President Uhuru Kenyatta has said Kenya has put in place a robust policy regime to enable it achieve gender equality, and empowerment of women and girls.
Speaking during the virtual launch of the Kenyan chapter of Generation Equality Forum at State House, Nairobi, President Kenyatta enumerated various initiatives the Government had put in place to ensure gender equity.
He said women are a critical national asset with great potential to shape, influence and contribute to all spheres of development, and that empowering them strengthens the family, society, and the nation at large.
“When countries respect women rights, promote gender equality, and put women and girls at the centre of their development agenda, their societies and economies thrive, and those benefits extend far into future generations.
“Indeed, women are the pillar upon which society leans. Women are drivers of family health and welfare; they inculcate values and nurture the young, and they exert a powerful influence on intergenerational outcomes for their children” the President said.
He announced Government plans to invest Shs 2.3 Billion towards prevention of gender based violence and progressively increase the funding to Shs 5 billion.
Further, the Head of State said the Government would ratify and implement the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Convention 190 on eliminating Gender-Based Violence (GBV), and harassment in the workplace by 2026.He said the Government would conduct a survey on GBV under the 2022 Kenya Demographic Health Survey in addition to developing a system for managing the vice.
The President further noted that GBV including medical, legal, and psychological support services would be integrated into the essential minimum package of UHC by 2022.
He said GBV survivors’ fund will be established in partnership with the private sector, civil society and other stakeholders for survivor’s economic empowerment.
While acknowledging the global nature of FGM affecting more than 200 million women, President Kenyatta enumerated achievements made towards tackling the vice in the country among them setting up an aggressive media campaign to end FGM in 22 counties with high prevalence.
“We have allocated USD 2 million (Shs 200 million) for the implementation of an inter-agency programme on the prevention and response to GBV.
“Equally important to highlight is that cultural and religious leaders from the Borana, Samburu, and Pokot communities have made bold public declarations, to eliminate FGM and child marriage. This includes the ‘Kisima declaration; which I witnessed in Samburu in March of this year,” President Kenyatta said.
On 10th May, 2021, Cabinet Secretary, Prof. Margaret Kobia chaired a Virtual Commonwealth Women’s Affairs Ministers Action Group (CWAMAG) inaugural meeting.
At the Commonwealth Women’s Affairs Ministers Meeting meeting held in September 2019 in Nairobi, Ministers requested the Commonwealth Secretariat to consider establishing an Action Group for Ministers in charge of women and gender affairs to advance collective action to promote gender equality in the Commonwealth.
Following the virtual meeting on the COVID-19 pandemic held in September 2020, it became even more urgent to establish the Ministerial Action Group.
The meeting held on 10th May sought to provide the opportunity to discuss Commonwealth priorities including women’s economic empowerment and gender-based violence with a view to sharing good practices and lessons learned towards recovery processes from the pandemic and rebuilding efforts that involve women’s leadership and girls’ interests.
During the meeting, the Action group adopted the updated Gender Declaration which was favourably welcomed by member countries in the context of increased gender inequality during the pandemic. The Declaration will help guide the Ministerial Action Group Terms of Reference and Agenda.
On Wednesday 5th May, 2021, Cabinet Secretary, Prof. Margaret Kobia presided over the Absa Bank Women in Business Proposition Launch.
The proposition aims to empower businesswomen in Kenya with information to help them scale up their businesses.
In her keynote address, Prof. Kobia commended Absa on their achievement of 50:50 representation of women and men at board level. She also noted with appreciation that women occupy 32 per cent of Directorship positions at Absa.
“Research has shown that, where gender diversity is valued, decisions made are better and performance improves by 30%,” she said.
The Cabinet Secretary lauded the Bank’s proactive efforts to get competent women to take up their place in the world of entrepreneurship and business which include:
1. Partnering with the International Trade Centre in July 2016 to create opportunities for women business entrepreneurs to participate in the global economy by building their capacities on financial literacy and entrepreneurship, eventually benefitting more than 5500 women;
2. Launching the Absa Group #SheCan manifesto that calls upon the Bank to continue creating equality in its workplace and across our supply value chain by ensuring that the woman is heard while running an executive coaching programme to get them ready for senior leadership;
3. Being a signatory of the UN Programme dubbed Target Gender Equality, whose main purpose is to continue bridging the gender gap; and
4. The announcement in 2020 of a KSh. 10 billion kitty to advance credit to women-owned small and medium enterprises as part of Absa’s new customer value proposition.
She noted that the Ministry of Public Service and Gender, through the implementation of the National Policy on Gender and Development (2019), has spearheaded the actualisation of provisions on gender equality in the Constitution of Kenya, 2010.
“The Ministry of Public Service and Gender remains committed to continued engagement with private sector and other strategic partners in building a stronger economy that puts women, persons with disabilities and other disadvantaged groups in the strategy,” she said.
Also present at the event was; Jeremy Awori, Managing Director, Absa Bank Kenya, Elizabeth Wasunna Ochwa, Business Banking Director Absa Bank Kenya, Christine Mwai-Marandu, Country Credit Director, Absa Bank Kenya,Anne Mutahi, OGW, Senior Advisor to The President, Anne Zaleski Mori, Head of Partnership at SheTrades, International Trade Centre, and Nancy Muthoni, National Vice Chair, Women in Bussiness Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Principal Secretary, Mrs. Mary Kimonye, yesterday led the State Department in validating the first software prototype of the ongoing Government Human Resource Information System (GHRIS) upgrading exercise at the Kenya School of Government, Nairobi.
The Principal Secretary led Heads of Departments and the GHRIS Implementation Committee in reviewing the prototype that has been developed by the GHRIS Software Upgrading Taskforce (GSUT).
The taskforce demonstrated the software prototype to the validation team and explored the detailed interface of the software.
In her remarks, the Principal Secretary emphasized the importance of GHRIS in delivering on the key mandate of the State Department as well as managing the HR function of the public service.
She urged the GHRIS Implementation Committee to fast track the development of all key modules required for full upgrade of the system so that it can be rolled out for use.
The Director of Management Advisory Services, Mr. David Kanji, said that GHRIS needs an upgrade to enable the consolidation of HR data across all relevant systems in the public service and to ensure the data is accurate and reliable. He noted that upgrading GHRIS is necessary to ease access to the consolidated data which will in turn improve management and policy decision making.
The GHRIS taskforce committed to complete the upgrading exercise in time for external stakeholder validation before rolling it out for implementation.
Present in the workshop were various Heads of Departments including the Principal Administrative Secretary, Mr. Steve Ndele; Secretary Human Resource Policy, Mrs. Mary Maungu; Technical Advisor to the Cabinet Secretary, Mr. Titus Ndambuki and Huduma Kenya Secretariat C.E.O, Mr. James Buyekane.
Cabinet Secretary, Prof. Margaret Kobia on 29th April, 2021 led a section of women leaders to issue a statement of support on the nomination of Hon. Lady Justice Martha Koome for the position of Chief Justice of the Republic of Kenya.
The event held in Nairobi, brought together women leaders to rally their support for the nominee and take stock of the milestones that have been made in the Gender Equality and Women Empowerment agenda in Kenya.
Issuing a congratulatory statement on behalf of women leaders who had come together in Nairobi to celebrate Justice Koome’s nomination by the Judiciary Service Commission, Prof. Kobia said her nomination was due to a strong vote of confidence in the skills, knowledge and competencies she holds.
“With 33 years of experience Justice Koome has been an asset to the Judiciary, and as a former Chairperson of Federation of Women Lawyers in Kenya (FIDA), she has distinguished herself as women’s and human rights defender locally and internationally,” commended Prof. Kobia.
She further stated that Justice Koome, who will be the Kenya’s first female Chief Justice has dealt with obstacles entrenched in social and cultural norms that deny leadership opportunities to women, crediting the nomination as a solid recognition of women’s excellence and potential for leadership in their various fields.
“We have come together to rally our support for the nominee and take stock of the milestone that have been made towards achieving gender equality and women empowerment agenda in Kenya,” said the CS, and added “Justice Koome has shattered the glass ceiling and will be one of the most admired Chief Justices in the world.”
Prof. Kobia said Justice Koome’s victory will inspire young girls in the country to pursue their dreams and thanked President Uhuru Kenyatta for fulfilling his constitutional obligation by forwarding JSC nomination of Justice Koome to the National Assembly for vetting.
In her remarks, the Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Water Hon. Sicily Kariuki noted with concern that women leaders face a lot of challenges in their course of work and therefore urged citizens to look up to them as leaders and not just as the other gender.
“As women we are motivated by Justice Koome to keep going even when we face discrimination challenges. She has unknowingly elevated women and challenged us to celebrate women in every sphere,” urged Kariuki.
Speaking at the event, Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Lands and Physical Planning Hon. Farida Karoney called upon women leaders to support Justice Koome in her new task.
“We are not in these positions because we are women. We are in these positions because we are competent Kenyans, equal to the task and we just happen to be women,” insisted Karoney.
UN Women, Country Representative Ms. Anna Mutavati said that the nomination of Justice Koome is exciting for gender equality champions in the country, and globally, because it comes at a time the world recently came together in March 2021 to launch the Generation Equality Forum Agenda.
“Kenya joins a small number of countries in Africa with women at the helm of the judiciary. As UN women, we join the rest of the world in congratulating Kenya on taking this historic step as it signifies that the country is in the right direction and is committed to achieving gender equality,” commented Ms. Mutavati.
She said that the entry of women judges into spaces from which they had historically been excluded is a positive step in the direction of judiciaries being perceived as being more transparent, inclusive, and representatives of the people whose lives they affect.
Kirinyaga Governor, Ann Waiguru in a statement read by Nairobi County Deputy Governor, Hon. Ann Kananu commended Judicial Service Commission for selecting a nominee who is not only a woman, but also one who has contributed to the advancement of justice in the country.
Waiguru thanked the President for forwarding Justice Koome’s name to Parliament for vetting, which she said is a great demonstration of confidence in women leadership.
“I urge parliamentarians to consider Justice Koome as Kenya is ready for female leadership,” she said.
Nairobi Deputy Governor, Ann Kananu lauded Justice Koome for changing the narrative, noting that 25 years ago no one could have imagined that a woman could take a mantle for such a position.
“As a woman, I feel I have achieved alot, courtesy of Justice Koome’s nomination. Her competency will steer the judiciary towards efficient service delivery. The forums that bring us in leadership shall be permanent,” cited Kananu.
Among the women leaders present at the event were Cabinet Secretaries, Ministry of Sports Tourism and Heritage, Amb. Dr. Amina Mohamed, Ministry of Industrialization, Trade and Enterprise Development, Hon. Betty Maina, Chief Administrative Secretaries Hon. Beatrice Elachi, Hon. Rachel Shebesh, Hon. Dr Jebii Kilimo, Hon. Winnie Guchu, Principal Secretary, Mrs. Mary Kimonye, Maendeleo ya Wanawake Chairperson, Mrs. Rahab Mwikali, Chairperson, Gender and Youth Sector Board, KEPSA Eva Muraya, State House, Deputy Chief of Staff Mrs. Ruth Kagia among other dignitaries.
H.E. President Uhuru Kenyatta on 24th April, 2021, presided over the National Youth Service Pass Out Parade and the launch of the National Youth Service Tracking System at Gilgil College. 7,479 servicemen and women graduated today having successfully completed 6 months of paramilitary training.
President Kenyatta congratulated the graduands for their courage, discipline and perseverance as they individually and collectively prepare to undertake their civic responsibility of building and serving their country.
He commended the leadership and management for successfully completing the training programme safely without any case of COVID-19 and in full compliance of applicable measures as per The Ministry of Health and World Health Organization guidelines and protocols.
“As we contend with the third wave of the COVID-19 Pandemic, all Kenyans should look to you and to your institution as an example of how ordinary life can continue safely, responsibly, and in full fidelity with the preventative measures put in place to save lives and secure public health,” he said.
His Excellency noted that NYS has provided young Kenyans the skills and competencies for entrepreneurship and employment; in addition to inculcating the ethos of patriotism, loyalty, integrity, duty, and service to the Nation that has made graduands better citizens.
President Kenyatta urged the graduands not to let anything come between them and the transformative journey they have embarked on.
“To our graduands, as you pass-out today and go out into the world as graduates from this highly respected institution, always remember that you are role models for what the ideal citizen should be and further encourage you to carry yourself with dignity, honour, integrity, and with an unshakeable commitment to serving and bettering Kenya,” he said.
Cabinet Secretary, Prof. Margaret Kobia thanked the NYS Council and the Management for strengthening effective governance to deliver on the strategic plan while demonstrating good stewardship and accountability.
Prof. Kobia said that the Pass Out Parade was carried out under the constraints of the COVID-19 pandemic noting that it was a demonstration that public service delivery has not been disrupted during the pandemic.
“The Pass Out Parade today is proof that with discipline and commitment to purpose, Government’s business continuity and service delivery can be achieved,” she said.
During the event, the Head of State also launched the National Youth Service Tracking System, a system that has been developed to enable prospective employers access potential employees from a large pool of NYS graduates. The system will categorize the graduates by skills acquired and county of residence making it easier for employers to source for skilled labour as may be needed within a specific region.
Since its establishment in 1964, a total of 248,440 servicemen and women have gone through NYS with 101,107 having been admitted in the last seven years.
Congratulations to the 2021 graduates. Go on Be great.