The contribution of the Kenya women parliamentary association in strengthening democracy in Kenya
This was a cross-sectional study on the contribution of the Kenya Women Parliamentary Association (KEWOPA) to strengthening democracy in Kenya. Specifically, the study sought to describe the extent to which KEWOPA has strengthened democracy and identify the challenges KEWOPA has faced in its endeavours to strengthen democracy in Kenya. This study was guided by the theory of liberal feminism whereas data were collected through in-depth interviews and key informant interviews. The study findings indicate that the caucus serves to consolidate the agenda of women and becomes the platform upon which strategic role in changing legislation, boosting general welfare and serves to amplify women’s voices. This conception is manifested in the gender-aware legislations drafted and moved by KEWOPA members, the welfare and reproductive health advocacy projects initiated in the communities and the consultative approach exhibited by women leadership in their constituencies which remain significant values of democracy. On the other hand, feminization of the caucus’ work by male parliamentarians, the numerically dismal number of women relative to men thus disadvantaging their voting power in parliament as well as committee leadership representation, low technical capacity in navigating the institution of Parliament with Bills, dependence on donor-funding to facilitate their activities, political party differences in terms of priorities and subsequent membership allegiances, are amongst challenges facing KEWOPA. The study concludes that the Women Parliamentary Caucus has played and continues to play a significant role in the democratic process in Kenya. The approaches used by the caucus, amongst them legislation, parliamentary leadership, institutionalization of gender lenses in resource allocation, parliamentary language and its norms and in the vii whole question of representational politics have been lauded in the study as indicators of women’s contribution to the principle of equity and equality in democratic governance. The study, therefore, recommends that members of KEWOPA should be empowered through capacity building.
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