CASE 2 :P-BLD Inspires Nakuru’s First Gender Policy

Challenge County Government was described by some participants as reactive rather than proactive in relation to issues affecting women’s rights, children’s rights and the security and safety of women and children. There is high competition for resources in some places in Nakuru County, which means accessing funds can be difficult without the right network of interest and support. Tackling issues of human rights that have a history in cultures such as polygamy and patriarchy are particularly challenging to generate support and influence. The P-BLD members and those in County Assembly and local politics recognised the need to give voice for women to address a wide range of issues from access to water, health care, transport to hospitals and care of elderly women, to tackling rape and incest. Action The P-BLD participants working in this area brought various people and agencies together to discuss the needs of Nakuru County at policy level and to coordinate efforts in this area across sectors. This led to the development of community engagement workshops, forums for women and young people to have a voice, ‘safe spaces’ for community members to use and workshops internally for government officials to improve their understanding of the issues. Stakeholders were mobilised to take part in public participation during the budget process to advocate for funding for the gender policy. Through creating this space for increasing awareness and dialogue, information and ideas have been brought together to enable the development of a Gender Policy.
She has been able to influence the issue of budget. She has also been able to influence the issue of policy. We did not have a gender policy since the inception of the county government of Nakuru. And she came, she mobilised the resources, she mobilised stakeholders, and now we are currently formulating a gender policy that will give you direction
Participating in the P-BLD programme facilitated the development of a network of contacts across agencies, built upon interpersonal, negotiation and influencing skills and generated momentum behind the issue.
Closer working across agencies and between the Chiefs and the ward administrators on issues related to gender have improved relationships between Civil Society, Police, County and National government. Roles and responsibilities between national and county levels have become clearer, improving communication and trust.
‘Before she came or when she came immediately the perception was, you know, violence is not for the county government to do to deal with. That is a security matter. We should leave it to the national government. Okay? And so, they usually want to go the blame game. And then the national government will say, for example, the street children who are mugging people, who are involved in violence in towns, and in urban areas, these are people or these are the issues that are to be handled by the county government. So that was the perception before. But after attending the workshop and training, she changed our perception on that and the approach and realize now we need to work together as agencies. And it has been very positive.’ ‘There’s a lot of suspicion and mistrust, especially between the county government and the national government. But for now, both the county government and the national government are working together. And when they work together, we are able now to attract other sectors and other agencies to join us in addressing this issue of urban violence. ‘People are violated without knowing that they’re being violated. And so this program serves as an awareness process for the youth, for the women, for men to know. Even sometimes when the men are violating the women, they think it’s just normal, it’s normal tradition. But when they come to these forums, then they know, “I didn’t know I was violating my wife’s rights or another woman’s rights or my son’s rights and so on.” And so for me, it’s I think it has had an impact though progressively because it’s not a short term one.’
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