Kenya strategizes for smooth implementation of the National Action Plan

First Lady Margaret Kenyatta. Photo - Courtesy
First Lady Margaret Kenyatta. Photo - Courtesy

In March this year, Kenya joined the list of over 48 countries of the world who have heeded to the United Nations Security Council call to domesticate the National Action Plan (NAP) on the implementation of the UNSCR 1325 which was adopted in 2000.

The long awaited Kenya National Action Plan (KNAP) was officially launched during International Women’s Day celebrations. The plan was lauded by stakeholders as a progressive step for the country which presents an opportunity to enhance gender equality and promote women’s participation in peace and security in the country.

Unveiling of the KNAP is important as it addresses women’s equal and full participation as active agents in peace and security discourses and processes.

Premised on a human security framework, the theme for the Kenya National Action Plan is ‘Kuhusisha Wanawake ni Kudumisha Amani’ (to involve women is to sustain peace).

The Plan addresses the situation of women in conflict and calls for their participation at all levels of decision-making on conflict resolution and peacebuilding. It recognizes the importance of women’s contribution to conflict prevention, peacekeeping, conflict resolution and peacebuilding.

Pillars  

The Kenya National Action Plan which covers a period of three years addresses the four main pillars of the resolution: participation, promotion and protection, as well as relief and recovery.

The KNAP is premised on constitutional values of gender equality, inclusion and participation of women in conflict resolution and peace building. It’s aligned with the Second Medium Term Plan (SMTP) towards achieving coherence in implementation.

The development of KNAP was done through a consultative process that brought on board different stakeholders who included the government ministries, development partners, civil society organisation as well as the media.

The most important process in its development included the twinning of two countries to share best practices, technical and financial resources. In this process, Kenya twinned with the Government of Finland.

According to Riikka Raatikainen, Counsellor Gender and Governance at Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, unlike Kenya, Finland’s implementation of second National Action Plan is coming to an end this year and they will be working on their third NAP.

The process, Raatikainen says, was an opportunity for Kenya to learn from Finland’s experience.

Lessons  

“Even though Finland is ahead, we still have challenges and lessons to be learnt. There is still need to clearly define the responsibilities of partners and the allocation of resources to finance implementation and sustainability of the National Action Plan,” says Raatikainen.

Recently stakeholders met again to deliberate on the establishment of clear reporting structures and monitoring framework for the KNAP at the national and county levels. This framework will help in establishing mechanisms for consolidating gains made by capturing results in a coordinated manner.

During the engagement, stakeholders also had an opportunity to learn from other countries that have successfully implemented their National Action Plans.

According the  Principal Secretary, State Department of  Gender Affairs, Zainab  Hussein,  the implementation of  KNAP provides sufficient opportunity for women working on issues of peace and security to be exposed.

Hussein urged stakeholders to support its implementation process by mapping out their activities around the four pillars.

“If we achieve 50 percent implementation of the KNAP, we will have addressed milestones for women’s empowerment, education and gender equality.  Partners should draw their mandate and dissemination plans and to align their plans to the KNAP,” said Hussein.

Create sufficient awareness

However, she reiterated that there is need for sufficient awareness to be created on the KNAP at the grassroots level where majority of the women sit in peace committees. “We have both connected with the women.”

Currently coordination mechanism is provided by the Ministry of Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs which also manages KNAP Secretariat. The Pillar Working groups which include stakeholders organised and clustered around the four pillars is under the National Steering Technical Committee.

According to Dickson Magotsi, Under-Secretary, Ministry of Interior and Coordination, the implementation of the KNAP must go beyond the UN headquarters by trickling down to national and local levels where women experience violence and insecurity on a daily basis.

One important objective under the participation and promotion pillars of the KNAP is the mobilisation of resources and allocation to facilitate the active engagement and participation of women at the county, national, regional and international levels.

As the KNAP implementation rolls down to the counties, it is clear the involvement of all stakeholders will be critical. Most importantly, overall coordination at all levels to ensure that all the gains made during implementation are documented well to avoid duplication.