Enhancing capacities of women for elective political leadership in Kenya project

This is a two-year project that seeks to contribute to addressing the historical marginalization of women, youth, persons with disabilities and minority communities in Kenya, which is one of the key focus areas of Uraia Trust Strategic Plan (2016-2020). This project builds and draws on the successes and lessons from Uraia’s Beyond Quotas Leadership project. The project will be undertaken by improving policies and legislative frameworks that affects women’s participation in governance, enhancing capacities of women and addressing structural and cultural barriers to women’s participation. Advocacy and awareness work which will complement legislative work around the implementation of the gender quota at national and sub-national levels.

Recognizing that in spite of the progressive constitutional provisions and gains made since the promulgation of the Constitution (2010), political representation of women remains low. Following the results of Kenya’s 2013 General Elections, for instance, all the County Assemblies and the Senate could not be constituted without the nomination of women to address the constitutional crisis of the not more than two thirds gender principle at those levels. Key strategies for the project include review of the Political Parties Act 2011 and the Elections Act 2011 to incorporate mechanisms of ensuring promotion of women’s participation and to achieve the 2/3rd gender principle by 2017. Through the involvement of four implementing partners, the project aims at increasing women’s representation in elective and appointive positions in the political arena. Uraia will provide assistance to the partners through strengthening their capacities which will enable them to work with local communities to address cultural and traditional barriers, building the capacity of women in areas such as leadership, communication, networking, negotiation and lobbying skills to enable them to navigate these barriers.

At the national level, Uraia has partnered with the Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA Kenya) to focus on two key issues: the realization of the 2/3rds gender principle and pursue mainstreaming of gender in the political parties nomination process. This is through advocacy with other stakeholders to provide opportunities for women’s participation within the registered Political Parties, targeting the Electoral Code of Conduct to address the unethical practices that impede women’s full participation in the electoral process. The organization also creates public awareness and advocacy to communities on the two -thirds gender principle in counties where the project is implemented.  Through community platforms, the citizenry will hold their legislators to account for the failures to enact a viable formula for realization of the 2/3 gender principle. This approach is important as it touches on the electorate and grassroots communities whose vote the legislators count on.

At the county level, Uraia Trust jointly with the implementing partners, will reach directly and enhance the capacities of 400 women in 9 counties through addressing structural, social and cultural barriers to women’s political participation so as to effectively participate in politics and to seek for elective and appointive positions in 2017 General Elections. The implementing partners are Citizen Focus for Development (CIFODE) in Baringo, West Pokot and Turkana Counties; Sauti Ya Wanawake – Pwani (SYWP) in Kwale, Kilifi and Lamu counties; and Transform Empowerment for Action Initiative (TEAM) in Kisii, Migori and Nyamira counties. An additional 500 women will be reached directly through other Uraia implementing partners, while 30000 Kenyans will be reached indirectly by the project.

The project trained Uraia programme staff and the implementing partners as trainers/ mentors of the women seeking elective and appointive political leadership.  Uraia has partnered with Women in the Red, the Kenya Chapter of Women and Girls Lead Global (WGLD) to enhance the political capacities of the women using film. This project is being implemented in collaboration with government institutions such as Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), Registrar of Political Parties (RPP), the National Gender and Equality Commission (NGEC) and Parliament.