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Kakamega Governor’s Gender Roundtable Forum

Gender Round TableKakamega County becomes the first County to host the first Governor’s Gender Roundtable. On 20th April 2017, H.E. Governor Wycliffe Ambetsa Oparanya hosted three hundred youth, women and persons with disability from different areas of the County.

The meeting gave the special group an opportunity to reflect and discuss their contribution and achievements towards development in the County. The Governor noted that communities in the region still experience unacceptable levels of gender inequalities, negative attitude and rigid mind set towards women and youth empowerment as well as non-progressive cultural practice which include violence against women.

Noting that the purpose of county governments is to ensure that the lives of Citizens are well taken care of, the Governor urged women to aggressively voice their needs so that counties are able to better deliver services. He gave an example of the county budgeting process where the public is called upon to present their views. In his experience, most participants in these forums are normally men with few women representations. Towards this, he called upon women to get close to government and show enthusiasm in positively critiquing the County for optimal achievement of their deliverables.

Kakamega County has made efforts to ensure gender representation in government. For instance, out of the ten members of the County Executive Committee, four are women. Additionally, there are also five women Chief Officers out of the twelve in the County Assembly. While launching the Kakamega edition of the Gender roundtable, the Governor also called upon women to turn up for elective posts in the coming general elections. This is because under his leadership, Governor Oparanya noted that women are more focused and therefore more productive than men. The Governor promised to nominate more women and therefore urged women to get into politics and into county planning matters among others.

Various representatives from the special groups got the opportunity to engage the Governor and share their challenges, experience and areas of improvement while dealing with them. Mama Hellen Lusina from Lukuyani Constituency who has been positively living with HIV and AIDS for the last 19 years, asked the county to recognize such women as well as giving them priority in the County. She noted that their biggest challenge was the lack of a Viral Load within the County.

Equally present during the meeting were County Executives, representatives from tertiary institutions like Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology, Mount Kenya University and Kenyatta University.

The meeting was organised by the Council of Governors with support from UN Women.

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