Kenya counter terror agency and UN Women commit to integrate gender equality into national policy


UN Women Deputy Country Representative Dan Bazira and Kenya's National Counter-Terrorism Director Dr Rosalind Nyawira during the MoU signing.
UN Women Deputy Country Representative Dan Bazira and Kenya's National Counter Terrorism Director Dr Rosalind Nyawira during the MoU signing. Photo: NCTC


Kenya’s National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) and UN Women Kenya signed an agreement that will ensure the country’s prevention and countering violent extremism (C/PVE) structures incorporate gender equality principles.

The memorandum of understanding (MoU) contains a series of priority areas of cooperation that will increase women’s participation in decision making structures of the sector and dedicating policy. UN Women will provide technical input to:

i)  Advancing gender equality and women's empowerment in the prevention and counter violent extremism space.

ii)  Creating an enabling policy environment, strengthen institutions and build the capacities of relevant stakeholders on gender in PCVE

iii)  Strengthening knowledge and evidence generation on the gender dimension of PCVE, including new emerging spaces such as online spaces, to inform policy, programme, and operations. 
An agreement between the UN and a national counterterrorism agency is the first of its kind in the East African Region, showing willingness of the Kenyan Government to meaningfully progress within a traditionally male-dominated security sector. Speaking during the signing, UN Women Deputy Country Representative to Kenya, Dan Bazira, highlighted the importance for national institutions to incorporate specific gender policies and programmes which will complement gender mainstreaming: 
"Women and girls experience unique and disproportionate effects of violent extremism. This MoU follows international standards for integrating the voices and lived realities of women and girls in preventing violent extremism. We look forward to implementing this exciting partnership."

Women are frequently seen only as victims of violent extremism but in reality, play multiple roles. In Kenya, they are on the frontlines of prevention and response, leading civil society organisations to promote peace.  The MoU will seek to harness such leadership and give further support to the next generation of peacebuilders to add their voice to their community's most critical discussions.

The international community recognizes the gender dimensions of violent extremism within the Women Peace and Security (WPS) agenda. The Security Council has adopted 10 resolutions on Women Peace and Security (WPS) since 2000.  Together with Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and the Beijing Platform for Action (1995), they form the international policy framework on WPS. In 2015, the UN Security Council resolution 2242 encouraged Member States and the United Nations to ensure greater integration of their agendas on women, peace and security (WPS), counter-terrorism and countering violent extremism.