KENYA: Global Open Day: Kenyan Women Share their Perspectives on Conflict Resolution

Thursday, July 8, 2010
Eastern Africa
PeaceWomen Consolidated Themes: 
General Women, Peace and Security

As part of the Global Open Day for Women and Peace, 20 women from civil society and community-based organizations in Kenya came together in Nairobi on 7 July to discuss issues related to the inclusion of women in processes of conflict resolution, peace negotiations and peacebuilding. The consultative forum was organized by UNIFEM and UNDP in the context of the 10th anniversary of UN Security Council resolution 1325 on women, peace and security.

In his opening remarks, the UN Humanitarian and Resident Coordinator, Aeneas Chuma, noted that the exclusion of women from decision-making constituted a violation of human rights and a breach of democratic principles. He stressed that monitoring and accountability mechanisms had to be established to ensure the coherent and effective implementation of Security Council resolution 1325.

The representatives from civil society and community-based organizations discussed various challenges faced by women in Kenya, including their lack of access to basic needs, to decision-making, to protection and security, and to public dialogue and media. They formulated a set of recommendations for advancing the participation of women in conflict resolution and peacebuilding, including that:

The government should acknowledge that women experience conflict differently from men, and that gender-specific issues need to be addressed, such as sexual violence and protection from threats. The government and other partners should help build the capacity of women leaders in peacebuilding, including women Members of Parliament. A 50 percent nationwide quota should be established for women's participation in all levels of government and in all decision-making and peacebuilding bodies.

Gender-sensitive reporting centers should be established, where women can report violence in the community, in particular violence against women and girls and security threats.A national action plan for the implementation of Security Council resolution 1325 should be developed, through consultation with civil society organizations, government departments, academics and other stakeholders.

A special guest at the forum was the Ambassador of Finland, Heli Sirve, who reiterated the Finnish Government's commitment to support key stakeholders in preparing a national action plan on SCR 1325 in Kenya.