Campaign for an EAC Gender Equality and Development Bill

Campaign for an EAC Gender Equality and Development Bill

The campaign for an East African Community Protocol on Gender Equality has been a long one, and has been going on since 2008. The need for an EAC Gender Protocol came about following a situational analysis carried out by EASSI in 2008 to measure implementation of gender equality in the five EAC Partner States. The study confirmed that the countries were at different levels with regard to implementation of these instruments and that women were not equally enjoying the benefits of the East African Integration Process due in part, to these factors that inhibited their enjoyment of rights in their countries and subsequently at the EAC level.Following successful lobby and advocacy, the Protocol was accepted as a concept by the EAC in 2012.

However, with the passage of over five years since the advocacy begun in earnest, and with the bureaucratic hurdles appearing insurmountable, EASSI adopted an alternative approach of a Gender Bill which would still have the spirit of the Protocol but with a much less protracted process. The development of an EAC Gender Bill is a way of fast tracking the EAC Gender Protocol process to provide evidence for this campaign, and in order to accelerate the process of the Gender Bill, EASSI, in partnership with the Society for International Development (SID) conducted a regional study on the Cost and Implications of not having an EAC Gender Bill. (2014). This campaign outlined the gaps in economic, political, environmental and social sectors and reinforced EASSI’s regional gender analysis of 2008, showing once again that the countries had not leveled the playing field among themselves with regard to implementation of women’s rights and gender equality. Countries still remain at different levels and it is high time a unitary document which would act like a scorecard to measure government implementation of gender equality.

EASSI and SID also developed a Gender Monitoring and Evaluation Framework of the EAC Treaty, to help organizations monitor EACs work in relation to Gender Issues as outlined in the EAC Treaty. A number of key women’s rights organisations in the EAC are in possession of this tool and are using it to monitor different aspects of the EAC Treaty according to their own mandates. Its use will also highlight implementation gaps related to gender in the EAC treaty and back up the campaign for an EAC Gender Bill.

The compaign for an EAC Gender Equality Bill is currently supported by DIAKONIA.

Quick facts about the Gender Equality Bill

  •  In 2008, EASSI, with support from Sida, embarked on a project to advocate for an East African Protocol on Gender Equality.
  • This was inspired by the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Gender Protocol that identified core gender issues in the SADC region to which the members could be held accountable.
  • EASSI and its National Focal Points mobilised East African women and convened a regional and national fora in the East African Partner States of Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda.  These meetings resulted in formation of national and regional EAC Protocol Alliances.
  • Each country made a proposal on the priority issues they would like the Protocol to cover and a draft EAC Gender Protocol was produced and validated at national and regional levels.
  • EASSI’s role was to create as much synergy as possible over the EAC Gender Protocol Campaign with the East African Community Secretariat in General and the then newly created Gender Unit in particular.
  • EASSI and the EAC signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in July 2010 on the Gender Protocol.
  • In 2010, EASSI and SID produced a cutting edge EAC monitoring and evaluation framework 2013/2014 through a participatory process that involved the EAC Gender Protocol Alliance Members and women’s rights organizations from across the EAC.
  • The EAC accepted to adopt the draft Protocol as a working model and process it through its internal systems.
  • In 2012, the EAC Gender Protocol campaign experienced a big setback when the EAC established a Sectoral Council on Gender, Community Development, Youth and People with Disabilities (PWD) to replace the Forum of Ministers in charge of Women’s Affairs which had different ideas on the Gender Protocol.
  • The Sectoral Council proposed that the Gender Protocol should be an Omnibus Protocol incorporating all the sections in the Gender Unit, namely women, youth, the elderly, PWDs and other marginalized groups. This was not acceptable to the women and to the Alliance members.
  • It was later recommended that a Gender Bill be pursued instead of a Gender Protocol as the process for adoption of a Bill is more direct compared to that of a Protocol.
  • 2015, DIAKONIA takes on support for the Gender Bill.

Gender and Economic Development Projects

Women's Economic Justice Women's Economic Justice
Consolidating the gains of Women Cross Border Traders Consolidating the gains of Women Cross Border Traders
Women and Girls Empowerment Project (WOGE) Women and Girls Empowerment Project (WOGE)
Economic Empowerment for post conflict affected Women Economic Empowerment for post conflict affected Women

Gender, Conflict Prevention & Post Conflict Reconstruction Projects

Women's Rights and Gender Equality Projects

Men Engagement against Sexual and Gender Based Violence Men Engagement against Sexual and Gender Based Violence
Campaign for an EAC Gender Equality and Development Bill Campaign for an EAC Gender Equality and Development Bill
WAW Project (EAC Gender Barometer) WAW Project (EAC Gender Barometer)

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Copyright: EASSI 2016