Towards Human Rights-Centered & Transformational Governance in Kenya

Towards Human Rights-Centered & Transformational Governance in Kenya: Empowering Civil Society for Change

Listening to communities is the first step to affecting positive change towards justice for all; through demonstrating the benefits of inclusivity in dispute resolution, the rights and voices of women, youth and PWDs can be respected. Photo: Nicholas Wilson/UNDP Kenya.

Kenyan civil society has long been recognized as one of the most vibrant and progressive in the East Africa region: the sector has had significant impact in agitating for and contributing to reforms in the constitutional order, governance and human rights over the past decades. The critical role of civil society organizations (CSOs) in promoting issue-based politics, rule of law and protection and promotion of rights has been recognized in Kenya's strategic development agendas, notably the Political Pillar of Vision 2030.

UNDP, through the Amkeni Wakenya project, has operated a grants programme to specifically promote democratic governance through working with CSOs in Kenya since 2007. In the Towards Human Rights-Centered & Transformational Governance in Kenya project, UNDP Amkeni Wakenya will ensure CSOs remain professional, cutting-edge, providing alternative voices and an agenda that is pro-poor, particularly supporting women, youth, people with disabilities (PWDs) and other marginalized populations. In turn, this is expected to result in a more democratic society where freedoms and rule of law are both respected and upheld. 

Through support from the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands (EKN), UNDP Amkeni Wakenya intends to implement human rights awareness, advocacy and legal assistance projects by working with CSOs in 6 counties - Turkana, Kitui, Kwale, Marsabit, Nairobi and Kilifi. The project aims at raising awareness on prioritized basic rights while ensuring effective engagement between citizens and duty bearers over policy and legislative frameworks governing the prioritized rights; this will be done through dual implementation strategies of providing grants to selected CSOs to undertake interventions at a grassroots-level, as well as the project team working to provide policy and technical support to relevant agencies and institutions, such as the NGO Coordination Board and the National Legal Aid Service. 

Ms. Habiba Ailo, a paralegal with Amkeni partner Saku Accountability Forum (SAF) at a community dialogue forum in Marsabit, Marsabit County, organized as part of the EKN-supported Pathways to Safe Motherhood project. Photo: Nicholas Wilson/UNDP Kenya.