The Nairobi County Symposium on Gender Based Budgetting

Held at Shalom House  Dates: 25th – 26th June 2015

Attendants at the Symposium following proceedings closely.

Attendants at the Symposium following proceedings closely.

Day One: 25th June 2015

The symposium on Gender Responsive Budgeting was brought to order at 9.30am by Consolation East Africa (CEA) Executive Officer and a word of prayer by a pallotine brother from St Vincent Catholic Church and introduction of participants. CEA Executive Officer then shared with the participants that the symposium was aimed at bringing together various stakeholders; CSOs, Politicians, and Academia to discuss on effectiveness of county budgets in addressing gender issues, sharing experiences and proposing best practices. The symposium was a wrap up of a six months training on Gender Responsive Budgeting (GRB) that has been run in the six sub-counties of Nairobi County (Dagoretti North, Dagoretti South, Kasarani x 2, Makadara, Kibra x 2 and Kajiado North).

Gender Responsive Budgeting (GRB) is to bring gender perspective into economic governance by increasing the transparency of the budget processes and strengthening existing monitoring mechanisms to hold national actors accountable for their policy commitments to women.

CEA Executive Officer also shared the historical snap shots of CEA; as to when it was started, how and why, its vision, mission, objectives and activities that have been undertaken in form of trainings, symposiums and conferences both within and outside Nairobi County and outside Kenya. Also shared was CEA’s journey in GRB and how it got into contact with International Republican Institute (IRI) as a mentor. Challenges faced during CEA’s GRB journey such as; citizens less informed, leaders not willing to attend trainings and forums and if they attend, they withhold some of the most important information from the participants, participants arriving late, some could only attend just to be paid, unexpected increase of number of participants, wrong emphasis were given to CSOs as some leaders felt that citizens were being empowered to act against them or were more enlightened than them in terms of their rights.

The results of the trainings are also as follows; Women gaining the ability to prioritize their needs due to the fact that women’s needs are unique compared to those of men e.g. Health care for women is more demanding than that of men, like maternity for women, sanitary towels for girls, whereby some girls miss going to school due to lack of sanitary towels. In the development spheres, women’s participation in decision making positions is increasing. A number of participant have placed themselves in decision making positions such as: Land Rates Committee in Waithaka and National Aids Control Council, Gender Based Violence (GBV) Committee and Ward Development Fund (WDF) in Kitusuri, and District Advisory Committee in Dagoretti, Church Committee for the needy persons in Saika Church, Community Health Work (CHW) Commitee in Dagoretti, Youth Pioneer Committee in Kabiro, Ward Finance Committee in Ng’ando, Administration Police Officer strengthening relationship between the police and citizens and a representation in the Children’s’ Office and council of Kawangware. Most people now understand about the budget process and budget cycle, Government officials giving information on the available government services e.g.   some youths had no idea on the benefits allocated for them, such like further information on how to acquire youth funds and uwezo funds, also had no Idea on the ongoing youth empowerment program, the training helped Government officials on their performance contract when being appraised.

Women were also enlightened on the funds available for their projects. Effective issues for budgeting advocacy identified in Dagoretti, Kibra, Kasarani x 2 and Kajiado North (Ngong’) were as follows; Women need to be trained on business, construction of a gender response centre and hall, rescue centre, safe houses and homes for girls and boys among others issues of dire need to women, The ineffective implementation of affirmative action was also realized due to lack of a woman governor, senator and very few MCA’s and women representatives in both political and leadership positions, People have been able to relate with their public servants at a personal level, Ward Administrators shared the services that were on going and those in plan. Networking with the Ministry of Interior, Department of Children, Njiru Ward, Nairobi Women County Assembly Caucus, Feed the Children, Diakonia Institute, Caffaso House-Kamiti Prisons, Children of God Relief Institute-Nyumbani, Marengoni VCCT, Raha Kids and education centre, Maji Mazuri Children Centre, Koinonia Community, Bungoma County Assembly, Vihiga County Assembly, Marist International University College, Child I Foundation- Uganda, Kenya Society of Care leavers, Makerere University-Uganda, Friends of Children AIBI, International-Uganda

History of Gender Responsive Budgeting also shared gender implications not only as a concern of individual countries but also the world as a whole, the role played by Commonwealth Secretariat’s in encouraging member countries to mainstream gender concerns into macroeconomic policy as dating back to 1989. And that in 1995, realization of considerable differences in women and men’s access to opportunities to exert power over economic structures, governments worldwide made a commitment to promote women’s economic rights including access to employment and control of economic resources (Oyugi 2002). The 1995 Commonwealth Plan of Action on Gender and Development and the 2000-2005 update—Advancing the Commonwealth Agenda into the New Millennium—for instance calls for monitoring and analysis of the impacts of macroeconomic and economic reform policies on women and men, and the development of strategies, mechanisms and corrective measures to address gender imbalances in key areas.

Kenya is a signatory to various gender conventions and declarations, including the 1979 Convention on Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women, the 1980 Copenhagen World Conference that stressed the need for women to participate in the development process as both experts and beneficiaries, and the 1995 Beijing Platform for Action where affirmative action was identified as an indispensable strategy for gender Mainstreaming. So far, there is hardly any assessment that has been done on the implications of gender dimensions and how these relate to the overall objective of development and poverty alleviation in the Kenyan Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP).

According to the results of the 1999 population census, women in Kenya constitute a slightly higher proportion of the total population (50.1%) in comparison to men (49.9%). This trend is similar across the country except in Nairobi, Coast and Northern Eastern provinces probably due to more male urbanization compared to females.

Despite numerous policies since independence, poverty still remains widespread in Kenya, afflicting proportionately more women than men (Kimalu et al., 2002). The national poverty rate estimated at 52.3% in 1997 had increased to 56.8% by 2000 with wide regional disparities (Mwabu et al., 2002). The most affected provinces are Nyanza and North Eastern while the least affected province is Central . According to the 1997 Welfare Monitoring Survey, female heads constitute a higher proportion of the poor both in the rural (54.1% vis-à-vis 52.5% for male heads) and urban areas (63.0% vis-à-vis 45.9%). In general, the prevalence of poverty among female-headed households is relatively higher than male-headed, being slightly more severe for female-headed households.

Introduction to the Symposium

The main purpose of this symposium was to understand the gender responsive budgeting concept within Kenya, get to know whether gender mainstreaming capacity building impact gender responsiveness in organizations/institutions, analyze current gender policies with special respect to GRB, analyze the public budgeting processes with respect to gender, analyze the public and CSOs contribution to the budgeting processes with respect to gender, understand how the public finance works, get to know how social accountability tools are used to promote transparency and accountability, share experiences from counties, get to understand how the government is working to ensure gender responsive budgeting and formulate agenda for networking among GRB actors.

Gender Responsive Budgeting (GRB) looked at the fact that the Government needs to think about both gender and sex when making policies and allocating budgets to implement the policies. In respect of sex, government needs to ensure that policies and programmes are available and adequately financed to address the different biological needs of women and men, including childbearing for women. In respect of gender, government needs to have a vision of the type of roles, responsibilities, and relationships that it wants to see in the country for women and men, girls and boys, and design, fund and implement policies and programmes to move towards this goal.

It was also found that gender responsive budgeting is the most important policy instrument of government because no other policy can work without money. As such, the government budget can be a powerful tool in transforming our country and that achievement of human development is heavily dependent on the development and empowerment

Discrimination faced by girls and women through the life cycle at conception, infant, child, adolescent, adult woman (worker, wife and an old woman) compared the their male counterparts, purpose of GRB was also looked at and importance of GRB and why GRB focuses on women as follows; Nearly two thirds of the illiterate people in the world are women; In developing countries, maternal mortality continues to be a leading cause of death for women of reproductive age; Women are under-represented in decision-making in both government and business sectors, especially at senior levels, Women’s ‘economic’ work continues to be very different in nature from men’s as they are engaged in less formal, lower status types of work and continue to receive less pay than men for the same work, and women also continue to do most of the unpaid work of bearing, rearing and caring for children and other citizens.

During this discussion, the case of Kenya Peace Network (KPN) on Gender mainstreaming was shared of which a number of staffs, beneficiaries and other stakeholders benefited so much. The push for this training also emanated from the fact that women were underrepresented in the political leadership positions. A live example was the absence of a woman governor and senator in the whole of Kenya, while in Nairobi County there were only four (4) elected women MCAs that could not bring any change when it comes to issues of decision or influencing policies. Obstacles against gender mainstreaming were also identified as misconstruction/misapplication as well as ways to address the same and what an efficient gender mainstreaming involves.

Reactions

Dr. Francis Kuria (Director) of the Inter-Religious Council of Kenya (IRCK) said a research was conducted by IRCK, findings were that there were schools where all teachers were women, suggesting that when discussing about gender we should be very observant. He also said that men are at a difficult position to discuss about issues of dowry with their wives and that the fact that dowry is paid, puts the woman in a lesser position. He also said that change could only be through the society structures where they developed i.e. Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), Circumcision which has taken long with lots of challenges to be stopped.

Dr. Kuria said that there has been a tendancy in the Kenyan Government putting everything that happens in the curriculum, such like post election violence, HIV among others, thus overloading the students with lots of Books and overstuffing their brains, the case has led IRCK into doing a study on the same. Another example was the male circumcision in Nyanza which was adopted once the community saw an opinion leader accept it. The participants said that the only way was endorsement of gender roles, and that issues affecting communities can never be solved through the curriculum example, gender mainstreaming and comprehensive sex education.

Policy Analysis

Policy Analysis session was facilitated by Mr. Pius Muriithi who introduced the participants to the analysis of the current gender policies with special respect to GRB. Introducing the topic he defined the word policy analysis, elements needed to form a network, responsibility of the CSOs in championing GRB to be actualized at the grassroots level. He also urged the participants that there is need to know the constitution, because it defines who we are, and that it is also a promise to us. Through a diagram, he explained the policy formulation process, which constituted of agenda settings where citizen are allowed/ has a chance to contribute their views to the Committee of the parliament, then to the entire parliament and finally back to the ministry. Citing a chapter from the constitution, he talked on the rights of the child.

About agenda setting, he mentioned that it is too expensive to carry out a research on the process. He further touched on the policy issues, which are not up to date, and are a harzard to the environment, thus the construction policies are not in order. He also talked about policy options, asking the participants whether policy making is the function of the government, or is it best when left to individuals. Giving a number of tips for making the policy option realistic, he narrated the Nyumba kumi initiative.

Pius also asked the participants what advocacy is. Defining advocacy, he talked on how one can develop a strong successful advocacy activity; and thus one has to understand it fully, clarity of issues, information dissemination, advocacy networks and that successful advocacy needs. He also mentioned the elements needed to maintain a network. This session brought out some issues of advocacy such as; incinerators to destroy the used sanitary towels by the girls in school to reduce toilet digging all the time, where to report gaps realized in budgets or cases where public views are not reflected in the budgets, need to be in contact with appropriations bill, petitioning of the government and the needs, need of publication of citizen budget participation and issue of mobilization by chiefs and MCAs as a challenge.

Answering some of the participants questions on the policy making process, where a citizen can only participate in the grassroots level, but when it comes to the parliament level one cannot be able to participate. This elicited another debate that in some areas, MCAs do not want the citizen to participate because they will know more than them. Another challenge is incentives to participants, No public Participation Act, however there is a draft bill that has been shared with county government for further discussion, Right to access information is still a problem. The only Counties that has enacted citizen participation act is Makueni, Mombasa, Nyeri and Busia that has a bill to help establish villages. Nairobi County has the bill, however, it is not in the public and that the public should demand for its enactment.

Analysis of the public budgeting processes and budgets with respect to gender and Analysis of the public and CSOs contribution to the budgeting processes with respect to gender session was facilitated by Joyce Wangari from the International Republican Institute (IRI). This was started by a brief introduction of IRI as an NGO with its headquarters based in Washington DC, and that they are the representatives in Africa based in Kenya where it offices were opened in 1992. After the outcomes of the post election violence they had an intervention targeting women and children, of which they saw a need to empower women. IRI also does civic education by training CSOs and MCAs. GRB being the biggest campaign targeting women at the grassroots, suggesting involvement of men too and engaging the county government.

She shared that there is already formed CSOs Caucuses that play a major role on gender policy formulation as per the constitution and legal provision on GRB, states that all have the right to equal treatment. Public Finance Management Act has a special provision that supports GRB which is reflected in section 128 (3).

She asked the participants whether there is anyone who has ever participated in the budget making process, suggesting that it is important for any citizen, to know when , where and how and looking before analyzing the budget.

It also came out clearly from this session that citizens want the government to be near them, need for citizens to know the role of the county government and citizen participation in budget making process. Giving an example of Busia County which is one of the successful counties to implement citizen participation. There is also the need to conduct a local referendum on the GRB initiatives and achievements.

IRI’s Journey in GRB

IRI has been able to reach various counties through trainings to women, of who have been able to take step further and train other women. Such forums also looked at issues which affect women at the County level. And through this, they have been able to meet their leaders too and get help. Also through the same forums, the women have been able to see other end of life and needs which must be fulfilled, for example the Bungoma County women CSOs caucus for this matter decided to save their lunch money, thus stay without taking lunch, just to fulfill their developmental issues. In Baringo the women started the Shillingi Mashinani, which they used to lobby for ambulances, rin Isiolo the women asked for funds and ended up being much stronger.

Reactions from participant

Considering the culture and issues of gender equality the question that emanated was whether the boy child has been considered in the analysis of the budgets.

IRI presenter further shared with the participants the best practices and lessons learnt and that GRB has proved to be more successful in most of the counties. IRI has also successfully conducted Training of Trainers (TOT) sessions, held public forums to enhance the impact of GRB in counties. The presenter further urged both stakeholders to take ownership, always review budgeting dates, evaluate and record dates to know when the budget cycle starts. The session was opened for a discussion and some of the participants asked about the sanitary towels which are on demand but their disposal remains a question due to frequency of latrines being full in schools, there should be a way to dispose them, instead of using latrines and thus need for solutions for the consequences that come with the policies.

Government’s (national and counties) role in ensuring gender responsive budgeting and in particular the effort by CORD Coalition as a political party in reducing gender inequalities and enhancing women rights was presented by Dr. Noah Akala the secretary for science technology and also a personal assistant to Hon.Raila Odinga who focused on the issues of GRB. The Dr. shared that CORD has made effort in involving majority of women in developmental and agricultural sector while partnering with their male counterparts in economic benefits on agriculture, citing some of wise expressions, saying that unless you have a seat on the table you won’t be able to eat and that unless you are there you will not be able to know what is there. He gave an example of the first Luo woman Phoebe Asiyo from Karachuonyo-Homa Bay-Nyanza who was in politics. He presented the fact that women faced a lot of challenges when competing for political posts. Therefore there is a great need to take action in achieving an affirmative action in women representation. He said that presently there are still a few women Members of parliament. However, women need to be supported so as to be able to move forward to fulfilling their dreams.

He said that in 2012 the Attorney General ruled in the court promising to meet the criteria of balancing gender in politics by 2013, as per the people suggestion after calculating as to how many women were needed in the parliament. There is a tendency that incase a woman contests in the area where it is not her origin, she will probably not win the seat or get hardship, the same happened in Kisumu that a woman contested there, and just because she does not originate from the area she ended up losing the ticket.

Dr. Akala said that we should adopt the formula of counting how many seats does the parliament contain, and that how many are occupied by women. He said that if we get enough women contesting in the county level, then in the future we will have women in the national level. CORD Coalition will be doing grassroots election from July 2015, reserve seats for the party, women chosen both at the National, County and grassroots level July 31st.

CORD Coalition has started preparing the ground for women prior to 2017 elections so as they may get right women leaders, though there will be a voting style whereby if there breaks violence or irregularities in time of election, the election will have to be repeated until the right decision is reached in a peaceful manner, this version will only be applied to women contesters.

Thank you for the report. Please make a change in the report. Knchr is not a NGO. Its a constitutional commission. Secondly, I meant that there is an assumption that human right workers know about gender or that gender is included in human rights work. However that is a wrong assumption. That is why gender mainstreaming is important. I will be able to support you in your meeting on 31st

The Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) presenter Madam Lucy Minayo facilitated how her office enhances Gender Responsive Budgeting (GRB), acknowledging Dr. Akalla for key note speech on women‘s existence as a target on political engagement . She said that the only way to realize sustainable development is through GRB. She gave a brief description of the KNCHR as constitutional commission that was established under Article 159 of the Kenyan constitution, She mentioned parts in the Country where KNCHR is working and that they have realized the reality of needs between both women and men in different counties, in this case they have so far trained women in most parts of the country on Human Rights Based Approach (HRBA), Gender Mainstreaming and Gender Responsive Budgeting (GRB) as per article 2 (3) on the Government’s commitment to achieving gender equality. She added that her organization thought that in case they include the rights based approach in budgeting then their target will be reached.

KNCHR has a program dedicated to economic, social and cultural rights, where most people are vulnerable, to ensure that the state hasn’t displaced other groups in achieving their rights. Focusing on Dr. Akalla’s 2/3 gender rule, she supported the idea of the counting of the parliament seats formula so as to know how many seats have been occupied by women and how many by men. She also shared that there has been an assumption that human right workers know about gender or that gender is included in human rights work. However, that is a wrong assumption and that is why gender mainstreaming is important. She also shared that KNCHR has a desk at Huduma Centre and they plan to have the same in all other major cities.

Madam Lucy Minayo of the KNCHR congratulated the symposium as a family target, and that it has been five years since the implementation of the new constitution.

Tebby Otieno from Mtaani Radio 99.9 FM presented on the role of media in promoting dialogues on gender responsive budgeting and women rights. She shared on the programmes she handles on women. Giving an example of a lady she had hosted in her programs who had talked about her life story. And that she always focuses on the way of life that can help each other in the community, she requested that incase one brings an issue; the other has the solution they bring up to the problem and come to a conclusion together.

Talking about promoting women rights and use of media to further the Gender Responsive Budgeting (GRB) agenda, women rights and Gender Based Violence (GBV). Interviews have been conducted with women such as Millicent of Consolation East Africa talking on GBV, Mary Ndung’u of issues affecting street children, Lilian Achieng talking of Child Education and rights among many others. Mtaani Radio discusses on problems to get solutions as well as getting information from GRB forums and disseminating the same to the public

DAY 2

Day two of the symposium was started with a recap from the previous day’s sessions which was led by Millicent. This explored on issues of gender and sex, need for couples to share their property details with spouses, gender mainstreaming, the involvement of women in policy making level, encouraging women to raise issues concerning gender, roles of county government and creating working group are some of the issues that emerged, men are becoming endangered species in central Kenya and need to harmonize culture and the constitution..

Public Finance was facilitated by Stephen Kaka from Consolation East Africa (CEA). He involved the participants by asking what Public Finance is. Where the government gets its money? From the different responses he got answers such as the management of money among others. Reflecting on IRI talk on public finance management issues, he said, that money is a resource – and that it is a natural and a just resource. He talked about physical infrastructure, whereby one has to understand the project on their area and the national budget making process, also have at hand the guide of the budget making process, and know at what point a citizen can be able to come.

Kaka also talked on borrowing, grants, Aids and Taxes. Asking whether Kenyans tax is ploughed back to the community and whether people benefits from it? Citing an example, he used Muthaiga and Dandora, or rather Kibra to find out who enjoyed/benefited from their taxes. Giving an example of china’s business interest to Kenya, he concluded that there exists no friendship between Nations, but interests.

He also talked on Fee and Levies, saying that Taxes in Kenya are allocated by KRA. Which collects main taxes, customs and exercise, income tax, Value added tax (VAT), and motor vehicle road licenses and driving licenses, it may also collect any other taxes assigned to it by the government. And that in 1995 KRA was formed by the Act of parliament under cap 469 of the law of Kenya. The authority has the responsibility of assessing, collecting and accounting for the taxes it collects. However, the area that remained unclearly answered was who audited KRA as an institution and Itax registration still remained a nightmare for a number of people.

Josephat commented on the issue that KARDS in collaboration with CEA should make an effort and help the community to know about the ITax. Advising participants that it was of much importance to know more about Itax, because currently, one has to get a tax compliance certificate so as to be able to secure a job in Kenya.

Mr. Pius Mriithi from Koinonia Advisory Research and Development Service (KARDS) facilitated on Social accountability tools to promote Transparency and accountability. He started with the recap from the previous day’s topic on ‘policy analysis’ He later introduced Governance, by giving the objectives of the topic where he defined good governance , discussion on the fundamental principles, indicators and characteristics, Identify the key agents and their roles in good governance, Explained the link between good governance and social accountability and introduced key social accountability tools.

A discussion heated on the issue of the way today mwananchi is living and getting their services, suggesting that it is not as before , that there are those with powers and able to change and raise prices of food stuffs and products as they wish. This called on the civil society to help make sure the government is providing the rights for the citizens. By use of a diagram Pius explained the societal structure as un ending relation between the State, the Civil Society, and the Market, and that good governance is when this relationship is balanced.

He also focused on the Role of Government in social Accountability and that this is a joint effort of the government, civil society and the citizens.

 

 

 

 

Way Forward

The participants identified areas of focus as;

  • Networking (forming working groups) i.e. on whats-app, facebook, twitter and so on
  • Identify key stakeholders on GRB (MCAs, Executives, Gender Commissions, KNCHR, political parties)
  • Define clearly what participation is and push for public participation in Nairobi County
  • Making a level playground for female political aspirants
  • Capacity building on Social accountability
  • Capacity building for women aspirants (Policy Analysis, Lobby and Advocacy, Gender Analysis and Mainstreaming and Public Finance)
  • A deeper understanding of gender guidelines by NGEC
  • Sensitization of communities on GRB guidelines
  • Follow up on funds for women representatives to promote gender issues

The Human Rights Based Approach in Kibra

Facilitator Daniel Orogo educating the Kibra Community on Human Rights Based Approach

Facilitator Daniel Orogo educating the Kibra Community on Human Rights Based Approach

Human Rights Based Approach is aimed at strengthening Governance and CSOs, empowering people to know and claim their rights and increasing the ability and accountability of individuals and institutions that are responsible for respecting, protecting and fulfilling rights.

The training began with a Praise song led by Millicent, and a word of prayer from a participant.

Daniel introduced the training, by giving participants a chance to introduce themselves, Daniel           further led the introduction of the training, by letting participants mention their expectations of which were;

  • To know about their rights as Kenyans
  • Importance of human rights.
  • What to do when your rights are violated,
  • Characteristics of human rights,
  • History of human rights
  • Rights for men
  • Governance

The participants were also given the chance to contribute to the norms and guidelines of the training;

  • Avoid unnecessary movements
  • Phones on silent/vibration mode
  • Respect each other’s opinion
  • Do not talk when another person is talking/raise hands

Millicent took the chance to introduce the organization, she further shared with the participants the work of Consolation East Africa, how and why the organization was formed, and the reason as to why CEA is training the community.

She also introduced Koinonia Advisory Research and Development Service (KARDS) as the mother of CEA. She mentioned that KARDS conducts Trainings Research and Consultancy which are income generating activities and more of business oriented for the sustenance of the organization. KARDS and CEA staffs were also given a chance to introduce themselves.

Introduction of the Training and Welcoming Remarks

Mr. Daniel Orogo of Lang’ata Youth Network who was also the host, led participants on the first session which was an introduction of the training. Asking the participants to name some of the rights they know, participants mentioned some, which were right to; Security, Affordable /available health care, Education and the availability of enough public schools.

By helping the participants to see the reality as true or not that their rights and those of the citizens in Kibra are being considered and looked at, asking the participants as to how many public schools are there in Kibra, participants mentioned some of them, whereby they all came to a conclusion that there exists no more free education nowadays in public schools. Schools in Kibra were identified as follows;

Woodley Ward – 3 schools

Makina Ward – 3 schools

Sarang’ombe Ward – 2 schools (host)

Lindi Ward – No school

Laini Saba Ward – No school

The participants said that quality and affordable education is still not in Kibra. Daniel asked the participants as whether they know about or have ever read the “2010 constitution”, where most had a negative answer that none had ever read the new Constitution, with a reason that the Constitution book is so big for them and this makes a housewife not able to read due to family burden, and that they would prefer a summarized Constitution booklet.

The participants also posed a question in respect to their Right to life as stated; they use to be given food through the chiefs office which they do not really know what happened and needed an answer from their leaders. Another issue was proper housing and shelter. The participants showed concern on houses that do not have toilets, water and electricity. This session was closed by the participants being informed that they can write petitions and demand for transfers of non-performing leaders. This session also ignited the participant’s urge of meeting the Kilimani Officer in Charge of Station (OCS) in successive meetings.

Another area of concern was youth unemployment for both informal and formal youths, need for vocational computer and community hall using the CDF and Ward Development Fund. Youths and women do not participate in the meetings and lack of information.

Awareness on available Government Services and Government- Public conversational Forum

Government Leaders’/Representatives’ Speech and Participants’ Views

The Ward Administrator from Makina Ward (Grace Kariuki) addressed the participants mostly on issues concerning good neighborhood, and that as people who want to live in peace and have development we should be ready to group up and think of development, giving example of groups in Kibra which have since been successful by starting with as little contributions as ten shillings. She further advised participants to be helping each other in security matters, it will be wise if one has an idea of who terrorizes people in the area, as hiding them because they are our sons and daughters won’t help because we will end up hiding each other and the problems will never get solved.

The District Youth Officer from Lang’ata Sub-county Madam Elector Opar enlightened the Participants on Uwezo Fund, Youth Fund, Kenya Youth Empowerment Project (KYEP) in collaboration with Kenya Private Sectors Association (KEPSA). These were some of the services that were available for the youth from the government.

The Youth Officer also asked the participants whether they understood the services of the NYS, and that Kibra people should change their attitudes, giving an example of the former president’s sister who was making kiondos to make a living out of the business which was a success, and not once did she depend on her brother who was the president then. She further quoted that “Dependence is a syndrome” saying that the Kibra people should be sensitive on each other’s life. Giving the participants a chance to say their minds. She further told the participants about the Uwezo fund and the important requirements to the services, urging the youth to involve themselves in table banking, so as to be able to pay back the borrowed funds. She further advised the youth to take a business planning course, which the Government does offer too, suggesting that it was not a good time for the youth to wait aiming to act some other time, advising them that the right time to act was now, and that they should access public funds, now that they know their rights.

Millicent asked her to also tell the youths about KYEP and KEPSA, where she said the program was coming to an end though the government is trying to push it forward, she further explained to the participants the requirements for KYEP on matters of age and education, saying that during this formation and attachment in KYEP there are some stipend one gets while applying the skills they have learned, although in the beginning of the training on is offered transport, and that the program has been running in Kisumu, Nairobi and at the Coast. She also informed the youths that the problem cannot absorb all the youths. The Identification Registration Officer Mr. Kennedy Ong’ola also told the participant’s about the National Registration Bureau and the important requirements that could enable the youths get the National Identity Card, saying that a visitor gets only a permit, which can be after sometimes be converted to the National ID, but after a long and a careful investigation on the visitor’s conduct, so as to avoid registering wrong people as citizens. Participants were also enlightened on the importance of ID as follows;

  • Security
  • Businesses
  • Expression of rights

He further alerted the participants that the government changed the look of the ID, because in River Road there are those who do forge the older version of the ID easily making it for Aliens, and that the new is loaded with invisible chips inside.

He also further explained as to why the Nubians have a different way of acquiring an ID, where the community have to give a proof on whose child it is in writting.

The Ward Administrator of Sarang’ombe Mr. Daniel Asiko addressed the participants on issues of street children, Bombolulu Road, ECD facility and women groups linked to families. He also enlightened the participants of the Ward Administrators as coordinating projects. The Ward Administrator also posed a concern that there was public budgeting meeting but public representation lacked. He also told the public that county activities were not moving on well due to lack of enough funds and workers inherited from the former city council. He also said that the formed groups need to be registered under county at 1,000/= The participants asked the ward administrator Sarang’ombe how they will be able to get bursaries, he advised them on which places they can easily access the service. However, he also told the participants that it was unfortunate that the bursaries are being used as a political tool (being a privilege)

He talked much on development, talking about the road project that has been going on for some time. He sensitized youths on those who use the corrupt means to register youth for NYS.

The Chief Sarang’ombe Mr. Danvas Mogire took the floor to address the participants, he talked on the topic of Human Rights that CEA was presenting that it would be better when Organizations are presenting such topics, the (chiefs and police) should also be present so as they too may know what is being taught, and that not to be surprised by citizens in their offices demanding their rights which they may not understand, also to avoid the conflict between citizens and leaders.

The chief advised the participants to report any cases of insecurity to his office, and those interested to be elders or help in case of anything can also show their interest in his office for vetting. He added that people should know who their neighbors are.

Millicent raised the issue of neighborhood which is becoming hard such that other neighbors are so much on their own and so much mysterious, and not ready to cooperate with others.

Participants also complained of those people who have surrounded the chief’s compound claiming to be chief’s right hand men, making citizens afraid of approaching chief’s office.

The chief answered the participants, saying those people have no business with the chief’s office, and that they are just doing their business of selling sodas. He also added that they have been able to train 3 people (2 boys and 1 girl) have undergone nyumba kumi training who will be training the community on the same issues and that the community is already divided into zones (clusters). Lastly, he thanked CEA for empowering the people of Sarangombe. On issues of security, the chief told the participants that this was not yet devolved and is still at National government. He also talked of the two approaches to Nyumba kumi which are; Residents Association which is a policy and gradual development. In respect to Nyumba Kumi, out of 148 chiefs (locations), good practice of Nyumba Kumi was from Sarang’ombe. He lastly urged those who do not pay rent to pay and not to abuse landlords.

Lilian from Sauti ya Jamii who was invited to the training by Lang’ata Youth Network leader Daniel Orogo, talked about the East African Community which is in process to be revived, that it has a strategic plan mostly for youths, Administration wise and Business wise, adding that soon Sauti ya Jamii will start sensitizing the communities about the coming East African Community, especially on education sector.

Introduction to HRBA

After lunch break, Millicent took the participants through the topic on Gender and Human Rights, although most of CEA‘s presentation time became so minimum due to the time taken for leaders to address the participants.

Talking about women’s rights, she involved the participants to say some of the rights that women in Kenya are provided for. Participants mentioned several, such as the right to own land among others. She also asked on specific rights of both men and women, answers were given such as; freedom of movement, equality and freedom from discrimination, right to family etc.

She further talked about children right, warning on those Nairobians, who are used to taking young children from upcountry turning them to house maids, saying that this is child labor at the same time human trafficking and the law was already passed and the people of the kind be ready for the consequences (I million fine or 10 years in prison)

Talking about specific gains for youths, saying youths need to be empowered, and also they need trainings, to make them ready for the future.

Independent Electoral Board Commission

The IEBC Coordinator Kibra, Madam Jane addressed the participants, reminding them on the importance of registering as a voter early. She told the youths that it is important for them to start now because it is them that are targeted as new voters.

She responded to questions from participants, on issue about electronics failure from the past 2013 elections, which she answered saying that although there was problems in most parts in the country, but IEBC, was quick to rectify and switched to the previous way of handling votes. And that nowadays, the system is more advanced such that, when a citizen votes the results are quickly shown on the wall, such that it will not take days to count votes.

Classification of human rights

Bridged was next with classification of human rights, On a quick overview she started with classification of Human rights which were in three generations that is; Civil and Political rights as the first generation, where as this group constitutes of personal rights and the right to political participation among others, Social, Economic and Cultural rights that is the second generation rights, this constitutes right to family life, freedom to form association, freedom of press among others and the collective or group rights as the third generation, which constitutes the rights of minorities right to development, rights that caters towards organizational persons, trade association, political parties among other rights.

She also focused on International human rights instruments saying that the constitution provides that any treaty that is lawful agreed by Kenya shall form part of the Kenyan law (Article 2 (6)) which is significant to development and implementation of the human rights regime in Kenya. Lastly she taught the participants on African regional human rights instruments which is recognized of its collective rights, laying special emphasis on the rights and duties of children and the family, the community, the society and the nation, mentioning on areas which The African Regional Human Rights recognizes such like the third generation rights, mainly the right to peace, solidarity, a healthy environment and development.

On the topic of bills of rights the participants requested on doing self research , due to time management.

Human right commission

Kaka was next with the topic on ‘the role of Human right commission,

Mentioning some of the roles that a citizen should obey such like;

-Pay tax

-To obey laws of Kenya

-Respect and promote the dignity and rights of other persons.

-To promote the values and the principles at the constitution

-Cooperate with the state organ.

The time was so limited such that, it was agreed that each facilitator will have to brief their presentation.

 

The following Information was derived from Participants’ Registration Forms

Area of Interest

  • Classification of human rights
  • International human rights
  • Assessing the role of individual and the state
  • Safety and security in relation to human rights
  • Importance of human rights
  • Engage Government through dialogue
  • Definition of human rights
  • Historical Development of human rights
  • Bill of rights and the Kenyan Constitution

Definition of human rights, Characteristics of human rights, importance of human rights, Historical development of human rights, Classification of human rights, international human rights, Bill of rights and the Kenyan constitution, Assessing the role of individual and the state.

Expectations of participants

  • To know more about my rights
  • To acquire knowledge
  • To know about HRBA, and socialize
  • Expansion of skills, knowledge, ability and motivational Mechanisms
  • To make the society a better place for the future
  • Activity create awareness on rights

Way forward

  • All women in the forum to be aware of their rights
  • To be trained as T.O.T so that I can empower the community
  • To know the importance of human rights
  • To know more of both men and children rights
  • To know my rights as a Kenyan
  • To understand the bill of rights and to approach well human rights needs
  • I expect to be enlightened about my rights to my satisfaction
  • To know where to go when my rights are violated
  • To have full information on human rights and participate in preserving it.
  • Acquire an understanding of human rights and how to apply it in our community
  • Engaging with the target group

Gender Responsive Budgetting in Makadara Sub-County

Makadara women following the proceedings of the workshop

Makadara women following the proceedings of the workshop

Introduction

Participants were introduced to CEA and its work, mentioning also some of the counties where CEA has been able to conduct GRB trainings. Also mentioned was that, CEA will be hosting a GRB Conference on 25th – 26th June 2015 at Shalom House, Off Ngong’ Road, St. Daniel Comboni Road.

Introduction to GRB

GRB is about government planning, programming and budgeting that contributes to the advancement of gender equality and the fulfillment of women rights. The objective of this training is to;

See increased participation of women in public budgeting processes, Train both men and women on public Finance, Access and availing information on the budgeting structure and processes, Study together the actual budgets, participate in the public budgetary scrutiny meetings, push the involvement of gender responsive people in the budget committee, Motivate those formed from different counties to be able to attend the budgetary sessions in the county assembly sittings among others.

Millicent asked the participants as to why MCAs or County Administrators were nowhere to be seen at the training even though they know the existence of the training very well, as they were also invited too, the reasons being that these leaders are not ready to tell the citizens the truth.

Introducing GRB Millicent told the participants the reasons as to why there is a great need for GRB, giving examples of the different needs that women have, of which are completely different from those of men, and that women needs are mostly based on general care but that of men are general and differs completely from those of women.

She told them of their rights and that they should not go so low with their leaders, they should always be on the ready informed side as to which type of work their leaders have. And at the same time they should be able to know their rights, and have the freedom to choose which type of projects they want to develop for developmental purposes.

Asking the participants as whether any of them knows about the money that comes to the counties is theirs and that is for developmental purposes. She involved the participants by asking them to mention types of funds they know so far, some answered mentioning the types of funds such as uwezo Fund, O.V.C among others.

She went further giving the definition of GRB, and its purposes, relating the topic to women posts, she asked the participants as to whether there are enough women governors as men governors, that there seems to lack of power balancing, she argued the women that they should not always wait to be given , that they should try to elect their MCAs, not waiting for women to be just nominated.

She went further asking youths as to whether there are those who knew the existence of the youth empowerment programmes, whereby one participant responded by the show of his hand, she encouraged him to help other youths to know about the project and as to when it begins by getting more information from the youth office. Giving them an example that even those MCAs stated from somewhere, not from the house to the leadership, That they should have the tendency of closing themselves inside their houses. And if there is a way one can help the other let them do so, and not help by a show off.

Whenever one wants to engage in GRB, one should be also in social responsibility activities, thus giving back to the society.

She taught the participants on the approaches to GRB, such like they should be able to identify communal problems, among others.

Millicent advised the participants on making use of their resources, and also to learn on works like recycling of waste, to be able to start profitable projects.

She also talked on the issue of health and dieting. That they should increase understanding among themselves, forming working groups, attending ward meetings and chief barazas. That they should know how to compare the benefits they get between being taught & being   given. She informed them on the importance of attending meetings that are summoned by the leaders.

That they should be motivating each other, they should be able to do follow ups on projects implemented. Millicent told the participants that those who will attend this training and other coming trainings will be adjoined with their leaders so as they can get the chance to work together and have forums.

Fiona facilitated on the discussion topic; ‘As to why women do not participate in political leadership’, where most participants gave their opinions such as;

Women do not love each other, jealousy among women

Women are being pinned down by husbands and society, being taken as just house wife material, being dominated by culture.

Women have all the priority to be leaders, but they fail to come out in the public to be heard.

Giving an example of herself Fiona said that she is not ready to be pinned down, whenever she is chasing after her rights and those of her people, and that there is a time she had posted a suggestion on the face book to the county administrator, that she would wants to start and a social audit team for their ward, but immediately the suggestion was erased, but she did not give up, advising women not to be afraid of the obstacles that are standing their way.

A participant also contributed, saying that as citizens we should not rely on money, because use of money in politics does not help one to know whether a leader is capable of making projects grow/successful, that is why when we choose a leader because of his/her pockets and at the end of the day projects remain stagnant.

Fiona advised participants on forming groups, giving an example of herself, that she is enrolled in different groups, and that she participates fully in those groups, and now she is forming a social auditing group for the youth of Mbotela, which will be involved in doing social auditing.

Also she touched on the issue of bursary, and that there are those who are given the responsibility to make sure the poor families get the bursary funds for their children, but instead they end up selling those forms to the rich, saying that those who also do buy the bursary and the sellers are all corrupt.

Some of participants said their complains on the issue of election, that in Makadara there are those people who monitors others lives, for example if one has been registered as a voter out of the county they already know and that after elections those who voted out of the county are being discriminated and that not given priority in developmental functions of the county, the same applies to those who supported a different contestant other than the winner.

The Chief of Mbotela was next, he commended on those who participated in the community forum, also talking about the bursary issue, advising the participants that it is not good for those who engage in such trade. At the same time a participant commented on Chief’s former work of distributing bursaries, and that those times they never experienced corruption, bursaries were distributed without favor.

The chief also commended on the rising cases between couples, which he receives in his office almost daily, asking the participants that they should try to be true to their marriages, and that youths should respect their parents.

Kaka facilitated on the budget cycles, asking the participants on the examples of budgets that they make in their homes, most participants mentioning on the necessary things that they include in their monthly budgets at their homes.

Introducing the national budget cycle telling the participants that it is   their right to participate in the budget making process, and that the money used is the citizens’ own tax that is derived in different ways.

Kaka informed the participants on the important dates as to when the county budget making process starts, and when is the right time when they are supposed to engage into.

A participant contributed on the ignorance of the government, that whenever there is a call for a proposal, a citizen uses his own money, and in the end when the proposal goes through, the names of the developer are changed, putting someone else to be the developer of the same proposal, thus directing the benefits to someone else.

Another participant said that they are lacking funds which they need to help them participate in the budget making process.

Kaka talked further on the dates of the budget making process, and that 1st September Counties prepares and table county development plan, by then views of the public must be included in the budget.

By January the County Revenue Authority must submit the plans and views, by 15th February cabinet seat for a final submission of the budget statement to the parliament. By 1st march budget policy statement to be availed to the public.

Bridget facilitated on the social audit, telling the participants the meaning of social audit, and the purpose as to why the citizens need to social audit, she involved the participants by asking them as to how the public funds is derived, they responded to the questions, by saying that it is derived from tax payers’ money, which is paid in different ways such as PAYE, Licenses among others. With the help of an example of a cooking pot containing the tax payers’ money and that they should imagine all the taxes that are being paid by the citizens through tax enters into that pot , making the participants understand clearly as to why the public funds belongs to them.

She also told the participants that they have every right to participate in social auditing, but only that one has to be present at the budget making process, they should also form groups, because voices of many can be easily heard than that of an individual.

Informing them that they also have the right to report seeking for justice whenever projects are incomplete or well done   as planed when social auditing. For example by taking the matter to Anti –Corruption Unit.

Millicent led the participants to the way forward; And each participant said their intent after the training, such like:

Attend Barazas

Always to be alert to public information

To train Community on what learned from the training

Giving awareness to the community

To follow up on projects

To participate on governmental conversational forums

Help women to accept themselves

Encourage women to support each other

To put what is learned to practice

To socialize in the community development practices

To bring communities together

To speak in one voice as a community.

To know GRB in fully

Millicent informed the participants on the HRBA, and that we can bring them the training in case they are ready to. At the closing session two participants were given a chance to address the others and to give a closing remark for the training. The training ended successful with a word of prayer from a participant.

Children Rights and the Kenyan Constitution

This is the text of the speech delivered by Prof. Yash Pal Gai on the day of Street Children Celebrations 12th April 2015

Prof. Yash Pal Gai at the Street Children Day Celebrations where he delivered this speech.

Prof. Yash Pal Gai at the Street Children Day Celebrations where he delivered this speech.

The longest chapter of our constitution is about people’s rights. And children have rights too. Infact the constitution says that no one is to be discriminated because of age. This means that no one can say “because you are a child, you have no rights.”

So if you read what the rights are you will find that as a child you are supposed to enjoy most of the same rights as adults. There are just two rights that are clearly not applicable to a child: a child does not have the right to vote and the right to marry. The first one is intended to ensure that before you vote you have some understanding of what politics, elections and decision making are all about. The second one protects children against forced into marriage when they are to young and when they should be in school.

So children have the right to express their opinions, to practice their religion, to health, housing, food and water. They also have a right to privacy and have their dignity respected. But of course, how much rights they have in exercising their rights depends on how old they are. A child of five years will have much less rights in choosing where to go and what to say than a child who is nearly an adult. Children need guidance from parents, teachers and others in society. The purpose of this guidance is to ensure that the child is not harmed because of lack of knowledge or experience and when a child grows up, he or she is prepared to act as a responsible adult because of the wise guidance he or she received when younger. As the child grows and learns the guidance will become less firm, leaving the child to learn, including sometimes through their own mistakes.

The constitution also has a special article on children. It makes some important statements emphasizing that children have rights. One important point is that children have the right to education that is free and compulsory. This is not to punish children but to prevent their parents or others from keeping them out of school. And it also speaks about children who get in the wrong side of the law – saying that they should be detained for as short time as possible, and should not be detained along with adults. This is to protect them from harm and from being educated into crime.

This article ends by saying that the interest of the child are of paramount importance. This means that they are most important. It however does not mean that whatever the child wants must always be done. Other people have rights too including parents and teachers and these cannot be ignored. But what is best for the child must always be in the front of the mind of the officials, the courts, the teachers etc.  especially on occasions when they have to decide something that affects the child.

Our country Kenya has also accepted an international agreement known as the Convention of the Rights of the Child and this is part of the Kenyan Law too. It adds that children have the right to play, to rest and be creative. Children need to understand and adults need to understand as well about two important things about rights. The first is that our rights can be limited. On this I have explained how some of a child’s rights will be limited when they are too young to be able to make their own decisions. Adults too must recognize that their rights too may be limited, sometimes in their own interest and sometimes in the general interest of other people.

You as a child therefore has rights, but equally everyone else has rights too. It makes no sense to insist on your rights if you are not prepared to respect and if necessary to protect the rights of others; adults as well as children.

Having spoken, about the rights of children, I also recognize that not all children are able to enjoy their rights in the same way. Many children in the informal settlements of Nairobi inter alia Mathare, Kibera and Kawangware do not at all enjoy most of their rights. There is a great deal of difference from these children and those living in better off conditions. While others may access better educational facilities, are driven with family cars, have a servant, eat three meals and additional snacks a day, have expensive and unimaginable toys, and probably have a bicycle, a room to themselves where they sleep in comfortable beds, and go for holidays at times at the coast or countries abroad.All these is extremely unfair and in a sense goes against our constitution which wants all children to have equal opportunities.

It is my hope that the lives of the informal settlement children will improve. That they will also go to good schools and that they will have books to read. They will access toys to play with and access regular and healthy food. They will also have the joy of living together with their parents and giving up sniffing glue. They will instead enjoy sporting, reading and being with their families.

The constitution gives the people (including children) the right to petition the government about the difficulties they face and denied rights. They can present to the government the changes they envisage in line with their dignity and security. I advice that you should all meet and send a petition to the president, the governor of your county, and your members of parliament. The Organization I work with, the Katiba Institute would be willing to help you prepare such a petition.