COVID-19: Kenya presents key gender priorities to Commonwealth
By Fredrick Obura | September 3rd 2020
Chief Administrative Secretary in the Ministry of Public Service and Gender Rachel Shebesh.
“As a committed commonwealth member-state, Kenya stands with all other Commonwealth member states and remains faithful to our obligations of implementing global, regional and national commitments to promote equal access to development opportunities for all,” she said.
In her presentation of Kenya’s key gender priorities, Shebesh called on Commonwealth member states to put women leaders at the center of COVID-19 pandemic response and post-recovery measures.
Acknowledging that Gender-Based Violence (GBV) has emerged as a big issue during the pandemic period, she called on the commonwealth member states to classify GBV related services as essential and allocate adequate resources to address the prevention and response to GBV.
Kenya also wants the Commonwealth member states post-COVID 19 economic recovery strategies to mitigate the pandemic’s impact on enterprises and employment, with a tailored and gender-responsive approach to reaching women-owned micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, including in supply chains, as well as hard-hit sectors and occupations where women are over-represented.
Also to address the effect on climate change, the government wants members’ states to enhance women’s representation in decision-making spaces and facilitate the establishment of gender-responsive social infrastructure including climate-resilient agriculture, access to water, and sanitation.
Kenya reported the first case of COVID-19 in March 2020. Immediately, the country put in place containment measures, including cessation of international travel, closure of schools, social distancing, and curfew measures, among others. The measures significantly affected the social and economic lifestyles of our people as they had normally experienced them.
Subsequently, President Uhuru introduced a raft of policy measures to cushion Kenyans. This included economic reliefs, the establishment of a national coordination committee to provide a comprehensive whole-of-government framework response, and the establishment of a COVID 19 Emergency Fund.
“Women in Kenya are playing a key role in responding to this disease as decision-makers, caregivers, frontline healthcare workers, community leaders, and mobilisers, often at great risk to their health,” noted Shebesh.
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