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