Report by Faith Nthambi
In partnership with UN Women and the County Government of Kajiado, FIDA-Kenya convened Women, Youth, and PWDs from Kajiado County for a Gender Sector forum on 22nd and 23rd June 2022 at the Enchula Resort Hotel in Kajiado and a public participation forum at the Esidai Hotel, Kitengela on 24th June 2022. The forums drew Gender officials, Police officers Manning Gender desks, CSO representatives and members of the community drawn from the county. The participants were convened as part of FIDA-Kenya’s effort toward strengthening public participation & influence of women, youth, and PWDs in county governance & budgeting processes in the county.
The objective of the forums was to have the participants understand the legislative and policy frameworks on public participation budgeting, and gender-responsive budgeting with an objective of having the participants be familiar with and be able to apply the types and purpose of gender budget statements and also be able to support departments in the preparation of gender budget statements and inclusion of youth and PWDs.
Major concerns and challenges highlighted:
- The venues chosen for public participation are far thus not accessible to the community members.
- Kajiado County is vast and sparsely populated thus posing a challenge in mobilizing people to attend the public participation forums, forcing the county to consider sub-county public participation.
- Gender roles and responsibilities that require women in Kajiado county to milk cows have caused both socio-economic and participation challenges. Most Maasai women prefer to hold public participation after dairy farming while the public participation forums are conducted during business hours.
- There are no proper definitions in terms of public participation. The Kajiado Public Participation Bill, 2014 is not clear on the attendance number of women, youth and PWDs required for an effective public participation
- Gender matters are not taken with much weight during budgeting, thus being given the last priority. Currently, only 9 million shillings has been allocated to run the gender department in the county thus proving difficult for the department to effectively carry out its duties.
- There is a backlog in tackling gender issues in the county due to a lack of development funding. The only funds available are on recurrent expenditure thus forcing the county’s gender department to leave cases such as Gender-Based Violence to be handled by Civil Society Organizations.
- There is a lack of diversity in gender programs in Kajiado County. Currently, there are only two programs in the county. These are Gender mainstreaming and the Socioeconomic empowerment program. These programs are insufficient to address and cater for all gender needs affecting the county.
- Mainstreaming of gender issues is still a major challenge in the county. This is because it is viewed as unnecessary due to the misconception that gender issues are less compared to other issues affecting the community.
- Lack of support from political leaders was cited as a major challenge, especially during this quota where elections are impending. This is evidenced by political candidates pushing for manifestos that hardly touch on gender issues, an indicator that the topic on gender has still not gained traction among leaders in Kajiado county.
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