PRESS RELEASE / 25 Jan 2019 Country Report faults Kenya on slow implementation of gender equality goals

Nairobi 25th January 2019 : Kenya risks failure to fully implement the Sustainable Development Goals 2030 within the stipulated period owing to laxity to implement critical policies especially touching on the rights of women and girls.
A Kenya country report detailing on the Equal Measures Global SDGs Gender Index incorporating a focus on data analysis on the country’s progress in achieving the SDG’s now urges the government and relevant stakeholders to hasten implementation or risk failing of this important agenda.
The Report; Data Driving Change: Introducing the SDG Gender Index Kenya  was researched and compiled by the pan-African women’s rights organization, African Women’s Development and Communication Network, FEMNET in collaboration with Equal Measures 2030 a global independent civil society and private-sector led organization.
Kenya’s development trajectory against the backdrop of achieving the SDGs 2030, even though encouraging in some goals, still leaves a lot to be desired in terms of government commitment to full implementation. This is in line with glaring gaps noted on progress regarding gender equality and women’s empowerment.
According to the report, lack of implementation of legal and policy instruments and girls and women’s empowerment remains a chronic issue due to a lack of sufficient resources coupled with little progress on gender-responsive budgeting.  This ultimately hinders girls and women from reaping the intended benefits of the laws or achieving the objectives of the 2030 agenda on sustainable development (SDGs ).
FEMNET’s Executive Director Memory Kachambwa on the release of the report this week says it is squarely the responsibility of governments to avoid failing its women and girls by prioritizing that which is fundamental in ensuring the provision of their basic rights and services.
“We are concerned that for example as indicated in our report that Kenya still lags behind on critical areas such as health and access to clean water and reliable energy” said Memory. “These are in fact the most essential needs which the country must be determined to fully address because it is women and children who suffer the biggest impact of their unavailability”.
The SDG Gender Index developed by Equal Measures 2030 was instrumental in providing significant indicators that contributed in analyzing the Kenya Country Report.  The Index is unique in that it has been developed by a partnership that includes Civil Society and private sector actors.   The initial focus of the index is done on six countries; Columbia, El Salvador, India, Indonesia, Senegal and Kenya.
According to the report, Kenya has a low index score on the SDGs goal 3 on health, as a result in high part of the large incidences of HIV prevalence among women. The rate of women newly infected by HIV was 23 times that of the average in 2016. FEMNET sees the strong focus of Universal Health Coverage within the Big Four agenda as an opportunity to address this by ensuring that specific health needs for women and girls such as sexual and reproductive health and rights are addressed.
Lagging behind
Kenya, as the report highlights, also lagged behind on SDG Goal 6 on access to clean water and sanitation particularly when compared with a country like Senegal – a country with significantly lower GDP per capita.  Just 58% of people in Kenya were using at least basic drinking water services in 2015 compared with 75% in Senegal.
Despite the general positive outlook on Kenya’s economic development, a broader analysis on the country’s gender equality reveals glaring discrepancies between existing policy frameworks and actual implementation. This is in line with consistent data on growing inequalities and especially gender inequality. We would like to emphasize that the realization of gender equality and women’s empowerment will only be possible if Kenya addresses the gender components within the SDGs framework.
Numerous progressive policy frameworks aimed at advancing gender equality and girls and women’s empowerment have not translated into actual implementation thus placing the country on a progress path of implementation.   Key to this fact is the promulgated Kenya Constitution 2010 that has enacted critical legislations within Article 27 that advance gender equality and women’s empowerment.  Important legislations such as the Protection against Domestic Violence Act 2015, the Community Land Act 2016 and the Matrimonial Property Act 2013 within the Constitution must in fact speed-up the government’s commitment to achieving the SDGs.
Actions must speak louder than words  
“What we see as we advocate for the advancement of women and girls’ rights within the spectrum of the SDGs 2030 is the supposed approach by governments which on the on-set seem ‘enthusiastic” about implementation but are rather lethargic towards actualizing this commitments.”Said Ms. Kachambwa.  “A country such as Kenya has indeed been leading the pack in terms of formulation of critical policy frameworks. However, this becomes a huge anti-climax if those policies exist only on paper
The report emphasizes the bold gender agenda enshrined in the SDGs Goal 5 and other targets within other goals that will only be fully realized if governments such as Kenya ensure that the rights of girls and women count and are counted!
It is in this regard that the report emphasizes the compilation, collection and dissemination of gender data that is critical in enabling the implementation of the gender equality and girls and women’s empowerment agenda’s of the SDGs 2030.
It is only through this paramount focus that governments such as Kenya can adhere to the principal of #LeaveNoWomanBehind.
In releasing this report, FEMNET and Equal Measures 2030 in collaboration with national partners urge the government to seriously embark on partnering with local women’s rights organizations who are working towards advancing gender equality.  Most importantly, both organizations urge the involvement of women human rights organizations for gender data collection, dissemination and utilization for the realization of the SDGs 2030.
For more information and to book and interview please contact: Mildred Ngesa – FEMNET Head of Communications: / +254 727 137853

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