In Kenya, Diakonia works with democracy and human rights, social and economic justice and disaster reduction and resilience. Together with our partner organizations, we raise awareness among citizens about their rights and responsibilities, and mobilise people to take action and exert influence regarding common interests.
Kenya has a population of over 40 million that is predominantly young. The unemployment rate is around 40 per cent and about half of the population live below the poverty line. Kenya faces several challenges: a significant income gap between genders and between urban and rural communities, and a need for substantial constitutional and legal reforms. Kenya has a newly developed system of governance and has recently discovered the potential for oil, gas and other natural resources. The extractive industry is set to overtake agriculture as the main source of income for the country.
Working towards fair elections
Bolstering citizens’ participation for greater accountability is an area of significant interest to Diakonia in Kenya. We do this by supporting organizations that raise awareness among citizens about their rights and organize the population around common interests. For example, Diakonia’s partners work with people at grassroots level to strengthen participation in the provision of public services and issues regarding the management of public finances, including advocacy for anti-corruption and working towards peaceful, free and fair elections.
Our work on access to justice focuses on institutions such as the police, the judiciary, the prisons and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution. Diakonia’s aim is to strengthen police reforms, support counties in establishing county police authorities and pursue an anti-corruption agenda within organizations such as the police. Within the judiciary, our work revolves around policy advocacy for alternative dispute resolution mechanisms, and regarding prisons, we want to follow up on prison reforms and the implementation of bail and bond policy, among other critical policy issues.
Diakonia’s work makes a difference
During 2016, there was an increase in polarisation in Kenyan politics between the government and the opposition, with street protests and demonstrations resulting in injuries, destruction of property and threats to the economy and the peace of the nation. With both the government and the opposition taking hardline positions, the religious leaders became the voice of reason. Diakonia’s work on democracy has always acknowledged the strength of the religious leaders, and this strategy proved to be successful during the 2013 general elections, when they played the role of mediators. So while the country was bleeding from the protests and demonstrations, Diakonia supported the religious leaders in developing a framework that would see the return to dialogue on the divisive issue of the disbandment of the electoral body (which was at the heart of the conflict).
Diakonia helped finance the hiring of consultants to provide support to the religious leaders, and when the framework had eventually been developed, the religious leaders presented their recommendations to the president, Parliament and the opposition leaders. The street demonstrations ceased and a dialogue process was firmly established, with all sides agreeing on a common solution to the challenges facing the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC). Through this support, the credibility of the religious leaders was affirmed and three of our partners (the National Council of Churches of Kenya, the Inter-Religious Council of Kenya and the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops) were requested to provide nominees to sit on the IEBC recruitment panel. The recruitment process for the IEBC commissioners is in progress and it is hoped that this will lead to a peaceful, free and fair general election in 2017.
Read more about our work in Kenya
Kenya: He traded his gun for a garden hoeNamwomwa Yakobo used to be a cattle rustler but after two of his best friends were killed in front of him, he decided he’d had enough. Putting away his gun, he’s now growing mangos and vegetables to feed his...
Nereah in Kenya won the fight for her landIn Kenya, paralegals at the Diakonia partner ADS Nyanza has supported the brave widow Nereah Otieno in her struggle for the right to the land that is righgtfully hers.
Beldine in Kenya makes sure the politicians do their jobPreviously, politicians would make promises about building roads or a better school, talking as if it were their money. “We just thanked them humbly,” says change maker Beldine Olonde in Migori, western Kenya.... Beldine makes sure the politicians do their job
Michael in Kenya makes sure those in power listen to the peopleMichael Migori in western Kenya is a passionate change maker. “I feel bad when people’s rights are violated. That’s why I’ve chosen to devote my life to this,” he says. Michael in Kenya makes sure the people are in power
Tabitha in Kenya set up a cottage hospitalDespite being only 28 years old, Tabitha Achieng Ogungu emanates a rare sense of calm, similar to the wisdom of an old woman. Tabitha moves slowly. When she opens her mouth, the words flow slowly out of her.... Tabitha in Kenya set up a cottage hospital
Gladys in Kenya transformed her lifeGladys overcame the obstacles of widowhood and archaic traditional practices to become economically empowered to create sustainable livelihood for herself and her children. Read more about Gladys
Kenya: Opening up political space for womenBefore 2007, Beatrice Kanoti never imagined that she would be a well known public and even political figure in Sio Port, Western Kenya. Today things are different and she dreams of a political seat in order to...
Kenya: Life goes on - despite HIVJohn Oluoch's has HIV and his closest family considered him as already dead. But today his life has returned almost to normal, thanks to the committed effort of Wycliffe Kidera who is active as a paralegal in the Diakonia programme Lake Victoria Rights. Read more about John
Mithika – a climate change activistMithika Mwenda is a passionate changemaker who is working courageously alongside others so that people living in poverty can gain power over their own lives. Mithika Mwenda leads PACJA, Africa's largest climate network
Annabelle Waititu – passionate about organizing womenAnnabelle Waititu is a passionate changemaker who is working courageously alongside others so that people living in poverty can gain power over their own lives. Annabelle in Kenya fights for the right to clean water and for women's rights