The State of Israel and UN Women Regional Office for Eastern and Southern Africa Strengthen Commitment for Gender Empowerment in Africa

Date: Thursday, November 3, 2016

Ambassador and Zed

The Ambassador of the State of Israel to Kenya, H.E Yahel Vilan and the UN Women Regional Director, Izeduwa Derex-Briggs.  Photo: UN Women/Patterson Siema

The Ambassador of the State of Israel to Kenya, H.E Yahel Vilan and the UN Women Regional Director, Izeduwa Derex-Briggs, resolved to direct efforts towards addressing development challenges facing women in Africa. This followed a courtesy call by H.E Ambassador Yahel Vilan, the Israeli Ambassador to Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Malawi and Seychelles. The two organizations have an MOU to collaborate on in peace and security, agriculture and transformational leadership development.

  • Both the Ambassador and the Director reiterated that lack of good governance is a challenge that hinders Africa’s development and continue to be a big challenge for the continent. To address this challenge, the existing collaboration between the Israeli aid agency (MASHAV) and the UN Women founded Africa Centre for Transformative and Inclusive Leadership ACTIL) will be strengthened. The Center hosted at Kenyatta University seeks to create transformative leaders especially women and youth in all sectors of society who are then expected to drive accelerated, equitable and sustainable development within a highly dynamic global environment.

  • On peace and security, the Ambassador and the Director discussed how to deepen their regional cooperation premised on the understanding that conflict impacts on women differently, hence the need to focus on the role of women in conflict management both as victims as well as peace builders. Several countries in Eastern and Southern Africa are in conflict or are facing a post conflict situation with women being the most affected.

  • Regarding agriculture as an economic enabler for women, the Ambassador and the Director committed to working closely to introduce new agricultural technology to boost farm produce and address post-harvest losses. This will be centered around training and introduction of sustainable farming methods within grassroots community organizations.

  • The UN Women Director reiterated that the Embassy’s priority areas and regional approach fits well in the “Africa Strategy” emerging approach for greater impact; the African strategy is important in pitching interventions within the African context, to this end, the UN Women Regional Director, observed that “women in Africa face several challenges and that any intervention, including training should be contextualized, including use of local language, so as to develop a cadre of transformed women”

  • Both partners reiterated that, although efforts were made to train women in Transformational leadership, the need to develop mechanism for tracking alumni by ACTIL was a noble idea that needed concerted efforts

  • The UN Women Regional Director extended an advance invitation to the Ambassador during the forth-coming Donors Break-fast meeting to be hosted by UN Women. 
Group Picture