STATEMENT BY PROF. MARGARET KOBIA, PhD, MGH CABINET SECRETARY, MINISTRY OF PUBLIC SERVICE, YOUTH AND GENDER AFFAIRS OF THE REPUBLIC OF KENYA AND HEAD OF GOVERNMENT DELEGATION TO THE 62ND SESSION OF THE COMMISSIONON THE STATUS OF WOMEN (CSW-62) TUESDAY, MA
REPUBLIC OF KENYA
MINISTRY OF PUBLIC SERVICE, YOUTH AND GENDER AFFAIRS
Ladies and Gentlemen
I wish to congratulate you on your election as Chair of the Bureau of the 62nd Session of the Commission on the Status of Women.
Kenya aligns itself with the statement delivered on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, as well as the statement delivered on behalf of the African Group.
The Constitution of Kenya guarantees gender equality and women empowerment and today, Kenya is on track in the implementation of the Beijing platform for Action.
Gender Equality is at the centre of Kenya's national development and enjoys political commitment at the highest level from H.E Uhuru Kenyatta, The President of the Republic of Kenya.
The President has unveiled four key priority areas for his Government namely:
Food security and nutrition; Value addition and manufacturing; Universal health coverage; and Low-cost housing. These focus areas, dubbed the 'Big Four', will have a major impact on women and girls living in rural areas, and build on the gains already made.
In the Health Sector, the Government of Kenya has committed USD 43 Million to fund Free Maternity Services. This has contributed to an increase of deliveries in health facilities from 52% in 2003 to 61.2% and decline in Maternal Mortality Rate from 488 per 100,000 deaths in 2008 to 362 per 100,000 in 2014. Kenya's First Lady, through her Beyond Zero Campaign on maternal and child health has catalysed actions towards strategic partnerships for health.
The Government is committed to achieving universal health coverage. So far over 56% of the total population is covered by the National Health Insurance Fund.
Agriculture remains the backbone of Kenya's economy, directly contributing 24% of the annual GDP and another 27% indirectly. Sixty per cent (60%) of the total employment is agriculture linked. In rural areas, 80% of the population, of which 60% are women and girls, derive their livelihoods from agriculture. The Government's strategic focus is expected to improve agricultural production in Kenya with a direct bearing on rural women and girls.
On Women, the Economy and Poverty, the Government policy on the 30% procurement, reserved for youth, women and persons with disabilities has had significant impact. To date, USD 40 million worth of Government tenders have been allocated. Affirmative Action Funds, have benefited over 3 million people countrywide, majority of whom are women.
The Government is opening up rural areas by investing in physical and social infrastructure and enabling women and girls to thrive economically and lessen time burden. In 2017, Government constructed 3800 km of low volume road and expanded major roads in rural areas.
The Last Mile, a rural electrification programme, plans to connect 70% of Kenya in the rural area and to reduce connection cost and time by 60% in the medium term. So far, 5 million households, 14,950 public schools and 9840 public facilities have access to electricity.
To harmonize integration of agriculture and energy, reduce the burden of collecting firewood on women, mitigate against unpaid care work, for women in rural areas, the government is distributing 1.2 million gas cylinders and supporting women in adopting LPG gas. This is expected to eliminate challenges of bio fuels such as negative health impacts, economic burden, environmental degradation and pollution.
On Mobile Money Technology, over 196,000 subscribers in the rural areas, the majority of whom are women, can transact financial services of great benefit to their living standards and economic activity. Currently 30.6 0/0 of women have access to banking services.
On women representation and decision making, the Country is making progressive steps to accelerate gender parity in political participation and representation, both in elective and appointive positions through the Constitutional provision of 'not more than 2/3 gender principle'.
Noteworthy is the increased proportion of women in national and local assemblies; expansion of democratic spaces in previously male dominated spheres e.g. three newly elected women in the position of Governors. Women in influential dockets of: Foreign Affairs, Health, Education, Lands, Defence, Public Service, Gender and Youth.
In the Education sector, the free primary and secondary education and provision of free sanitary towels targeting 4 Million Girls, has significantly increased both the Gross Enrolment Rate and Net Enrolment Rate and boosted retention of girls living in rural areas. Today Kenya has achieved gender parity in primary school enrolment.
Kenya continues to strengthen the legal and policy framework that secures and underpins gains made in achieving gender equality and women empowerment, two critical legislations that entrench principles of gender equality and that enable women land ownership, will see the per cent of women who own land increase from the current figure of 20%.
To mitigate the effects of gender-based violence and harmful practices various legal, policy and programmatic interventions are being implemented.
A joint UN/GOK GBV programme focused on prevention, protection, prosecution programming and consolidating partnerships was launched and complemented by GBV hotlines, referral centres and capacity building for duty bearers.
In conclusion, I wish to re-affirm our commitment to accelerate the realization of gender equality and empowerment of women and girls living in rural areas, and welcome continued collaboration with local, regional and international partners who contribute to the achievement of our goals.
I thank you.