deliveries with 61 per cent of births being performed by skilled health providers. The government programs ensure that expectant women get free pre and post-natal care which has gone a long way to ensure safe deliveries and proper care for both mother and child.

Kenya recognizes that women’s economic empowerment is critical to achieving gender equality as well as sustainable development which encompasses productive employment and decent work for all, ending poverty and reducing inequalities.

To this end, the Government put in place various programs that include gender mainstreaming, affirmative action and gender-responsive budgeting.

The government has set aside special catalytic funds dedicated to women, persons with disabilities and the youth for development programmes. These include:

  • A Women Enterprise Fund that provides micro-finance credit and other financial support for women;
  • The Youth Enterprise Development Fund that provides credit for young men and women to enable them to establish businesses; and
  • The Uwezo fund that gives seed money as startup capital to the special interest groups.

Others worthy of mention include Access to Government Procurement Opportunity program that reserves 30 per cent procurement opportunities for the vulnerable; and National Government Affirmative Action Fund which runs programs targeting socio-economic empowerment of women, youth, and persons with disabilities, children and elderly persons.

Kenya shared its programs and experiences with regard to prevention and response in the fight against gender-based violence (GBV). Of special reference was the National Policy on Prevention and Response to gender-based violence passed in 2014 which birthed the Protection Against Domestic Violence Act, 2015.  Subsequently, between 2015 and 2016, there were 4,299 newly prosecuted cases of sexual and gender-based violence and 871 convictions.

To monitor and mitigate the effects of GBV, a toll-free hotline (1195) operated with support from various telecom agents is in place. The goal is to involve community members and survivors in the fight against sexual violence, FGM and other forms of violence by ensuring early reporting of all the cases within the recommended 72-hour window.

Ministry of Health is in the process of establishing 47 Gender Based Violence Recovery Centers in the 47 Counties by the year 2022. Four centres have been established where survivors receive integrated medical, and psychosocial support services, access to justice and initial temporary protection in one place.

On inclusive leadership, the Kenya constitution was noted to have served the gender agenda impressively well. Article 27 (8) of the constitution states that, the State “shall take legislative and other measures to implement the principle that not more than two-thirds of the members of elective or appointive bodies shall be of the same gender.”

In addition, the constitution reserves 47 seats for women in the National Assembly and 16 seats for women in the Senate courtesy of Article 98. There are other progressive articles which embed equality and non-discrimination based either on ethnicity, religion, tribe, education, gender, political, economic, cultural and social domains.

Subsequently, there has been tremendous growth in women participating and holding key positions. The trajectory has been upward. After the 2013 general elections, women representation in Parliament increased from 22 women in the 11th parliament to 86 in the 12th parliament while 96 women were elected as members of country assembly.

In 2017, parliament had three women elected and 18 nominated to the Senate, three women elected as Governors, 98 women elected as members of County Assembly while 599 were nominated in fulfilment of the two-thirds gender principle at the County level.

Other sectors fared much better with women accounting for 57% of all practising lawyers, 49% of magistrates, 41% of High court judges, 36% of county commissioners, 33% of Members of County Assemblies and 31% of senators, to mention some important sectors.

These are significant gains by any consideration.

The commonwealth meeting has provided a platform for Kenya to share with the rest of the commonwealth family on its achievements and best practice.

The country has made notable strides in many spheres beyond the commonwealth thematic concerns. However, there is a lot more ground yet to be covered. The outcomes of the 12th WAMM will inform and strengthen the country’s gender agenda going forward.

Like the inaugural meeting in Nairobi of 1985, we expect that the outcome of the current meeting will be as impactful in driving the global gender equality agenda.

MINISTRY NAMES WOMEN LEADERS AWARD AFTER LATE BOMET GOVERNOR JOYCE LABOSO IN HER HONOUR

MINISTRY NAMES WOMEN LEADERS AWARD AFTER LATE BOMET GOVERNOR JOYCE LABOSO IN HER HONOUR

Friday, August 15th, 2019

The Ministry of Public Service, Youth and Gender on 15th of August honoured the late Bomet Governor Dr. Joyce Laboso by naming a women’s leaders award in her memory. Named the Purple Ribbon Award, the prize will be awarded to women leaders who display exemplary leadership, courage, perseverance and resilience while promoting national values of peace, human rights and social equity.

During the inauguration event hosted by Cabinet Secretary for the Ministry Public Service, Youth and Gender, Prof. Margaret Kobia and attended by eminent women leaders at a Nairobi hotel, the Cabinet Secretary noted that the award will recognize women and girls who show determination, perseverance and courage in the face of adversity.

“The Award will serve as an affirmation to the achievement and leadership of women in promoting national values, peace, human rights and social equity as exemplified by the late Hon. Dr Joyce Laboso during her life. The late Hon. Laboso demonstrated that true heroism is not achieved by focusing on ourselves, but by moving beyond the self and doing well for all humanity,” she said.

The event was the second since the launch of the program last year by His Excellency President Uhuru Kenyatta to honour women who excel in different sectors of the Kenyan society. The inaugural program last year witnessed the conferment of National Honours to 30 eminent women leaders by His Excellency the President Uhuru Kenyatta.

The Cabinet Secretary commended the Eminent Women for their foresight, struggle and resilience which led to the realization of gender equality and women empowerment. She said that it was from their struggles that women’s rights became recognized as human rights now enshrined in the Kenyan constitution.

Prof. Kobia challenged women in leadership to take the younger women under their wings and mentor them to develop their leadership skills. “Through mentorship we can mold a capable generation from the youthful population that looks up to us for guidance to whom we can pass the leadership baton,” the Cabinet Secretary said.

Among the eminent women leaders in attendance included Kirinyaga Governor Anne Kamotho and Wife of the Former Prime Minister Ida Odinga among others.

By Rogers Muthama

GOVERNMENT LAUNCHES FIFTEEN REFURBISHED YOUTH EMPOWERMENT CENTRES

GOVERNMENT LAUNCHES FIFTEEN REFURBISHED YOUTH EMPOWERMENT CENTRES

The Ministry of Public Service, Youth and Gender on 9th August 2019, launched 15 refurbished Youth Empowerment Centers in various Counties across the Country.

The centers will serve as resource facilities for youth in the respective regions to access ICT services, guidance and counselling on drugs and substance abuse, HIV/AIDS prevention among other services. They are also equipped to provide positive leisure activities including indoor and outdoor and games.

As one of the activities marking the National Youth Week 2019, fifteen Principal Secretaries from various state agencies commissioned the newly refurbished centers spread out across the country. The Principal Secretaries held conversations with the youth from the respective regions in a bid to identify the immediate needs of the youth from the localities.  

In his statement, the Principal Secretary, State Department of Public Service and Youth Dr. Francis Owino, stated that the Government embraced the idea of establishing Youth Empowerment Centers in 2008 by establishing 152 Centers in over 100 Constituencies by 2012. The centers had remained largely unused and needed refurbishment to make them useful centers for youth.

“In order to make the YECs operational and beneficial to the youth the Ministry embarked on refurbishing 21 Centers in the last financial year 2018/2019,” said Dr. Owino. He noted that the Ministry has allocated funding to refurbish another 60 centers in the current financial year 2019/2020.

Youth Centers are a Vision 2030 flagship project under the social pillar the Government will embark on putting in place the balance of 138 YECs in the remaining Constituencies and Sub- Counties once the existing 152 are fully operationalized.

 “Broadly, the YECs provide safe spaces to address social, economic and health needs, including psychological concerns, prevalent among the youth,” added Dr. Owino in the statement. 17 Youth Centers launched during the National Youth Week were in the counties of Embu, Nairobi, Nyeri, Kirinyaga, Laikipia, Bomet, Nandi, West Pokot, Tharaka Nithi, Machakos, Kitui, Kilifi, Kakemga, Garissa, Mandera, Homabay and Kwale.

Chief Administrative Secretary Hon. Rachel Shebesh Called on the Youth to Maximize Government Opportunities for their Empowerment

Chief Administrative Secretary Hon. Rachel Shebesh Called on the Youth to Maximize Government Opportunities for their Empowerment

Wednesday, August 7th 2019

Youth in Arid and Semi-Arid areas (ASALs) have been challenged to exploit financial interventions put in place by the government to address their specific social- economic needs and to realize empowerment. 

Speaking during the launch of the National Youth Week activities on 7th August at Anchor in Samburu County, Chief Administrative Secretary in the Ministry of Public Service, Youth and Gender Hon. Rachel Shebesh cited the Access to Government Procurement Opportunities (AGPO), which seeks to empower women, youth and persons with a disability by giving these groups 30% of all procurement initiatives without competition from established firms.

“Participation of young people in public procurement is key to create employment, wealth and enhance economic growth and I encourage the young people from Samburu County to compete with other stakeholders for their share of these procurement opportunities,” the CAS challenged the Youth. “In addition, the Government is currently engaging the private sector to extend the same in their own procurements,” she added. 

The CAS noted that already, under the Ministry of ICT Ajira Digital Project, the Government has provided 638,400 youth with continuous training and mentorship opportunities for the acquisition of skills to access digital jobs locally and internationally. 

Hon. Shebesh said in the current financial year the Government will refurbish 60 more YECs arguing that the plan is to have a fully operational Youth Empowerment Centers in every constituency. 

She affirmed that the Ministry is committed in promoting the inclusion of women and youth living with disabilities in social economic development through affirmative action programmes. 

“34 billion Kenya Shillings from UWEZO Fund, YEDF, WEF and NGAAF has been given out to 4.5 million beneficiaries across the country cumulatively since inception to support small businesses,” said the CAS. “Huduma Centers have promoted the ease of doing business by cutting down the bureaucracy and making government accessible under one roof at the grassroots,” she added.

On issues of Gender-Based Violence, Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and early marriages Hon. Shebesh said the victims need to be empowered to come out and not to continue suffering in silence since it has been criminalized with steepened penalties for the perpetrators.

She stated that the Government has also provided free sanitary towels for students in all public primary and secondary schools as well as all female students in special schools which has reduced school absenteeism and increased transition rate.

Kenya, the European Union (EU) and Spain to upscale fight against Gender Based Violence (GBV)

Kenya, the European Union (EU) and Spain to upscale fight against Gender Based Violence (GBV)

The European Union (EU) including Spain have pledged to continue partnering with Kenya through the Ministry of Public Service, Youth and Gender to upscale the fight against Gender Based Violence (GBV).

The Ambassadors of Spain and the EU in the country H.Es Javier Garcia de Viedma and Stefano-Antonio respectively, were speaking during the launch of Kenya-EU-Spain Learning Seminar on the Criminal Justice System on Gender Based Violence at a Nairobi hotel on Thursday.

The seminar which was presided over by the Chief Justice Hon. David Maraga and also addressed by the Cabinet Secretary Prof. Margaret Kobia, seeks to share experience and harmonize efforts at combating Gender Based Violence (GBV).

Justice Maraga elaborated reforms being put in place by the Judiciary to fast track gender based violence cases besides calling for public sensitization on the need to collaborate with Organs charged with combating the vice.

In her remarks, CS Prof Kobia appreciated the support of the Embassy of Spain in collaboration with European Union Delegation in Kenya stating, “It provides an opportunity for criminal justice system peers and anti-GBV Stakeholders from Kenya and Spain to share and cross-learn best practices in prevention, processing, prosecution and adjudication of GBV and human trafficking crimes.

Noting that fighting Gender Based Violence remains one of the pillars in promoting Gender Equality and Women Empowerment (SDG 5), Prof Kobia cited the Government interventions which include development of policies, capacity building, establishment of Gender Based Violence recovery/safe centres and a hot line. 

On her part, distinguished Spanish Judge Ms. Zita Harnandez shared her country’s experience in fighting the vice and elaborated measures being implemented include providing victims of abuse with six months’ unconditional unemployment benefit to give them a new start

She added that the State has pursued successive programmes to combat GBV cases including actualizing national policy, legal besides recognizing that violence against women was a public matter.

The two-day event brought together duty bearers in the Criminal Justice System from Kenya and Spain including the Judiciary, office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, and the Police Service among others to establish strong bilateral networks and forge exchange programs amongst themselves in the fight against GBV and human trafficking.

Moderators of the Seminar were the State Department of Gender Principal Secretary Ms. Safina Kwekwe and Secretary Gender Faith Kasiva.

Others in attendance were Lady Justice Hannah Okwengu, Chairperson, Kenya Women Judges Association (KWJA) Dr. Ruth Kagia, Deputy Chief of Staff Policy and Strategy and senior government officials.


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