Kenya ought to participate actively in regional processes

Continentally, Kenya is regarded as the New York of Africa, and a lot of countries drawn from the East, West, and South try to follow in our footsteps with regards to the way of working amongst other critical issues like trade, development, and regional policy, law, systems as well processes.

Regional policy processes accelerate national actions, work, and even programs and in turn feed into the regional block successes.

Kenya remains a signatory to quite a number of regional treaties, declarations, and conventions and even a member of some regional, and global platforms that aim to develop growth, trade, and socio-economic issues among other issues of interest that we have.

Kenya remains one of the signatories to the Sustainable development goals, right after the Millennium development goals lapsed, and quite frankly the Ministry of Devolution where the SDGs are anchored has released, link government programs to the implementation and attainment of the SDGs from the national to the county level.

Within socio-economic issues and specific health issues, Kenya has signed and ratified quite a number of regional documents and processes. Even though implementation, ownership, localizing, and resourcing remain a challenge, Kenya has put itself on the map boldly in support of some of these regional processes. Among the treaties, and declarations that Kenya has signed is the Maputo Protocol, GEF Commitments, EAC treaty that is anchored within the EAC Region, ICPD and its commitments given by President Uhuru Kenyatta during ICPD25+

We have a very progressive Constitution and to some extent, a very conducive environment to work, live, and stay in. Cherry-picking of regional documents and treaties that aim to advance growth should be shunned away from, as it in turn excludes its citizens from the regional successes and platforms. Kenya sets precedence in some of the policy, programming, cases, and work and we have seen through receiving a lot of delegations from African countries to learn and understand how we make our laws amongst other best practices.

Among some of the commitments that Kenya has not recommitted to despite the high burden of issues presented by socio-economic status and challenges is the Eastern and Southern Africa commitments (ESA) on Comprehensive Sexuality education that aim to advance access to information on reproductive health issues for the Adolescents and young people within the region.

What fear do we have with Comprehensive Sexuality Education? Why are we not progressively thinking about how we support our adolescents and young people with access to information, and services relating to Reproductive health? What are some of these long, tightly held values that we do not want to let go of and advance just like the others?

We have a very progressive Constitution of Kenya that lists Citizen’s rights, and freedom amongst other laws that support the Constitution of Kenya 2010. While other countries within the ESA region have signed onto this commitment to providing support, Kenya has not. This is against a background of triple if not more, threats, and burden of reproductive health issues that the Kenyan Adolescent and Youth continue to face like HIV, SGBV, and the ever increasingly pregnancies.

We continue to bury our heads in the sun when we don’t fully program holistically on issues that adolescents and young people continue to face. We must continue to hold to account our countries for better development through regional processes and platforms that continue to advance and accelerate Kenya’s growth.

Recommitting to the ESA Commitments on the provision of CSE will see to it that access to information on Reproductive is provided for, which will save lives.  Recommitting will further ensure that Kenya reduces its spending on resources directed to treating the burden of issues and in turn avail of preventative information and services to help its Youth.

Alvin Mwangi is a Nairobi-based Youth Activist

Twitter: @alvinmwangi254

  

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