“In 2010, Kenya began a process of devolution, moving decision-making power and budget responsibility for local services away from the capital and down to the county level. The principle behind devolution was that government would be closer to the people, so that they can have a say in what kind of developments are needed in their community, and county government would become more accountable to those they are serving.
But, although devolution has been in place for more than half a decade now, we still see that women are not participating in these decision-making processes – often because they don’t have the time, the knowledge or the opportunity to do so.”
“We want to include women in local policy issues by ‘going to where they are’ and helping them to engage with governance processes. Our organisation, Umande Trust, works with communities in the slums of Nairobi. One of the things we do is set up sanitation centres targeted at providing sanitation and hygiene services for women. We want to work through these centres to engage women so they can make their voices heard in local policy.
We’ll provide mobile phones and other ICT tools to women who come to the sanitation centres, and we´ll train them how they can share information with the county government through an existing online platform. We were involved in setting up this platform, and so we are confident that this is a place where women can safely and effectively interact with officials.
In the end we want to leave a legacy of better-trained and technology-confident women who are able to explore and make changes around issues they find important.”
The Awards Ceremony was held in Accra, Ghana and umande trust was represented by Benazir Douglas and Eric Onduru.