Enhancing State Accountability on SDG 5 in Kenya
Four years ago, 193 nations adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – a set of 17 goals aimed at ensuring that nations commit themselves towards the realization of human rights of all, achieve gender equality, and empower women and girls among other things.
Amidst the 17 goals that were adopted is SDG 5, which specifically seeks to advance the rights of women and girls by addressing the injustices that persistently deny them a chance of reaching their potential. This goal distinctly speaks for women and girls all over the world, impelling governments to address the societal and structural issues that deprive women and girls of their basic rights and opportunities.
SDG 5 stands to protect women and girls from all forms of violence, harmful cultural practices, unequal access to sexual and reproductive health care, unequal land rights, unpaid care work and unequal access to leadership and decision making while adopting and strengthening policies and enforceable legislation for gender equality
In relation to Equality Now and the work that we are currently doing in Kenya, SDG 5 looks at protecting women and girls from Female Genital Mutilation (FGM); child, early, and forced marriage; sexual and gender based violence in addition to other glaring legal inequalities.
Translating goals into real change
While this goal is noble in all its entirety, its realization is wholly dependent on governments’ desire and will to honor it and live up to its commitments. The realization of this goal is also dependent on a vibrant civil society, empowered with the knowledge of the regional and international instruments that can be used to enhance state accountability.
Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) must therefore remain vigilant and continuously monitor their respective governments’ efforts to attain this goal’s vision by holding governments to account; pushing for acceleration where progress has not been made; and safeguarding the gains made in the realization of SDG5 by ensuring that their nations do not backtrack.
As an international organisation focused on women’s rights, we constantly engage our partners and other like-minded organizations at the local level so as to push the women agenda on SDG 5 forward and ensure that achieving it remains high on the agenda of sub-national and national governments.
Training Community Based Organizations in Kenya
Equality Now has identified six CSOs based in the five Counties in Kenya that work to end FGM, End Child Marriage and End Sexual Violence. Equality Now will periodically train these CSOs on SDG 5 accountability, with a view of enhancing their understanding of the regional and international instruments that Kenya is party to; and to subsequently use these instruments to drive state accountability on the realization of SDG 5.
The training sessions are designed to strengthen and advance the role of CSOs in monitoring, reviewing and ensuring the implementation of SDG 5 in Kenya. It will not only provide an opportunity for the exchange of ideas but also offer a platform where CSOs can design strategies through which they can contribute to the attainment of SDG 5 at county and national level while aiming to use regional and international opportunities to complement advocacy efforts at country level.
While Kenya has made some strides in safeguarding the rights of women and girls through laws and policies, more remains to be done on the implementation front. Increasing rates of femicide and sexual-based violence; emerging and existing trends in FGM including cross border and medicalization of the practice; as well as child marriage need to be addressed urgently and consistently for Kenya to realize its commitments under SDG 5.
The CSO Partners
- End Child Marriage Partner - Sauti Ya Wanawake
Child marriage is quite prevalent in Kenya’s Kwale County and the state ought to be held to account, in line with target 3 of SDG 5. It is in light of this that Equality Now partnered with Sauti Ya Wanawake – an organization that operates at sub-national level of Kenya’s coastal region, advocating for the end of child marriage among others. Sauti Ya Wanawake will therefore drive the SDG5 agenda in Kwale County and will be in Kisumu for the training on the SDGs.
- End FGM Partners - Beyond Hope Foundation, Tasaru Ntomonyok Initiative (TNI) and I’llaramatak Community Concerns
Equality Now will also be training its partners – Beyond Hope Foundation; Tasaru Ntomonyok Initiative (TNI); and I’llaramatak Community Concerns. These three organizations are critical allies for Equality Now, as they all work to end FGM in Kajiado and Narok where FGM prevalence is high among the Maasai community that live in the two counties. While Beyond Hope Foundation and I’llaramatak Community Concerns operate in Kenya’s Kajiado County, TNI works in Narok County.
- End Sexual Violence Partners - Rural Education and Economic Enhancement Program (REEP) and Kisumu Medical & Education Trust (KMET)
In Kenya’s Busia and Kisumu Counties, sexual violence is rampant. In this regard, Equality Now is working with REEP – which is based in Busia County as well as KMET – based in Kisumu County. Given that these organizations will double up as the SDG 5 champions in their respective Counties, Equality Now will also train them on various advocacy strategies to hold their county governments accountable in realization of SDG 5.
This training will be vital to CSOs in Kenya as it will ensure that they are well equipped in continuously monitoring the Kenya government’s efforts to attain the goal’s vision. Ultimately, CSOs must hold governments to account on SDG progress and Equality Now is committed to supporting CSOs to do just that.
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