Kenya unites women peacebuilders through new national network

Country’s National Women’s Peace Committee Network provide platform for the country’s female peace and security leaders


Local peace builders celebrate UNSCR1325 anniversary in Isiolo County, Kenya. Credit: Luke Horswell

Local peace builders celebrate UNSCR1325 anniversary in Isiolo County, Kenya. Photo: UN Women Kenya/Luke Horswell

Kenya’s peace and security agenda has been strengthened by the formation of the National Women’s Peace Committee Network. The network brings together women, including young women in leadership in the country’s county peace structures – civilian led organisations installed across the country to resolve pressing security issues.

The initiative will connect local level action to the national agenda and advocate for women’s meaningful participation in conflict prevention and peacebuilding, while serving as an early warning and rapid response mechanism. The network reflects Kenya’s efforts to localise the UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security, guided by the Kenya National Action Plan on Women Peace and Security. Since the inception of Kenya’s National Action Plan, now in its second phase, female participation in County Peace Committees has seen a two-fold increase between 2013 (14%) and 2019 (29%).

The network was unveiled at Kenya’s national celebration of anniversary of UNSCR1325 in Isiolo County. Cabinet Secretary Prof. Margaret Kobia attended the event and highlighted the KNAP role in this positive trend:

“This [increase] can be attributed directly to Kenya’s commitment to the WPS agenda, improved policy environment and increased awareness of state and peace and security actors on the value addition of women’s meaningful participation in peace and security. This was noted in the 2020/2021 Women Peace and Security Index published last week, recognizing Kenya as one of the top countries with overall improved ratings since the inaugural index report in 2017 moving from 107 to 90 in 2021.”

UN Women Country Representative Anna Mutavati stressed the importance of this network, “as we near the electioneering period, which has been associated with conflict and distrust in the past. The network will serve as peace ambassadors in the counties disseminating peace messages and de-escalating potential conflicts before they turn violent.”