What Say Do Women Have in Kenya's Peace and Security?
Institute for Security Studies
In March, Kenya became one of 60 countries to have developed an action plan to support the implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 (UNSCR 1325), on women, peace and security. Besides the principles of the 2010 Constitution, the action plan – like the resolution – focuses on four pillars, namely prevention; protection; participation and promotion; and relief and recovery.

But even as the country celebrates this milestone, the engagement of Kenyan women in the security affairs of the country remains mixed. This is particularly evident in addressing challenges surrounding radicalisation and violent extremism.

Kenya’s action plan was launched on International Women’s Day, earlier this year, under the theme ‘Kuhusisha Wanawake ni Kudumisha Amani’ (meaning ‘to involve women is to sustain peace’). The action plan is timely given the serious security threats posed by radicalisation and violent extremism, and the challenges the country faces in effectively responding to these.
Many Kenyan women have taken an active role in countering this scourge, particularly at the family and community level. The action plan acknowledges that women can play specific roles in this regard; particularly given their unique access and influence in the household and community. In addition, women also offer valuable insights and perspectives in how related policies and practices can be strengthened.