The much awaited Kenya National Action Plan (KNAP) or the Implementation of the United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325 and related resolutions was officially launched by H.E. the First Lady of the Republic of Kenya, Mrs. Margaret Kenyatta, on behalf of the Government of Kenya as part of 2016 International Women’s Day celebrations organized by the Ministry of Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs on Tuesday 8th March 2015.
The KNAP is anchored on the constitutional values of gender equality, inclusion and participation and recognizes the importance of women’s contributions to conflict prevention and resolution, peace keeping and peace building in Kenya.
The Government of Kenya has this year adopted Husisha Wanawake; Dumisha Amani (Involve women to sustain peace) as the theme for this year’s national International Women’s Day celebrations. The theme draws on the United Nations global theme “Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step it up for Gender Equality” and the African Union’s theme “Year of Human Rights with Special Focus on Rights of Women”.
The celebrations started at Uhuru Park with a match that was flagged off by Hon. Justin Muturi, the Speaker of the National Assembly. In his brief remarks, he emphasized the important role that women play in society and stated that we cannot function optimally as a society if women are excluded hence the need to empower them. Hon. Muturi, signed up for HeForShe – a global solidarity movement initiated by UN Women to uphold Gender Empowerment on the seven HeForShe principles. This was an indication of commitment to champion women & girls’ empowerment in driving the Vision 2030.
During the HeForShe sign up at Uhuru Park- Freedom corner, Hon. Muturi, the speaker of National Assembly pledged to honor the seven principles and to mobilize fellow male members of parliament to support the campaign initiated by UN Women.
Hon. Muturi further stated that he was ready to support gender equality to have more women elected in parliament and to enhance participation and electability of women into political leadership.
In her remarks, the First Lady emphasized the need to involve, women in conflict resolution and peace negotiations because women and children are most affected by insecurity. “Women, girls and children are vulnerable. When a woman suffers, her family, community and society at large suffer. Excluding women in the different spheres of life is saying no to progress.” She added.
In her remarks, the Cabinet Secretary for Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs, Hon. Sicily Kariuki, noted that great strides on promoting gender equality and women’s employment through the interventions guided by the Constitution of Kenya 2010, Vision 2030, Sustainable Development Goals and the Second Medium Term Plan II as well as other national policies and laws. She emphasized that today we are witnessing more women in parliament than ever before, that women are more in control of their resources and greatly in charge of decisions that affect their lives, their families and community. The government has set aside and disbursed millions of shillings for the Uwezo Fund, Youth Enterprise Development Fund and the Women Enterprise Fund, in addition to women having access to government procurement opportunities through the 30% public procurement.
The Director General of United Nations Office in Nairobi Amb. Sahle-Work Zewde remarked that “all around the world, International Women’s Day represents an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of women while calling for greater equality. It is a time of reflection on progress made, and a time to recommit ourselves to the struggle for gender equality.” Making reference to the Sustainable Development Goals, specifically Goal 5 on Gender Equality and Goal 16 on Peace and Justice, reiterating the interlinkages and the indivisibility of gender and peace and security. The Director General also recognized the First Lady for her noble initiative – The Beyond Zero Campaign which strives to end newborn and maternal deaths. One way to close gender gaps Amb. Zewde underlined is also through support to campaigns such as the HeForShe campaign which H.E President Uhuru Kenyatta launched in 2014 and became a champion asking all Kenyan men and boys to stand up in support of gender equality.