Women’s Participation in Kenyan Politics is moving in the right direction

Since the 2013 elections in particular, Kenya has seen a significant increase in the number of women participating in politics. There has been a continual rise in the number of those running for office and the ones succeeding to hold those leadership positions. Today women make up 23.5% of the National Assembly up from 22% in the last parliament. Increasingly women are making their voices heard and breaking through the traditional barriers that have kept them out of the political arena.

Constitution of Kenya 2010 carries provision for realizing gender parity in political leadership and participation. Famously known as the two-thirds gender rule, the provision requires that no gender exceeds two-thirds in terms of its membership of all elective political positions. As a result, more and more women cognizant of this provision are stepping up to seek elective political positions with every election since 2013.

Another key factor that has contributed to this increase is the rise of women’s political organizations and programs. These organizations and programs have been instrumental in providing support and resources for women who are interested in running for office. Further, they have also been instrumental in raising awareness about the importance of women’s participation in politics.

Ms President has been one of such programs that has been at the forefront to highlight the importance of women participation in leadership and inspiring more ways men and girls to become more politically active. The show has been praised for its ability to spark important conversations about women’s participation in politics in Kenya and for its ability to inspire real-world change. A few of Ms President participants are currently occupying high level political leadership positions at the national level such as in the National Assembly and in the national executive. It’s also been credited with helping to shift societal attitudes towards women in politics in the positive direction, as well as encouraging more women to consider running for political office. Overall, Ms President is an important step in the ongoing effort to increase the representation and participation of women in Kenyan politics.

Despite these gains, there is still a long way to go in terms of achieving true gender parity in Kenyan politics. Women still face significant barriers when it comes to running for office, including a lack of financial resources, discrimination, and a lack of political experience.

However, there are many inspiring examples of women who have overcome these barriers and made a real impact in Kenyan politics. For example, Martha Karua, among the few women who’ve run for president in Kenya. She was a Presidential candidate in 2013 and a Presidential running mate in the 2022 election. Currently, there are seven female governors, and several women hold high government positions, including in the Cabinet as Cabinet Secretaries.

In conclusion, the participation and representation of women in Kenyan politics is an essential step in achieving true democracy and representation. We need to continue to work towards creating an environment where women can participate in politics without facing discrimination and barriers. By doing so, we will create a more inclusive and equitable society for all Kenyans.

The Fight against GBV in Uganda

We had a successful dialogue on GBV in Jinja city. Media Focus On Africa Uganda is using edutainment, media and dialogues to fight GBV against women and girls and to promote women’s rights at the grassroot levels of the most affected communities . With support from Urgent Action Fund, MFA has partnered with ADOVIC , a community based organization for facilitate the dialogues.

Community Dialogues on GBV in Mbarara, Uganda

Dialogues in Mbarara were successful. We’re using edutainment, media and dialogues to fight GBV against women and girls and to promote women’s rights at the grassroot levels of the most affected communities . With support from Urgent Action Fund, MFA has partnered with ICODI , a community based organization for facilitate the dialogues

 

 

Kitgum Community Dialogues on GBV

Media Focus On Africa is working with local media houses & CSOs to act against Gender Based Violence.  Using short radio plays  based on real-life news stories about #GBV that aired in  these local radio stations, we are  creating platforms for  meaningful discussion and problem solving through radio talkshows & community dialogues. For the past two weeks, the community dialogues have taken place in Kitgum- in partnership with Kitgum Women’s Peace Initiative- Kiwepi. This week we are in Jinja in partnership with ADOVIC
 

MS PRESIDENT: SEASON 2

After successfully producing and airing Ms President Season 1, Media Focus on Africa has launched a bigger and better Season 2. We have officially opened up the application process and women from across the country can now apply.

What is Ms. President?

Ms President is an entertaining, educating, and thought-provoking Reality TV show that seeks to portray to a national audience the capacity and ability of women to lead effectively. The objective of Ms President is to change Kenyans’ perception and attitude towards leadership by women in communities and in the country. Learn more about Season 1 here.

Why is Ms President important? 

Women are usually not found in leadership positions. In many of our communities in Kenya, they are not generally perceived to have the skills, knowledge, or social status needed to bring about meaningful change.

Kenya’s constitution provides for equality in representation between men and women. However, in political leadership, women are significantly underrepresented. Following the 2017 election, female MPs make up only 22% of the National Assembly, 31% of the Senate and only 6% of the Governors.

Ms President Season 2 will contribute to Enhancing Women’s Participation in Political Leadership and Decision Making in Kenya via a multi-media program complemented with community dialogue and capacity strengthening for key stakeholder groups. Coming in the backdrop of the 2022 election makes Ms President Season 2 relevant and timely. Through the TV series, Ms President 1 introduced to the national audience young, fresh, intelligent and ‘presidential’ women from across the country many of these women have thrown their hats into the ring and are seeking various elective seats during this year’s general election. Others have been appointed into senior public service positions e.g. CAS Nadia Abdalla of the Ministry of ICT and Youth.

Just like with Ms President Season 1, the centrepiece of Season 2 will be the reality TV series. Ms President 2 will introduce to the national audience another crop of intelligent, articulate and ‘presidential’ women from diverse backgrounds with an eye on the 2027 general election and for appointment to senior public service positions.

The Impact of Season 1

55% of Ms President Contestants have reported that Ms President has provided them leadership opportunities not available to them before. Three examples: Nadia Abdalla, , Mombasa County contestant has since been appointed Chief Administrative Secretary in the ministry of ICT and Youth. Betty Adera, the Nairobi County contestant is now President of KANU Political Party Women Congress, a member of the One Kenya Alliance (OKA) technical team and Patron of the Young Women’s Forum in Africa by the Africa Youth Trust. Linet Mavu, Taita Taveta contestant has been appointed by the President to the Intergovernmental Relations Technical Committee. Many of Season 1 contestants are currently running for various MP and MCA positions.

The President of Kenya H.E. Uhuru Kenyatta endorsed the program. It also recorded commendation/endorsement from other top government officials and international dignitaries. , Chief

The reality TV show was nominated under the best TV documentary/TV show/TV reality category of the 9th Edition of the Kalasha International Film and TV awards 2019.

Who are we looking for?

Are you a Kenyan woman? Aged between 20-60 years & living in Kenya? With a diploma or higher qualifications? An excellent communicator? Agile & creative? Are you a leader actively involved in your community? Do you have the vision to transform your community? Do you believe in women’s leadership? If you are, then we are looking for you.

What does Ms President mean for the participants?

  • Millions of TV viewers and social media visibility.
  • A doorway to greater opportunities.
  • Prestige of being ‘Ms President’.
  • Mentorship, leadership, coaching and networking.
  • Interaction with high level national and international actors.
  • National and International profile for your favourite cause.
  • Making the idea of a female president in Kenya more relatable.
  • Winner – 20,000 USD, Runner Up – 15,000 USD, 2nd Runner Up – 10,000 USD.

If you believe you have what it takes to be the next Ms President, follow the instructions below to apply.

  1. Download the questionnaire here;http://shorturl.at/jovDL
  2. Fill it in and send it back to mspresidentkenya@gmail.com

MS. PRESIDENT SEASON 2 LAUNCHED

Media Focus on Africa has in a colourful event launched the second season of Ms. President Reality TV show, opening applications for all women who are community leaders across Kenya.

 

Ms President is an entertaining, educative, and thought-provoking Reality TV show that seeks to portray to a national audience the capacity and ability of women to lead effectively. The objective of Ms. President is to change Kenyans’ perception and attitude towards leadership by women in communities and in the country.

Speaking at the event, the chief guest Hon. Racheal Shebesh, Chief Administrative Secretary, Ministry of Public Service & Gender said that having training is a gateway to a great opportunity. She called on political parties to support women and give them opportunities and platforms that are meant to push them to great leadership roles.

‘I was once one of the chosen few to be sponsored to attend a political training for young leaders. It propelled me to who I am today.’ She said.

Ms President 2 will introduce to the national audience another group of women of different backgrounds, who are intelligent, articulate, and ‘presidential’, with an eye on the 2027 general election and for appointment to senior public service positions.

Among the invited guests were Season 1 contestants who are already great change-makers in our society. One notable example is that of Hon. Nadia Abdalla, who through Ms President show was appointed Chief Administrative Secretary in the ministry of ICT and Youth by Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Speaking at the launch, Acting High Commissioner for Canada, David Da Silva called on aspiring women leaders to have courage and step out.

‘’To all aspiring female leaders, I urge you to put yourselves out there. It is not easy given the challenges you will face along your journey but it is worth it.’’ He said.

H.E Henriette Geiger, the European Head of Delegation to Kenya joined the meeting virtually. She thanked all the supporters of Ms President and stressed the need to push for women’s representation in various leadership roles.

Echoing Her Excellency’s remarks, Rukaya Mohammed, UN Women Country Director said that women were underrepresented in the political landscape and that there was a need to continue pushing for the implementation of the two thirds gender rule.

Politics in Kenya is characterized by low representation of women in decision-making despite women constituting 50.5% of the Kenyan population.

Women’s political representation is still below the constitutional threshold of 33% and further below the UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target of 50%.

Do you believe you have what it takes to be the next Ms President? Who are we looking for?

Are you a Kenyan woman? Aged between 20-60 years & living in Kenya? With a diploma

or higher qualifications? An excellent communicator? Agile & creative? Are you a leader

actively involved in your community? Do you have the vision to transform your community?

Do you believe in women leadership?

If you you have all these qualities, please click on the link below to download the application form. Here you will also find details on how to submit the form once you have filled it.

www.shorturl.at/jovDL    or www.rb.gy/0afkus

KENYA 2022 ELECTIONS: FINDING THE GENDER BALANCE

We are effectively into the election year. Kenya’s general election are due to be held in August 2022. In the last few weeks there’s been a heightening of political activities across the country. As with every electoral cycle, the issue of participation and representation of women will come into sharp focus. The constitution requires that not more than two thirds of the members of any elective body consist of one gender. 11 years after the constitution was passed, this threshold is far from being realized. Following the 2017 election, women made up 7.9% of elected MPs (from the 290 constituencies), 6.4% of Governors and Senators and 6.6% of elected MCAs. Regionally (East Africa) Kenya lags behind in the representation of women.

A variety of reasons account for the low representation of Kenyan women in political leadership. Top of the pile is the impact of age old social-cultural norms that define gender roles in our communities.  This has proved a major hindrance to women achieving political leadership. Political campaigns tend to be quite expensive. A study estimated the cost of running for an MP seat in 2017 to range between 20-35 million Kenya shillings. Due to socio-cultural norms that govern ownership and access to property and capital, women are greatly disadvantaged when it comes to raising resources for campaigning.

High media visibility of political candidates contributes to likelihood of success, but women candidates are less visible in the media. A 2019 global study commissioned by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, found that men remain the vast majority of quoted experts and sources in political news coverage and that the share of voice by men is 7 times that of women. The male dominance of political leadership spaces means that male candidates in competition with female candidates benefit from the unconscious bias of the voters i.e. voters unconsciously equate political leadership with men. The dominance also means that male candidates have abundance of role models to learn and get inspiration from. Female candidates competing with male candidates for the same seat and with similar qualifications and experience must work at least twice as hard to compete favorably.

As we head towards the August 2022 election, the need to increase the number of elected women representatives across the board has never been more apparent. In order for this to happen, female candidates for election require a lot of support. Strategic election planning training can make a significant contribution towards the success of female candidates in election. This refers to the capacity to approach electoral campaigning strategically. It involves analysis and use of data on demographics, past elections and voter trends to inform a candidate’s campaign plan. Strategic election planning allows a candidate to efficiently and effectively utilize limited resources and time during campaigns while greatly increasing the chances of success. Female candidates for election can also greatly benefit from increased visibility as a result of effective branding and messaging using digital/social media platforms. Digital/social media can be a useful alternative platform for visibility for female candidates during the campaigns. Proper branding on these platforms can also lead to getting noticed and profiled on traditional media which ultimately leads to getting known by more electorates. Learning from, inspiration and motivation by senior elected female colleagues can also add great value to female candidates running for election, particularly for those running for the first time.

With funding from the Canada High Commission’s Fund for Local Initiative, Media Focus on Africa (MFA) is embarking on a project to support 20 women aspirants for various elective seats from the counties of Narok, Nyandarua, West Pokot and Kajiado. The goal of the project is “Strengthening the democratic participation of women in Kenya”.   These 4 counties were chosen because they are among those counties in Kenya that have some of the least numbers of elected women throughout Kenya’s history. The support in form of training will expose the women to Strategic election planning and digital media skills for campaigning. In addition the women shall receive motivation and inspiration from elected female colleagues. The project will run for the next 4-6 months.

This project is in line with MFA‘s priority focus area of gender equality. Over the last 5 years, MFA has implemented a number of exciting and successful projects on gender equality including the recently aired popular TV series ‘Ms President’. Gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls is at the core of the government of Canada International Policy- the Feminist International Assistance Policy.

Image courtesy of UN.

BARRIERS WOMEN FACE WHEN RUNNING FOR POLITICAL OFFICES

On July 29, 2021, The Canadian High Commission and Media Focus on Africa engaged in discussions with Ms President participants who will be vying for elective seats in the 2022 elections in Kenya. These discussions are part of Canada’s and MFA’s objective to promote and support women’s political participation. These discussions are going to take place over a period of months in the lead up to the elections.

In the discussions held at the High Commissioners Residence, the commission and MFA sought to understand the individual journey of the women, their experiences in their quest for leadership, the strategies they were putting in place and the barriers women face when they run for office.

Some of the conversations are captured in short video. Watch HERE

UGANDA MEDIA WEEK 2020

The 2020 Media Dialogues lasted a period of 7 days and included open discussions on ‘Scientific General Elections – Key issues for journalists’ followed with training sessions on: ‘Fake news and disinformation in times of elections – Fact Checking and verification’ and ‘Upholding independent journalism in scientific elections – principles of effective elections reporting’ held on Monday 7th September, 2020, in Gulu district. Over 30 participants attended.

 

MS PRESIDENT FINALISTS IN BRUSSELS

On 18-21 November 2019, Media Focus on Africa (MFA) and the five finalists of Ms President are invited to Brussels to attend a series of meetings with high representatives of the European Union. Ms President is a 26-episode TV reality show that aims to raise awareness on the role of women leadership in effective peace building and in countering violent extremism. The show featured a diverse group of 71 women who competed to become the first female President of Kenya.

Five finalists were selected for the final episodes which included a field campaign, a private meeting with the President of the Republic of Kenya, H.E Uhuru Kenyatta, a presidential live debate and a grand finale where the winner was announced. Kenyans were invited to vote for their preferred candidate through a free SMS platform. The 26 episodes aired on KTN and attracted more than 3.5 million viewers every week. Nereah Amondi Oketch was crowned first ‘’Ms President of Kenya’’. The impact of the project is already observed. Contestants have expressed an increase in their self-confidence, their power of influence at home, in their communities and on political level. It has given them a tremendous opportunity to network and promote the interest of women and girls in Kenya. Many of them have already expressed their intention to vie at the 2022 election.

The project also included capacity-building for women contestants, media practitioners and local civil-society organisations. Finally MFA and its project partner, Muslims for Human Rights (MUHURI), are currently organising 55 community dialogues in three violence-prone counties: Mombasa, Kilifi and Kwale. These dialogues will be attended by community, religious, youth and women leaders. The aim is to specifically counter violent extremism through the promotion of women leadership.

Thanks to the European Delegation to Kenya and the EU representatives in Brussels, a 4-day meeting was organised between MFA, the five finalists and EU representatives. During that week, MFA and the finalists will be engaging with Ms Hautala, Ms McGuinness, M. Fabio Massimo Castaldo – Vice-Presidents of the European Parliament, Ms. Sonya Reines-Djivanides – Executive Director of the European Peacebuilding Liaison Office, Sandra Kramer – Director DEVCO, EU relations, West and East Africa, members of the European Peace Building Office.

Finally MFA and the finalists will be meeting the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the European Commission, Ms Federica Mogherini. Through these meaningful meetings, MFA hopes to strengthen its current relationship with the European Union and to raise the voice of Kenyan women internationally.

EU head of Delegation in Kenya sent off the team to Brussels after a lengthy discussion on a way forward for increasing Women’s participation in high level decision making in government and corporations.

MFA wishes to thank its funding partners: the European Delegation to Kenya, Global Affairs Canada and Hivos.

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#MsPresident Season 2 winner @AngelMbuthia together with our Country Director @mangandomo paid a courtesy call to @unwomenkenya Country Representative @annamutavati and shared her plans to advance women's empowerment in the Kenya.

@EUinKenya @CanHCKenya

#SheCanLead https://t.co/pUpVJBBTlS
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Women are making their voices heard and breaking through the traditional barriers that have kept them out of the political arena. What role has #MsPresident played in this? Click the link below
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Today we celebrate all the amazing women who participated in the second season of Ms President. These women showed immense courage and heart, and we're so grateful for their contributions. Thank you, ladies!

#MsPresident https://t.co/ZiCt11kHJY
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May this new year bring you good health, wealth, and happiness.

#happyNewYear2023 https://t.co/dAmIfNAf3y
We at Media Focus on Africa Wish you and your loved ones a joyous Christmas season filled with hope, positivity, joy, and love.

Please note that our office will remain closed until 9th January.

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There is a great deal of research that suggests that when women are better represented politically, the prevalence of GBV (gender-based violence) decreases.
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#16DaysofActivism2022 https://t.co/P4Lthg595Z
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What are you doing about gender inclusivity in your Newsroom?

👉 @JoeWacha from @EtoilAKaramoja tells us...
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#SheCan
#MediaMattersUG
#Equality https://t.co/g4DyQravat
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How do we contextualize the loss and damage fund at the #COP27 for the #Ugandan audience? There’s need for a united front in creating awareness to trigger individual based #climateaction. - Jan Ajwang - @MFAUganda https://t.co/iKEkExI4rA MFAUganda photo