In Kenya, many efforts are being made to protect people’s basic human rights. Yet inequalities exist, especially for women and girls. The entrenched patriarchal social structures ensure that men retain power and control the vast majority of resources ranging from the family to the governmental level. Women’s participation at every level of decision making across both political and economic spheres has been limited and whilst the number of women elected government officials is rising, the actual percentage of women in decision making positions is extremely low compared to men.
Women and girls living with a disability, widows, single mothers, unmarried women, members of the LGBTI community, and women who are from families affected by HIV/AIDS face additional challenges due to multiple layers of discrimination, thereby limiting their participation in community life.
Advancing Equality Through Human Rights Education in Kenya
The ultimate goal of the Advancing Equality project is to increase the empowerment of women and girls to advance gender equality. In Kenya, reaching this goal implies increasing women’s participation in local decision-making structures. Fostering women’s leadership enables them to bring forward issues that directly impact their lives and allows an opportunity to make meaningful changes within their communities. The anticipated results include:
- Strengthened leadership for women and men to mobilize their communities
- Enhanced collaboration among women’s and human rights groups
- Improved efforts of women’s organizations to engage with decision-makers
The situation today
The situation for some women and girls still remains bleak on the social, political and economic fronts.
- 45% of women face intimate partner violence. Women who engage in economic and political activities are often at higher risk of becoming a target of violent acts.
- 9% of elected government seats are held by women despite the 2/3 gender rule.
- 1% of land is owned by women, yet 89% of farmers are women which restricts their ability to improve their economic situation and to engage on the political sphere.
The Project adopts a participatory approach to advance gender equality that includes:
Knowledge and capacity-building
Training for community leaders on human-rights based approaches and gender equality
Community forums and coaching
- Joint awareness raising activities
- Community actions that advance gender equality
Engagement with decision-makers
- Training for women’s and human rights organizations
- Policy dialogues
- Action plans
Learn more about our work in Kenya
The planning and implementation of the Advancing Equality through Human Rights Education program is done in cooperation with the target communities in Kenya. Thus, community members have been consulted and have themselves outlined the most pressing gender equality issues in their communities through data collection conducted by Equitas and Women’s Empowerment Link during the baseline study. The data collected were subsequently shared back to the communities and validated by them as truly reflecting the issues they had raised. Through human rights education, Equitas and Women’s Empowerment Link will provide them the tools and skills needed to achieve the desired change.
Equitas works in Kenya with Women’s Empowerment Link (WEL). Established in 2007, the Women’s Empowerment Link (WEL) is a non-profit women rights organization that invests in empowering women and girls to realize their full potential, worth and strength politically, socially and economically through advocating for their human and social justice rights.
Our work in Kenya is part of the Advancing Equality through Human Rights Education project. The project is funded by the Government of Canada through Global Affairs Canada (GAC).