Post by Elina Omwoha and Stephen Kaka
The training on Gender based budgeting was taken to Mwiki on 11th March 2015 courtesy of Consolation East Africa.
The first session was led by Millicent who led participants in identifying the devolved government from the charts namely; National Government and the County government. Under the chart, she requested the participants’ to identify the commissions that existed under the constitution, the commissions included; the Human Rights Commission, Commission on revenue Allocation, Public Service Commission, Anti-corruption Commission and Commission for the implementation of the Constitution among others. Additionally, the participants were also involved in the meeting by being requested to highlight some of their gains that they recognized in the Constitution. Some of the gains included;
- The newly promulgated constitution provides for the enactment of legislation for the protection of matrimonial property with special interest on the matrimonial home, during and upon the termination of the marriage.
- The Kenyan Constitution maintains a one third requirement for either gender in elective bodies giving women of Kenya at least 1/3 minimum in elective public bodies, of which we are still far from, due to the fact that in Kenya we do not have a woman governor, a senator and most MCA’s are nominated and worst is the position of women representatives held by men-women representatives.
- The new Kenyan Constitution accords the right to health including reproductive health to all.
- Kenyan women are able to pass on citizenship to their children regardless of whether or not they are married to Kenyans.
- The new constitution assures that parental responsibility shall be shared between parents regardless of marital status.
- That the workshop was to address the empowerment of civil society and more so towards women who the patriarchal structure embody as ‘’beasts of burden. ‘This is perceived as the unique requirement of women in the wider society.
- That gain for women derived from the current constitution includes; life in relation to the right of abortion when and if the life of the mother is in danger, child and parental responsibilities, entitlement to property like land inheritance from the parents, social and economic infrastructural rights among others.
- That the general rights of children include; freedom from slavery and forced labour, socio-economic development, entitlement to a culture and language attached values.
The family was recognized as the major ground for gender discrimination, the way in which parents buy different gifts for different gender of children, such as dollies for girl child and cars toys for boy child. In order to promote gender equality, parents at home should give equal opportunity to children. Other rights guaranteed to children include; Freedom from slavery, servitude and forced labor, counter human trafficking, fight against child prostitution and social economic rights of children.
Gender Responsive Budget
The gender responsive budget was then introduced as the deliberate action to promote budgeting that contributes to the advancement of gender equality and the fulfillment of women’s rights. The aim of GRB is; to strengthen the capacity of the government and to bring gender perspective into an economic governance hence increasing transparency. Gender responsive budgeting addresses issue affecting both genders whose key social component is “citizen participation’ and that gender responsive budget analysis is based on:
- Planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of public funded projects in one’s locality.
- building women capacity on micro economy for production and productivity
- Encouraging women to participate in economic governance dimensions in the social economy.
That some of the strategies/approach of implementing gender responsive budgeting would include;
- Identification of the unique feature of a gender perception
- Women taking interest to participate in public budgeting as individuals or through representation
- Taking interest and participating on issues on local physical planning and development issues
- Motivating self and grafting the courage of other women to participate on economic governance
That some of the purposes of gender responsive budgeting included;
- Encouraging and promoting women in public production spheres
- Building advocacy capacity and skills among genders and
- Strengthening scrutiny of government expenditure at the county levels
The Senior Chief Kasarani – Mr. Joseph Karanja was introduced and given the opportunity to contribute regarding his administrative position. The chief relayed the apology from the District Commissioner (DC) who was expected in the meeting but was in another security meeting and as such could not attend. The Senior Chief attended; however, he was expected in a security meeting too and therefore had less time to talk to the participants. The major issues that the chief highlighted that were core challenges in the area include;
- Security – most youths are lost in alcohol and drug abuse. He advised women to be the beginners of good security, as security begins from parents, thus, awareness should be made to women on how to deal with their children and incase of anything to report to the chief. He further reiterated that women help with nurturing of children and there was need to empower them to enable them pass it on so that all are catered for.
- Public fund- the chief explained his procedural requirements for anyone to get public funds. He requested women to form groups (e.g Maendeleo ya Wanawake), identify projects and request for funds from the chief’s office. He also told the participants to avail themselves for bursary funds, there is money within the area but citizens do not request for them.
- The Senior Chief also applauded the organizing team and requested it to organize more meetings in the venue in future. The participants were reminded that this was a great privilege.
- Chief’s speech was echoed by a number of participants that; alcohol has been a problem, but since his coming, things are moving on well.
- He highlighted the importance of training like this as it helps people to live socially.
- He lamented on the deterioration of insecurity in the area due to drug and substance abuse and poor employment opportunities for youth
- He said that his office is ready to provide information to help women, youth and all vulnerable groups assess funds dedicated to them. The formation of group and proper utilization of such funds will improve on the funds access and allocation to improve the livelihood whose outcome would reduce idleness that breeds crimes. He was perturbed that people are not requesting for this information, however a good number had visited his office for other issues.
- Only one group from the participant had accessed the funds through the chief’s office.
- He said that his office is not there to arrest criminals or harass the society but to correct the wrong and change for a civilized and harmonious co-existence.
- He appreciated the role played by KARDS and CEA in building capacities on GRB and requested the two organizations to continue educating women.
- An Elder at Chief’s Office – Mr.Kuria confirmed that information given to the chief is always kept private and confidential, this was a reaction from Community members that people fear to relay information on security issues to police and chiefs because it might end up being leaked to the society jeopardizing the lives of the crime reporters.
- A representative of Maendeleo ya Wanawake; said that the government require a deeper understanding of children and women issues. She expressed condemned people who employed children as house-helps. She said it is sad when a mother employ a child so as she may take care of her children including preparing them to go to school while the child ought to be in school too. She requested the parents to only employ adults as house helps to avoid issues related to insecurity of their houses and children and poor housekeeping. She encouraged the participants to invite more of their neighbors in future seminars like this. She asked the organizers to have as many seminars in Chieko as seminars of the kind have been very few and are much needed.
- The chairman of the Youth Empowerment Centre – Mr. Antony Njanja said that he realized the inadequacy of the participants knowledge of the constitution. He requested Consolation East Africa to bring more seminars in the hall in order to attract more government administration officers, this was positively met, and CEA promised to organize a forum in the same location in the future by their help in identifying areas of challenge and inviting the area leaders tasked with responsibilities in the same areas of concern.
- Kasarani Youth Empowerment Centre Management Committee Member – Wamuthoni requested for an arrangement of a seminar to be made within the area, concerning human rights and GRB as many times as possible.
- Obstacles to women’s participation in political Leadership – Edna Wanjiku, also CEA mobilization officer in Kasarani, started off her session by telling the Chief that he should inform the Citizens earlier enough on how they can acquire birth certificates, and services such like the Uwezo fund and other important services that the government offers through the chief’s Offices. Chief’s response was that; there is money that is allocated for the youths and women, and that they should go ahead and claim it, but they should be able to form groups first, because one person will not be able to access the funds. Edna then posed a question to the women; ‘why do they always stay behind whenever there is a call on the governmental development.
- When a leader brings in an area a heath facility, then people should be attending the health facilities, taking children to immunization, and staying a heath life.
- That women should always chase opportunities of being representatives, and always starting by saying “ I can do it” That women can direct development – that women should participate, even if one is a mother with a lot of domestic works, she should be able to delegate her work so as to be able to attend developmental forums and seminars.
- She encouraged the participants to visit often the chief’s and other government offices to access funds and other development information.
- The coordinator requested women to adopt positive and inquisitive attitude toward issues of development.
- She requested women to allocate time and commitment to public as they are the tax payer and whether they participate on socio-economic governance agenda public projects will still be implement without their inputs. She has realized over time that women do not support other women on public issues, therefore she then requested women to inform and educate each other.
- When introducing her session on social audit asked ‘’when one engages someone’s effort, what is that that you require from that person at the end of the day’? That is what is social auditing.’’
- Through her session the participants mentioned the below as projects that are on-gong and completed ;
- A bridge
- Kasarani health Centre medical officers’ quarters
- Street light and
- An intangible project- improved security
Edna Wanjiku also led the participants in a discussion to explore major challenges that women faces in political leadership and governance issues. Some of them include;
- Lack of sharing information regarding public meetings.
- Most time and cash is wasted on household chores and budgeting.
- Lack of skilled leadership.
- Negative attitude towards other women who are striving to get at the top.
- Inadequate ability to participate.
- Poverty, including lack of thinking broad and lack of jobs.
- A lot of responsibilities at home.
- Inadequate knowledge of their Constitutional Rights.
- Lack of mentorship
Ms Bridged Faida was next with budget cycle, she informed the participants that they have to act on what they are taught, and that because they have already been told that there is money by their area chief. She went on to sensitize the participants on the dates as to when the budget cycle begins, of which is by 30th of August, here is when a citizens have the priorities to contribute on matter of their concerns on developmental issues. Whereby the collection of priorities at different sectors go put up the budget, and that by 30th April the budget estimate is tabled in the county assembly, then taken to citizens for approve their priorities. Under the cycle the citizens have a greater chance of participation between 1st September and 15th February, within this period, the wards are supposed to complete their budget plan and submit to their relevant ministries. On the other hand each ministry undertakes their ministerial public expenditure review. Public views are collected at this stage for the development of the budget.
Social audit was presented by Edna Wanjiku who started by introducing social audit as an analysis, examination or crosscheck of a job or task given. She asked the participants to identify some of the social audit improvements within the area and they included; roads, bridge, schools, doctor’s houses, road electricity and an idle field has been improved and secured and now used as a market. Social Audits’ role is to prevent abuse of taxpayers’ money.
Open Forum and way forward/ Women Responses/Feedback
This session was facilitated by Mr. Stephen Kaka, who involved all the participants in the meeting by asking them the lessons they have learned through the meeting. Every woman learned a lesson and at least contributed for the development of the area. Some of their lessons learnt were;
- Create awareness in case of any public meetings
- Form women groups and exercise their right of participation in decision making.
- Join groups and get development funds.
- Follow up on any public activity within their ward and participate.
- The right to secure proper language.
- Follow ups on the issue of inadequate water.
- Put security.
- There are issues to be reported to respective government offices.
- The importance of raising consciousness of others.
- Women bear a lot of communal responsibilities i.e. family nurturing and as such very important to empower them.
- There is a lot of necessary information at Ward Administrator’s and MCA’s offices.
- Women need to come out, move on and dream big
- Importance of creating peace in area of residence
- Kaka Stephen.
Stephen Kaka led the participants on an open forum, involving the participants to give their views on an open forum and to get the way forward, each participant was given an opportunity to say what their intentions were after the training; their contribution was as follows; To take responsibly to inquire on as why other intended development projects in the county are not successful, Inform others who are not able to access information on when the public meetings are held, Security starts within self, Follow ups on developmental, and know whether can also participate, to find and join a group so as to be heard, advice other women, to help the disabled get help, Revive stagnation groups, Encourage a mixture of ethnic groups, Raise an opinion on budget, Developmental activities, teach others what is learned, to know whether maternity hospital in Kasarani can be constructed, To know whether GRB exists and come back to the community with the information. To follow up on water construction plans, to know how to teach and bring up the youth/children, To know their rights on budgeting process.
- Emphasized on community social audit of public projects from an informed position point of view based on participation in the project design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation through several meetings and fora in the wards.
- He derived the way forward opinions from the participants at the end of the session
General reactions from the participants
- Is buying baby items in the order of individual perception for gender [boys and girls wrong] an indication of social separation of roles in the society as perceived coerced or accepted as norms between men and women.
- That the behaviors between boys and girls are a genetic natural phenomenon and therefore a dictate from social environment of upbringing will not alter their inclinations and projections of their natural being.
- That generally the area on human rights are generally understood but an area like budgeting cycle and what skills and knowledge one requires in order to fully engage in budgeting processing and cycle seemed remote.
- Community members were unaware of their constitutional rights. Most participants lacked proper procedure of approaching their chief and know-how on the role of the chief. Generally the participants did not know their leaders especially the Ward Administrators and wanted to know their roles.