The Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), as described by UNWomen, is “a global policy-making body, and a functional commission of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), dedicated exclusively to the promotion of gender equality and the advancement of women. Every year, representatives of Member States gather at the United Nations Headquarters in New York to evaluate progress on gender equality, identify challenges, set global standards and formulate concrete policies to promote gender equality and advancement of women worldwide”.
The themes for the 57th CSW session were:
- The elimination and prevention of all forms of violence against women and girls
- The equal sharing of responsibilities between women and men, including care-giving in the context of HIV/AIDS
The MenEngage Kenya Network (MenKen) was privileged to be sponsored by Sonke to attend this year’s CSW. It was the first time MenKen was appointed to represent the MenEngage Africa Network. The conference ran from 5th -15th March 2013 with high expectations of reaching concrete conclusions, especially in light of the failure the previous year to reach agreement. True to the objectives of the meeting, Kenya was applauded as being one of the few countries that meaningfully engaged civil society organisations in their CSW delegation. Kenya’s delegation included top government officials led by Dr. Naomi Shaban, the then Minister for Gender, Children and Social Development (MOGCSD), her assistant minister Attanas Manyala, Permanent Secretary Profesoor Jacquline Oduol, and many others. The delegation was then supported by civil society organisations including MenKen; the Coalition on Violence against Women; Gender Violence Recovery Centre; and UN bodies represented by UNWOMEN.
The Kenya delegation participated in the sessions with a keen interest in learning from and sharing experiences with other countries on related interventions. MenKen also gave sessions on engaging boys and men in GBV and HIV prevention, which were joined by Sonke’s Bafana Khumalo and Itumeleng Komanyane who participated as panelists with other MenEngage Africa partners such as HOPEM-Mozambique. MenKen also developed other partnerships with like-minded organisations in the country such as the Kenya Literature Bureau and Agency for Cooperation, Research and Development. CSW created a great opportunity for MenKen to create linkages with the MOGCSD that would be beneficial to its UNTF funded project that seeks to strengthen the implementation of GBV laws and policies in Kenya.
The Kenyan delegation left CSW57 with country-specific conclusions such as having a progressive budget for GBV interventions, adequate male involvement and a commitment to creating a centralized data collection and sharing system on GBV and HIV. All these conclusions will be concretised during a post–CSW meeting that will be hosted by MOGCSD in the near future. MenKen looks forward to implementing the agreed conclusions through its interventions and engaging in more meaningful engagement come CSW58.
By Catherine Githae (MenKen)