The 27th of July 2011 marked the launch of the Government of Kenya – United Nations Joint Programme on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment in Kenya. The programme brings together 14 UN organizations in the country to work under one programmatic framework towards the reduction of Gender Based Violence, support the economic empowerment of women, enhance women’s participation in reform processes and peacebuilding initiatives, as well as work with the national gender machinery to mainstream gender into government programmes and operations.
The Joint Programme comes at an important time in Kenya. With the adoption of a new Constitution in August 2010, the country has set the legal foundations for the advancement of gender equality. The new Constitution creates space for women to stand on an equal legal footing with men, and provides a strong legal foundation towards ending Gender Based Violence and empowering women in all spheres of life. However, economic, socio-cultural, traditional as well as legal barriers to the achievement of gender equality remain. The Joint Programme seeks to support the Government of Kenya to break down some of these obstacles.
UN Women leads the management and coordination of the programme for the UN system in the country. This establishes UN Women as an important player in the UN reform process of ‘delivering as one’ in Kenya, where Joint Programmes spearhead the change process aiming at enhancing the UN’s system coherence and cohesiveness in the provision of development support to the Government of Kenya.