Nairobi, 13 November 2019: A group of women under the Civil Society Grassroots Women Parliament have called on the conveners of the ongoing ICPD conference to give attention to the needs of women and girls from low income communities in Kenya.
The group of about 200 women drawn from Mathare and other low income neighborhoods, commonly referred to as the Bunge La Wamama Mashinani, gathered at Jevanjee Gardens Wednesday morning to express their support for women’s right to universal healthcare, including reproductive health.
Their sentiments were in line with commitments made by President Uhuru Kenyatta Tuesday when he convened the 25th Edition of the ICPD conference at KICC.
“We also believe that the gains that have been achieved in the last 25 years are in danger of being swept away as patriarchal systems seek to undo the gains for women and girls,” said Ruth Mumbi, the group’s spokesperson.
Ms Mumbi called on the state parties at ICPD to follow through on their commitment while giving particular attention to women from low income communities, many of whom could not gain access to the main conference venue.
“We need you to commit to gender equality by eliminating all barriers to the effective participation and contribution of women to society socio-economically and politically by eliminating electoral violence, enhancing the women’s access to funds, and fighting retrogressive cultural practices such as female genital mutilation,” she said.
The women also urged President Kenyatta as well as the conference conveners to live up to the many commitments highlighted during the event, including:
- Enhancing the universal access to family planning, contraceptives and reproductive healthcare by devoting resources, capital and human, as well as political will in order to reduce the gaps in access to family planning, contraceptives and reproductive healthcare.
- Eliminating obstacles that stand in the way to the empowerment of women and young girls by fighting obstacles such as femicide, sexual and gender based violence, teenage pregnancies and child marriages.
- Formulating and operationalizing a national sexual education framework
- Addressing the issue of unsafe abortions and enhancing the access and coverage to post-abortion care.
- Reducing maternal, infant and under-five child mortality.
- Addressing the issue of population displacements and forceful evictions particularly in low and income neighbourhoods.
- Committing to a safer and cleaner environment by addressing pollution and devoting resources to efficient waste management systems in order to reduce environmentally induced reproductive complications.
- Enhancing the access to proper sanitation and clean and safe water particularly to low income neighbourhoods
Bunge La Wamama Mashinani (Grassroots Women Parliament in English) is a Kenyan social movement enabling grass-root women in informal settlements to engage with each other, have access to education, information and training opportunities.