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.


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 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

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