ICASA 2015 held in Harare Zimbabwe from the 29th – 4th of December was themed “HIV and AIDS in Post 2015 Era: Linking Leadership, Science and Human Rights”. The meeting was attended by over 4500 people among them – civil society, scientists and researchers, academia, people living with HIV, key populations, development partners and UN Agencies.
UN Women Kenya Country Office (KCO) was present and represented by Dr. Robert Simiyu the Democratic Governance Team Leader and Kavutha Mutuvi the HIV program consultant. Having one of the key outputs of the ICASA conference as “actively involve adolescents especially girls in HIV management”, UN Women KCO identified a young adolescent girl Ms. Brenda Bakobye and supported her participation at the meeting.
GEWE was a winner at ICASA, with the following message adopted as part of the ICASA Declaration 2015: “We are concerned about the disproportionate burden of Aids on women and assert that the goal to end AIDS is in indivisible unity with women’s empowerment, gender equality and eliminating gender violence.”
During the Conference, UN Women Regional Office for East and Southern Africa held a Skill-Building Workshop entitled “Gender Equality and Women’s Leadership in the HIV Response post 2015: Tools and Skills to make it Happen.”
The objectives of the workshop was to sensitize participants on the tools and methods available for gender equality in the HIV response and to link them with available support on how to use these tools to improve planning, implementation, resource allocation, monitoring and evaluation of their national AIDS response to bring a positive change for men, women, boys and girls. During this session various presentations were made on some of the tools and methods available for advancing gender equality and women’s leadership in national AIDS responses.
The Workshop, held on the second day of the conference was attended by 92 participants drawn from civil society organizations, women living with HIV; government representatives, chiefs, development partners and UN Agencies.
The UN Women Kenya country program presented on the success in gender mainstreaming in the National HIV and AIDS policy in the country which was based on a 3 year project funded by the European Union, and was implemented in 5 countries. The presentation on Kenya was done by Ms. Florence Anam, currently the Global Advocacy and Communication Manager of the International Community of Women Living with HIV and AIDS in Kenya and formerly of NEPHAK – one of the UN Women Kenya implementing partners of the 3 year program.
Highlights of her presentation included the success in combining different strategies to achieve the final output of a Gender Transformative National HIV strategic plan. The strategies employed included: capacity building of the National AIDS control Council senior staff on gender mainstreaming and working with civil society organizations specifically networks of WLHIV on advocating for the inclusion and recognition of gender equality and empowerment of women and girls components in the national HIV strategy. UN Women also supported the development of a national gender action plan to guide in the implementation of the gender component of the strategic framework.
The gender transformative national HIV framework is currently being used to guide the development of gender transformative county specific HIV plans. UN Women is currently undertaking sensitization among some county government staff on the development of gender specific HIV budgets to support in advocating for domestic financing of the county HIV plans. UN Women has also provided technical and financial support towards the development of the counties especially in Nairobi, Homabay and Kisii counties.