The Kenyan National Action Plan (NAP) was launched on International Women´s Day (8 March 2016). The NAP was created to establish a framework, strategies, and actions for coordinated implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 (UNSCR 1325). The NAP was entitled “Kuhusisha Wanawake ni Kudumisha Amani,” which means “to involve women is to sustain peace”. Kenya’s new constitution, which includes a focus on women’s participation in public affairs, was signed in August 2010 and was part of the catalyst to create the NAP. The Kenya NAP has both an internal and external focus and encompasses all the pillars of UNSCR 1325: Participation and Promotion; Prevention; Protection; as well as Relief and Recovery.
The introduction of the NAP comes nine years after the deadly violence surrounding the Kenyan national election. That ethnic violence, which lasted from 2007 until early 2008, claimed approximately 1,500 lives and was characterised by many instances of sexual violence, including approximately 3,000 rapes. Survivors of sexual violence suffered significant physical and psychological trauma and socioeconomic hardship, worsened by the Kenyan government’s failure to provide measures such as medical care and psychosocial support. The conflict drew national and international attention and prompted the establishment of a Truth, Justice, and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC). More recently, there have been threats to Kenya’s peace and security by Al Qaeda and Al Shabaab terrorist groups operating within Kenya’s boundaries and in neighbouring Somalia. Women’s security is greatly affected by these attacks by extremist groups. Furthermore, the proliferation of small arms is growing, with the post-2007 election violence increasing the urgency of small arms reduction efforts. Small arms are often associated with sexual violence, which remains a significant problem in Kenya; a 2010 national survey suggested that 32% of girls experienced sexual violence before adulthood. Some reports additionally indicate that rape is not taken seriously by authorities as a crime. Kenya is a patriarchal society in which gender-based discrimination prevents women from fully participating in the private and public sphere, and a lack of financial independence can leave women vulnerable to domestic violence.
Although the Kenya National Action Plan mentions the threat of violence by terrorist organisations, the proliferation of small arms, and their gendered impact on women, they make no specific commitments to disarmament other than incorporating a gender perspective and analysis into disarmament, demobilisation, and rehabilitation initiatives.