Archives November 2020

Ministry Launches the Greening Kenya project at National Youth Service

Cabinet Secretary, Prof. Margaret Kobia on Friday 27th, officially launched the Greening Kenya project at National Youth Service (NYS) Headquarters, Ruaraka following a directive from H.E. President, Uhuru Kenyatta to increase the forest cover from 7% to 10% of the land mass by 2030.

Prof. Kobia highlighted the need to plant trees in order to confront the effects of climate change and the increasing intensity and magnitude of weather-related disasters in the country that have aggravated conflicts over natural resources such as pasture and water.

“The importance of planting trees and achieving adequate forest cover in our country cannot be overstated. Our country is experiencing frequent changes in weather patterns that have led to extreme weather occurrences. Droughts, famines, and flooding becoming a commonplace. Environmental scientists have advised that the only way we can stabilize these extreme occurrences in our region is by planting more trees,” she said.

The Cabinet Secretary urged the Ministry Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to honor the presidential directive and ensure nationwide tree planting in their respective environments. “It is our duty and our responsibility as Kenyans and Government Officers to participate in the recovery of our forest coverage from 7% to 10%.”

The exercise kicked off with the planting of 1000 trees. So far, MDAs have planted 1.7 million trees in the 2019-2020 Financial Year. The target for 2020-20121 Financial Year is to plant 10 million trees.

The Ministry and NYS paid pending bills amounting to KES. 6 Billion to suppliers in the 2019-2020 Financial Year. KES. 15 Billion will be paid in this financial year 2020-2021.

Also present at the event was Principal Secretary, State Department for Public Service, Mrs. Mary Kimonye, Principal Secretary, State Department for Gender, Prof. Collette Suda, NYS Chairman, Rtd General Njuki Mwaniki, NYS Director General, Ms. Matilda Sakwa among other senior Government officials.

By Andrew Ishepai

Launch of the Report on Unintended Pregnancies and HIV Amongst Adolescents and Young People

Cabinet Secretary, Prof. Margaret Kobia on Friday 27th, November participated in a dialogue to discuss the findings of a report on unintended pregnancies and HIV amongst adolescents and young people in Homa Bay County.

In her remarks, Prof. Kobia noted that the study findings are critical as they will provide solutions to help reduce teenage pregnancy.

She pointed out that teenage pregnancies are barriers to gender equality because when young girls become pregnant and drop out of school they miss out on an opportunity to build a better quality of life.

“If we empower families economically they will be able to provide basic needs for their children and we shall reduce the number of teenage pregnancies where the County is dealing with over 4,000 cases of teenage pregnancies as per the Ministry of Health reports released during the COVID-19 pandemic period,” said Prof. Kobia.

The Cabinet Secretary called for a gender sensitive approach to address specific vulnerability of both boys and girls.” Traditional social norms that endorse masculinity and perpetrate violence as an acceptable trait should be discouraged,” she said.

She said that the key findings from the report and the other reports recently released have implication for both levels of government and stakeholders in Kenya to accelerate efforts to present and effectively respond to the disempowerment of girls on issues of GBV.

Statistics from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS 2019) show that women and girls make up 50.5% of Kenyan Population. Nearly one quarter of women give birth by age 18 and 18% of adolescent girls aged 15-19 are already mothers or pregnant with first child.

Homa Bay County Governor, Hon. Cyprian Awiti welcomed the report and committed County Government support in the successful implementation of workable solutions. He urged all the partners to work together to achieve lasting solutions for the benefit of adolescents and young people.

On her part, UNICEF Country Representative, Maniza Zanam said with closure of schools due to COVID-19 pandemic, young girls are removed not only from education, but from the protective routine that schooling offers placing them them at greater risk of the triple threat of sexual violence, HIV & unintended pregnancy.

She noted that the report findings will guide in improving the interventions for adolescents and equipping them with the skills and knowledge they need to stay safe and healthy.

The event culminated in the official launch of the study report titled ”Unintended pregnancies and HIV Amongst Adolescents and Young People: A situation Analysis of Homa Bay, Kenya.”

Other participants present were Homa Bay County Women Rep. Hon. Gladys Wanga, Homa Bay County Health Executive Committee Member, Prof. Richard Muga among others.
#HomaBayHIVReport #16Days #orangetheworld

By Nelly Kosgey

High-Level Inter-Ministerial Cross Border Meeting on Ending Female Genital Mutilation During and Post COVID-19 Pandemic

As one of the activities to mark International Day of Elimination of Violence Against Women and Girls, Chief Administrative Secretary, Hon. Rachel Shebesh yesterday on 25th participated in a high-level inter-ministerial cross border meeting on ending Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) during and post COVID-19 pandemic, a virtual event that was hosted by UBC Uganda.

In her address, Hon. Shebesh called for the implementation and operationalization of FGM legislative frameworks by all the respective East African Countries in order to ensure progress made in ending FGM is not curtailed by the porous borders where FGM prevalence is still very high.

She noted that Kenya has made tremendous progress in the fight against FGM through the enactment and enforcement of the National policy on the eradication of FGM 2019 and implementation of multi-sectoral approach to eliminate FGM.

“Our President H.E Uhuru Kenyatta made a commitment to End FGM in Kenya and beyond its borders by the year 2022 and we are now implementing the presidential directive by engaging the community through the law enforcement officers to abandon FGM,” she added.

Hon. Shebesh called for a speedy action by The East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) to ensure the commitment to End Cross Border FGM is achieved through legislation in place and all the Countries in the region must have FGM laws in place.

“If we have Ugandans crossing over to Kenya because they find it an easier place to have FGM then it is a big failure on our side as Kenyan government. I want to assure you as a Ministry we shall not rest until we put an End to Cross Border FGM by imposing tough penalties on the perpetrators and those abetting the practice through the border,” said the Chief Administrative Secretary.

She further mentioned the emerging trend being used by the FGM perpetrators where they carry out the cut on infants and also the medicalisation of FGM practice by rogue medical practitioners.

On her part, Minister for Gender, Labour and Social Development of the Republic of Uganda Hon. Peace Mutuuzo said many girls are still being cut secretly due to hiding of information and poor reporting at all levels. We call on the media fraternity to give FGM the attention it deserves as it’s one of the worst forms of violence against women and girls as we also remain vigilant on the changing trends on the medicalization of FGM practice.

Hon. Mutuuzo emphasised the need to strengthen collaboration with the neighbouring Countries to ensure timely intervention in the fight against FGM which requires sustained funding is achieved.

UNFPA Deputy Regional Director for the East and Southern Africa Office, Justine Coulson on her presentation on cross border survey commended the East African region for setting the pace to show how cooperation is important to End Cross Border FGM. She said the study survey revealed that most cases relating to child marriages and FGM are interlinked amongst the cross-border communities.

Other participants present was UNFPA Uganda Country Representative, Mr. Alain Sibenaler, Anti- FGM Board CEO, Bernadette Loloju and Legislator and Human Rights Champion, Hon. Dora Byamukama.


By Nelly Kosgey

Dialogue Between Co-leaders of the Action Coalition on GBV

On the International Day for Elimination of Violence Against Women held on Wednesday 25th, the Cabinet Secretary, Prof. Margaret Kobia participated in a dialogue between co-leaders of the Action Coalition on GBV and girl-led and women’s rights organisations on the frontline of tackling GBV.

Within the #GenerationEquality Action Coalition on Gender Based Violence that Kenya is co-leading with United Kingdom, Uruguay, Iceland together with UN Women and other partners, recognizes the critical role and contribution of Women Rights Organization’s and Girl led organizations in attaining our goal for gender equality.

The Government of Kenya commits to the following:

i. Ensuring that women rights and girl-led organizations participate and contribute meaningfully in the Action Coalition initiatives, even as the blueprint for the Coalition is being developed. More importantly by ensuring their voices are heard when coming up with the policy priorities commitments for the Generation Equality Forum in June 2021;

ii. Ensuring that they are part of the Kenya’s leadership structure of the Action Coalition on Gender Based Violence as the country support mechanism to be launched soon at the National level;

iii. Working in partnership in our advocacy work so as to strengthen and to sustain efforts to prevent violence by addressing social norms for promoting gender equality for a transformative world;

iv. Support their efforts for resource mobilization in order to effectively complement the Governments initiatives on ending Gender Based Violence; and

v. Strengthen our linkages with other arms of Government and stakeholders to ensure that adolescent girls and young women are not exploited, are protected from harmful practices such as FGM and Child marriage and safely return and stay in school for the realization of their full potential in life.

Prof. Kobia reiterated the Action Coalition Joint Leadership Statement of 29th September 2020 on the commitment to work together to stop any reversal of hard-won progress on advancing gender equality and women’s and girls’ empowerment due to COVID -19 pandemic.

She noted that efforts to rebuild after the COVID-19 pandemic must have women and girl’s agency at their heart and tackle the longer- term strategy and root causes of GBV.


Ministry Launches 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence and Gender Based Violence Recovery Center Guidelines

The Ministry of Public Service and Gender in partnership with development partners and civil society organisations yesterday launched 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence and Gender Based Violence Recovery Center Guidelines at a colourful virtual event.

This year’s event comes at a time when the world is grappling with the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic which has ravaged global economies and has brought with it social, economic, health and psychological effects of unexpected magnitude. Subsequently, cases of GBV against women and girls, particularly domestic violence, have escalated around the world.

The 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence is a time that is set aside every year to galvanize action to end violence against women and girls around the world. This year’s theme is “Orange the World, Fund, Respond, Prevent, Collect”.

The event was presided over by Principal Secretary for the State Department for Gender, Prof. Collette Suda who in her opening remarks noted that there had been a 55% increase in GBV cases between March and June when COVID-19 struck however, the figure had reduced by 41% between July and October largely due to advocacy work.

Prof. Suda pointed out the various initiatives that have been undertaken to deal with GBV including the establishment of gender desks in police stations, establishment of toll-free hotlines such as 1195 as well as advocacy campaigns. “The State Department for Gender in partnership with Healthcare Assistance Kenya operates a 24-hour toll-free helpline that supports survivors of GBV to receive online counseling and referrals for medical and legal services,” she said.

The Principal Secretary said the 16 days of activism this year will focus on the five Ps which are prevention of GBV, protection of the survivors, prosecution of perpetrators and partnership in the implementation of programmes around GBV. “No single Government Ministry, Department, Agency, faith based or civil society organization can address GBV in isolation. Therefore, this calls for multi-sectoral and multi-agency interventions to address health, legal, psycho-social, economic and cultural issues. We must focus on the five Ps that guide our work in this area,” she noted.

The UN Country Representative, Ms. Anna Mutavati affirmed that UN Women is committed to providing technical and financial support for Kenya to deliver on its obligations to prevent and respond to GBV but called on more efforts to go beyond financial funding. “We must put in more effort on mobilising every resource available in the communities as opposed to focussing on financial funding to fight GBV,” she stated.

The EU Ambassador to Kenya, Amb. Simon Mordue, who is also the Co-Chair of the Development Partners Group on Gender pledged more support from the EU during the 16 Days of Activism and beyond.

Another highlight of the event was the launch of the Guidelines for the Establishment of Gender Based Violence Recovery Centers (GBVRCs) in Kenya which were developed to standardise the service quality of the centers across the country. The GBVRCs are provided for in Vision 2030 as underscored in the social pillar that prioritises prevention and response to gender based violence and eradication of FGM.

Important days that will be marked during the 16 Days of Activism are the International Day for Persons with disabilities on the 3rd of December, the International Volunteer Day on the 5th of December and the International Human Rights Day on the 10th of December.

#16Days #OrangeTheWorld

By Catherine Kamau and Jacquiline Kirimi

The Centrality of Leadership in Fostering an Ethical Culture

Cabinet Secretary, Prof. Margaret Kobia on 5th November, 2020 presided over the virtual launch of a culture change conference themed “The Centrality of Leadership in Fostering an Ethical Culture” which was convened by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission.

The conference highlighted the ethical deficiencies in public, private and civil society sectors and focused on the centrality of leadership in fostering an ethical culture.

In her address, Prof. Kobia highlighted the government’s commitment to entrench a culture of integrity in the social fabric and fight corruption challenges in both public and private sector, noting corruption as one of the greatest impediments to development the world over. “The World Economic Forum indicates that the global cost of corruption is at least $2.6 trillion or 5% of the gross domestic product (GDP),” she said.

The Cabinet Secretary challenged the participants at the conference to come up with recommendations that will positively contribute to the achievement of Kenya’s development blueprints including Kenya Vision 2030, Sustainable Development Goals and the African Union Agenda 2063.

She urged participants to embrace partnership building in creating and nurturing ethical cultures in their organizations. “It is important to identify supportive stakeholders – the institutions that may reinforce and help promote desired ethics in your organizations. I urge you to explore ways of engaging these institutions as partners in your agenda to grow and foster ethical culture,” the Cabinet Secretary said.

A 2015 EACC Report indicated that corruption tops the list of major challenges facing Kenya at 49.4%; followed by unemployment (36.8%) and poverty/famine (27.2%). Another survey in 2017 – National Ethics and Corruption Survey – indicated that corruption and unethical conduct were widespread at over 71%. Most notable, the survey indicated that 67% of Kenyans were doing nothing in the fight against corruption and unethical conduct, signaling a salient acceptance and resignation to the phenomenon.

Prof. Kobia also noted that ethical culture formation and sustenance depends much on the quality of leadership in an organization and called on leaders to shape the culture of their organizations positively through their words and deeds.

Present at the event was Secretary-General African Association for Public Administration and Management, Dr. George Scott; Chairperson, Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission, Archbishop (Rtd) Dr. Eliud Wabukala; Head Public Sector Governance Commonwealth Secretariat, Dr. Roger Koranteng; Chief Public Administration, United Nations, Dr. John-Mary Kauzya; Executive Secretary, International Institute of Administrative Sciences South Africa, Dr. Steve Troupin; and Head, National Integrity Academy, Dr Purity Gitonga among others.

By Nelly Kosgey