The UN Women Director of Programme Division, Ms. Maria Noel Vaeza, undertook a mission in Nairobi between Wednesday 24th February and Saturday 27th February, 2016. During this time, she met with the UN Women regional office for Eastern and Southern Africa (UN Women ESARO), the UN Women Kenya Country Office (UN Women KCO) and different partners.
The mission was purposed to understand the work that is being done by UN Women ESARO and UN Women Kenya Country Office; Strategic priorities for the region; corporate developments and their implications on UN Women’s programming and operational approaches and outlook; Partnerships and resource mobilization.
During the visit, she met with the Public procurement oversight authority, Gender Based Violence Networks (LVCT and GVRC), the Kenya school Government, development partners and selected members of the parliament.
Public Procurement Oversight Authority
Key issues of deliberations during her meeting with the Public Procurement Oversight Authority (PPOA) were the public procurement law and the emphasis it places on SMEs; how women are benefiting from it; the challenges that face the uptake of the 30% government expenditure on procurement set aside for women, youth and persons with disabilities; and best way of partnerships between the PPOA and UN Women to ensure increased uptake of the procurement opportunities.
The meeting also brought together beneficiaries of the 30% government expenditure on procurement set aside for women, for an insight into their challenges, strengths and experiences.
One of the major challenges that came out was the lack of a monitoring system across the country that track of the uptake of the government tenders by women. This UN Women is partnering with the public procurement authority in Kenya in establishing one.
The public procurement authority in partnership with UN Women in Kenya has managed to train over 1200 women on procurement processes. This process is ongoing both at the national and the county level in a bid to have a wider coverage.
Gender Based Violence Network in Machakos County
She further visited the Machakos Level 5 Hospital where she met with the Gender Based Violence network committee and was presented with the client flow process for survivors of GBV. The purpose of the visit was: understanding the work of UN Women Kenya’s key partners LVCT Health in the area of ending Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG); and understand the partners efforts towards ending VAWG and areas where additional support is required within the framework of the SDGs.
During this meeting, The Program Director met members of the network, who are drawn from a multisectoral membership that includes County Based Government officers, Faith Based representatives and Civil Society.
Key highlights from the meeting were the need to strengthen access to justice initiatives; Enhance capacity development of different cadre including cultural, religious, and traditional and community leaders; Invest in prevention work and address the drivers of GBV; and the use of evidence to influence gender sensitive budgeting especially in CIDPs, and link this with research.
These were brought about by the challenges of: engaging directly with communities in efforts to understand the root causes of GBV; Lack of understanding of legal provisions and implications of GBV on society from cultural dispute resolution bodies like the kangaroo courts; slow turnaround for reporting and conviction of GBV cases.
Some of the Key decisions from the visit were to: Invest in supporting the capacity enhancement programme for different cadres of leaders and stakeholders in the county; seek to enhance resource mobilization for EVAW initiatives; and Innovative strategies to be put in place to address the drivers of GBV
Gender Violence Recovery Center (GVRC)
During her visit in the country, the programme Director further visited the Gender Violence Recovery Center (GVRC) in Nairobi Women’s hospital which offers free medical treatment and psychosocial support to survivors of gender based violence where the deliberations were focused on the partner’s efforts towards ending violence against women and girls and areas where additional support is required within the framework of the SDGs.
To understand further the root cause and challenges, she visited some of the victims who gave moving testimonials with the challenge of justice coming up recurrently. From the visit, it came out that there is need for capacity building to medical institutions, the police, learning institutions, and the judiciary as these are interconnected in seeking justice.
“The most important thing beyond offering medical support to victims of gender based violence is to pursue justice as this forms part of the healing process” She Reiterated.
Kenya School of Government
The visit also saw the Programmes director Ms. Maria meet with members of the Kenya school of Government where the deliberations were focused on the streamlining gender and gender responsive budgeting in their curriculum to enhance capacity of civil servants.
Kenya Women Parliamentary Association (KEWOPA), Autonomous Government Agencies and Non-State actors
Key deliberations during this meeting were the status of efforts towards the realization of the constitutional gains under the Kenya Constitution especially the realization of the Two-thirds gender principle in the National Parliament and Senate; and opportunities for promoting government and public ownership of the Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment goals within the SDGs and increased government investment in this agenda.
This meeting brought together the National Gender Equality Commission chair Ms. Winfred Lichuma, Controller of Budget Ms. Agnes Odhiambo, and the KEWOPA chair and Member of Parliament Cecily Mbarire.