Nairobi–April 26, 2021
Global Communities under the USAID funded – Cooperatives Leadership Engagement Advocacy and Research (CLEAR) Program has designed and is delivering virtually, a Gender Equity and Good Governance Training for cooperatives and county cooperative officers. The training design was informed by gender inequalities that have negatively impacted the performance of Kenya’s cooperatives. Gender inequality has further been exacerbated by COVID-19 pandemic. A recent study contributed to by Global Communities revealed that 40% of Kenyan cooperatives reported observing a significant increase in gender-based violence (GBV) cases.
This capacity building initiative, conducted in two phases of four half days each, commenced in February and ran through April 2021. Global Communities’ Gender Specialist piloted the training guide with cooperative leaders and County Cooperative Officers.
The modules covered during the sessions included: Values clarification on Gender and cooperatives; Gender and Gender Norms; Gender Mainstreaming in Cooperatives; GBV and Sexual harassment; Governance in Cooperatives and conflict management. The training seeks to improve gender equity in cooperatives and also in the households.
CLEAR Chief of Party, Kristin Wilcox Feldman remarked: “We recognize the importance of strengthening cooperatives by improving gender equity and good governance which is critical in achieving gender equality and women’s empowerment. This involves transforming gender norms in cooperative leadership, embracing changing roles and gender power dynamics as well as addressing negative outcomes of the later such as gender based violence. This is essential in increasing economic participation of cooperators and county revenue growth. “
County Officers committed to transforming cooperatives in their counties by: strengthening the capacity of staff and cooperative members through sensitization meetings; implementing the 2/3 gender-rule during the elections; having gender-responsive budgeting; supporting economic activities that directly benefit women developing code of conduct to prevent GBV; establishing sub-committees to mitigate on GBV cases and introduction of mediation centers among others.
“Personally I am different from when I began the training and I will be able to bring change when I go back” said Margaret, a Cooperative Officer from Kilifi County.
Improving gender equity and good governance in cooperatives is beneficial to cooperatives as it leads to improved conditions of work and more time for income earning activities; increased decision-making roles; more participation in community affairs; and improved access to business capital and market. All these aspects conglomerate to build resilience of cooperatives and members to withstand shocks due to a wide range of resources and actors.
To date, this initiative has reached cooperative officers and cooperators from ten county governments including: Nairobi, Mombasa, Kilifi, Taita/Taveta, Makueni, Kiambu, Nyeri, Nandi, Narok, Kericho and Homa Bay. The Gender Equity and Good Governance Guide was originally developed in Rwanda and has been adapted for Kenyan cooperatives, this piloting process is just the first step in a larger role out of the program!
For further information, please contact USAID/CLEAR’s Communications and PR Specialist, Stephine Ogutu through firstname.lastname@example.org or Gender Specialist, Frederick Nyagah via email@example.com .