Empowering women and girls and promoting gender equality is crucial to accelerating sustainable development. The Kenyan Government has made great strides in respect to achieving Gender Equality in its development agenda. The commitment to gender equality arises from the international obligations emanating from the treaties, protocols ratified/signed/acceded and commitments by the Government of Kenya. The Beijing Platform for Action (BPFA), adopted at the Fourth World Conference on Women, recognizes that gender equality and women’s empowerment are essential for addressing the central development concerns of poverty and insecurity, and for achieving sustainable, people-centred development.
The SDG Kenya Forum (hereinafter referred to as the Forum) comprises diverse Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) seeking to contribute to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development in Kenya. The Forum’s membership and strategic partnership include government, academia, media and private sector. Details of member’s engagement and roles can be viewed on the Forum’s platform.1
The forum aims to generate constructive ideas and has engaged other stakeholders in key development processes that support the achievement of the SDGs.
This baseline study involved collecting data from the key actors –national and county to identify key areas of focus in gender mainstreaming. Six counties were sampled namely: Nakuru, Bomet, Kitui, Kisumu, Kilifi and Kajiado. To collect data in Bomet, Kisumu and Kilifi, interviews were used, while a desk top review was used to gather data for Kitui, Kajiado and Nakuru. Nairobi was marginally interviewed due to its proximity, and willingness to supply information for the study. The study benefited from desk review information on alignment of the Kenya’s economic development blue print – Kenya Vision 2030, the Medium Term Plan III (2018–2022), and the Big Four policy framework with the SDG 5 targets and indicators. This information will: (i) be used as the reference point to engage with the government and progressively measure the project performance against set
targets during and at the end of the project; (ii) serve to validate the project outcomes in terms
of attainability and where appropriate, provide justification for revision of some of the outcomes; and (iii) be used to improve the design of the project to allow for effective implementation.
Right-based assessment approaches and techniques were applied. Specifically, accountability assessments were subscribed to where there were provisions of evidence of unfulfilled rights/commitments classified into either rights or obligations. At the County and National level, the assessment was framed along the budgeting, planning, implementation and accountability so as to identify missed opportunities in the integration of gender equality and women empowerment. SDGs particularly goal 5 is only feasible if considered within the 5 key stages of Planning, Budgeting, Implementation, Reporting/Accountability. For purposes of engagement by the SDG Kenya Forum, the ministries responsible for gender at the national and county levels were the entry point.
The study observed that Kenya has made great progress in matters of gender equality by ratifying the protocols to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights though it has not submitted any report for consideration. The study further noted that the country is guided by an out-dated gender policy of 2000, with attempts to review it since 2011. It was evident that none of the study counties had developed and adopted a gender policy as a framework to operationalize their commitment to gender equality. Overall all economic development planning at the county level as per the CIDPs -2018-2022 are guided by the MTP III-2018-2022 and its financing framework and focused on delivery of the Big Four Initiatives and the SDGs targets including other government initiatives. It was not clear how the role of gender officers posted in counties links with the county gender machineries; and all the counties do not clearly understand the concept of gender and gender mainstreaming and Gender Responsive Budgeting. The Executive arm of the County government and the legislative arm seemed to focus on major infrastructure projects and had no regard for gender concerns (and other social sectors) in their programming. While the National Government is committed to the SDG agenda on the 17 Goals, the Budgets at the County government did not reflect the required prioritization. The Gender Equality agenda within the SDGs is not only embedded in SDG 5, because Gender is a cross cutting issue in all other 17 goals.
The study recommends to:
1) Enhance the visibility of the SDG Kenya Forum to deliver on its mandate
2) Build capacity of duty bearers at the national and county Government to strengthen institutional coordination mechanism on Gender Mainstreaming.
3) Sensitize and create awareness on the SDGs at the citizenry level for accountability.
4) Mobilize more resources for implementation of Goal 5
5) Invest more in national and county statistical officers for gender responsive data for monitoring and evaluation
6) Act as the CSOs accountability machinery to continuously hold the Government to account on delivery of SDG 5 indicators and other connected gender indicators emanating from other SDGs