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Day of the African Child 2021: Kenya’s progress towards gender equality 26 years on from the Beijing Conference

A young girl's hands are folded in her lap

On May 28, 2021, the government of Kenya made a welcome announcement that it had increased the budgetary allocation of addressing gender-based violence (GBV) to KSh2.3 billion (23 million US Dollars) by the year 2022 and to KSh5 billion (50 million US Dollars) by the year 2026, in view of a surge in these violations.

While making this admission, the government noted that there had been a 92 percent increase in GBV against girls and women in the year 2020 – pointing to the need to address these violations as “a matter of urgency” because it had become a national crisis.

The government of Kenya also promised to take up additional steps to prevent and protect girls and women from GBV whilst punishing perpetrators. Among these measures were:

  • Promote the holistic implementation of GBV laws including the provision of critical services such as establishment of nationally run shelters and scaling up national police service GBV integrated response;
  • Develop a GBV management and information system by the year 2022; and
  • Introduce a module on GBV in the 2022 Kenya Demographic Health Survey.

While these provisions are welcome and important to the safety of every single girl, woman, and women’s rights defenders, they must be transformed from paper commitments to real action so that they can become beneficial to girls who are survivors of GBV who don’t often get care and justice for the serious injuries inflicted on them; as well as to those who are at potential risk of GBV by ensuring preventive measures are put in place and protect them from harm.

Countries around the world will convene at the Generation Equality Forum in Paris and virtually later this month to mark 26 years since governments including Kenya committed to promote gender equality through the adoption of the 1995 Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action on Gender Equality and to renew their commitments with investments that will propel tangible actions such as the targets and financial commitments Kenya declared.

Equality Now has already been working with other women’s rights organizations including Better4Kenya and hosting a series of conversations with remarkable influencers in Kenya for purposes of holding the government of Kenya to account on its responsibility to safeguard the rights of girls and women.

As we celebrate this year’s International Day of the African Child Join us in urging the government of Kenya to honor these commitments and remain true to girls.

Read more about Kenya’s commitments here:



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