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UN Women Kenya and Turkana County urge men and boys to stand for Gender Equality

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Turkana County through its Governor H.E. Hon. Josphat Koli Nanok on 6thNovember officially launched the UN Women HeForShe solidarity movement within the county. This is the first county in Kenya to rollout the movementthat mobilizes men and boys as change agents and advocates of gender equality.

Turkana County, also known as the cradle of mankind, has previously been facing Inter-communal clashes in what has always been viewed as a lawless region in recent years with armed gangs raiding villages; steal cattle and making certain routes impassable. However, with the discovery of oil in 2012 and the construction of Africa’s biggest wind farm on the east of Lake Turkana has seen a rise in development and stability in the area

The event that was graced by the Turkana County Governor H.E. Hon. Josphat Koli Nanok, his Deputy Hon. Peter Ekai, UN Women Deputy Country Director Ms. Karin Fueg and the Turkana County Executive for Education, Culture and Social Developments, Hon. Margeret Kuchal took place within the margins of the Turkana Trade Fair and Investment Conference and brought together over 700 men and women from the Turkana community and beyond.

Turkana County Governor H.E. Hon. Josphat Koli Nanok Signs up as a champion of the HeForShe movement alongside UN Women Deputy Country Director Karin Fueg

In his speech, Governor Nanok stressed on the need to include the issue of women in business throughout the Trade Fair and Investment Conference and further committed to involve both women and men on a 50/50 basis in a business incubation center the County is building.

In matters of security, the Governor noted that over the years’ women were left victims of cattle rustling that left them as the sole breadwinners for their families when the husbands got killed. He however underscored that the level of violence has toned down over the years with few pockets remaining for complete eradication.

The Governor acknowledged the high girl-child enrolment in education that stands at 40% and committed to increase this amidst the challenges of the perception of education to all children in some parts of the county.

The Governor in underscoring the importance of going beyond the launch stated “The most critical issue is not the signing up for the campaign but the commitment to ensure that the message is spread to reach every village in the county through various structures like schools, churches and women association within the county.”

The Turkana County Deputy Governor, Hon. Peter Ekai in his remarks reiterated on the need for inclusivity for both men and women to work and live together. He further challenged the private sector to pull resources together in empowering women by embracing gender diversity and inclusivity.

Mr. Ekai also warned against domestic violence within the county calling on security partners to work together with the county government to ensure that Violence Against Women and Girls is not condoned and challenged men and boys to shun the tradition, culture, and peer-pressure that have previously been held on what makes a man.

“Violence Against Women is Violence Against the Society and Humanity.” He Stated

The County’s Executive Committee (CEC) for education, culture and social developments, Hon. Margaret Kuchal highlighted that the County supports gender responsive planning, budget and integration as part of the strategy for the realization of gender equality.

 

(From Left, Turkana County’s Executive Committee (CEC) for education, culture and social developments, Hon. Margaret Kuchal makes her remarks, (Right) Traditional dancers present the symbolic comitment to the governor for signing

UN Women Deputy Country Director Karin Fueg in her remarks, emphasized on the need to empower women and girls as part of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) noting that they have gained rights to primary education. Moreover, political participation has increased but there is still much to be done in areas of Violence Against Women and Girls, political participation is at 20% which is below what the constitution grants, and only 5% of rural girls have access to land.

The HeForShe solidarity movement launch in Turkana County follows the National launch by H.E. President Uhuru Kenyatta, corporate launch by Safaricom, Academic institution launch by Kenyatta University, and a launch by the UN agencies in Nairobi.

 

 

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