Little progress in implementation of Uhuru's 12 anti-GBV pledges

UN Women Kenya Country Representative Anne Mutavati, speaks during a two-day workshop on Generation Equality Forum Midpoint Moment: Kenya’s Journey to Equality held at Safari Park Hotel on September 14, 2023. It brought together stakeholders from UN Women, Equality Now and the State Department of Gender to take stock of the 12 commitments made by the government towards ending GBV and FGM. 

Photo credit: Francis Nderitu | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • In June, 2021, then President Uhuru Kenyatta presented 12  pledges as a roadmap to ending all forms of GBV and FGM by 2026.
  • He promised to ensure his government developed a GBV management and information system by 2022.
  • Experts, however, say the current government has backtracked on the little progress made.

Little progress has been made in implementation of 12 anti-gender-based violence (GBV) commitments made by former President Uhuru Kenyatta during the Generation Equality Forum (GEF) in Paris, France, two years ago.

On June 30, 2021, Mr Kenyatta then presented the pledges as a roadmap to ending all forms of GBV and female genital mutilation (FGM) by 2026.

He committed to full implementation of GBV laws and policies by adopting a GBV indicator in the government performance contracting framework and investment of $ 23 million for GBV prevention and response by 2022. The allocation would be increased to up to $50million by 2026 through a co-financing model.

At the same time, he pledged to ratify and implement the International Labour Organisation Convention 190 on elimination of GBV and harassment in the workplace by 2026.

On data collection, he endeavoured to introduce a module on GBV in the 2022 Kenya Demographic and Health Survey to strengthen the utilisation of gender statistics in informing the design, scale-up and evaluation of FGM and GBV programming.

This would go hand-in-hand with his plan to invest $1 million annually for GBV research, and innovation to boost evidence-based programming by 2026.

To strengthen GBV prevention and response programming, he promised to ensure his government developed a GBV management and information system by 2022.

He pledged to take care of the GBV survivors through integrating GBV services- medical, legal, and psychological support services into the essential minimum package of the Universal Health Coverage by 2022.

Assistant Inspector General of Police  and National Police Service Spokesperson Dr. Resila Onyango makes her remarks at the workshop on September 14, 2023. 

Photo credit: Francis Nderitu | Nation Media Group

The former President endeavoured to scale up the national police service integrated response to GBV, Policare centres, and establish GBV recovery centres and shelters in all 47 counties by 2026.

He planned to create a GBV survivors fund through a co-financing model in partnership with private sector, civil society, and other stakeholders, to empower the survivors economically.

Similarly, he committed to GBV prevention and response in crisis situations such as Covid-19 pandemic response, humanitarian contexts and electoral related GBV.

To create a solid ground for realising these commitments, Mr Kenyatta sought to institutionalise the multi-sectoral GEF leadership structure, and strengthen collaboration with non-state actors including girl-led, women’s rights organisations, male champions, and private sector through coordination structures. These include the Gender Sector Working Groups at the national and county level.

However, a two-day conference held in Nairobi last week, which brought together representatives from the public, private and civil society as well as researchers and experts in data and gender equality matters, revealed that much is yet to be done.

Of worry is that the current government has backtracked on the little progress made.

Tabitha Nyambura from National Gender and Equality Commission (NGEC) said the GBV indicator, which Mr Kenyatta’s government had integrated into the government performance contracting framework has since been dropped.

She appealed to the participants attending the conference convened by Equality Now and UN Women to “support NGEC to ensure the indicator is returned.” She, however, shared the good news that the commission had launched a GBV Information Management System with the support of Equality Now.

Sustaining it, however, requires huge financial investments, a major challenge they currently face, she observed.

She said they need funds to train the data entry clerks, pay their salaries, cover management, and oversight costs.

Josphat Ireri, programme director at the State Department of Gender defended President William Ruto saying he is committed to implementing the GEF commitments.

State Department of Gender, Programme Director Josphat Ireri, makes his remarks during the workshop  held at Safari Park Hotel on September 14, 2023.

Photo credit: Francis Nderitu | Nation Media Group

Mr Ireri, while responding to a question from a Nation reporter on why the GBV indicator was removed from government performance contracting framework, and if President William Ruto was aware of the GEF commitments and was committed to implementing them.

“His representation at the UN General Assembly is a proof of his commitment to the GEF commitments. And he seeks to mobilise resources to support implementation of the commitments,” Mr Ireri said.

He also noted that the “GBV indicator was lost towards the end of last year and efforts are being made to ensure it is returned.”

An analysis by lawyer Joyce Majiwa on the achievements made in realising the commitments reflected an ambivalent state of affairs.

For instance, she said despite the gazettement of the Nairobi and Nanyuki policare centres, the facilities are yet to take off.

And even though there has been heightened advocacy on the commitments, their implementation is only limited to the national level.

“Not all ministries, departments and agencies have been engaged,” she said.

The participants decried lack of GBV survivors' fund and government funded-shelters. They also said inadequate and sometimes zero anti-GBV funding and lost political will, threaten the fight towards ending all forms of GBV by 2026.