On December 9, eve of International Human Rights Day, Hivos launched Voice nationally. While Voice in Kenya is coordinated by Hivos, at a global level Voice is executed in consortium with Oxfam Novib and funded by the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Kenya remains a highly unequal society by income, by gender, and by geographical location. Poverty is highest in the arid and semi-arid areas that cover about 80% of the country and are inhabited by about 20% of the population. The proportion of the population living below absolute poverty hail from Turkana, Mandera, Wajir, Marsabit, Tana River, Samburu, Kwale, West Pokot, Isiolo and Makueni Counties. Wide disparities also exist between urban and rural areas, with 85 per cent of all poor people living in rural areas while the majority of the urban poor live in slums and peri-urban settlements. Urban households are more likely to have access to health care, schools and piped water than those in rural areas.
Rapid population growth is another major challenge, further complicated by high unemployment rates especially among the youth. Within the same context, gender disparities in employment opportunities and economic investment patterns in Kenya have continued to widen across all sectors of the economy and at various levels of development. Part of the reason for the persistent inequity is the slow pace of mainstreaming gender into job creation and poverty eradication policies, programmes and strategies in a coordinated, multi-sectoral and integral way. The other reason relates to the existence of social, cultural and structural barriers to effective female participation in the labour force, as well as in the political spheres.
Although the Constitution of Kenya (2010) has provided quite progressive mandates to ensure the marginalised groups (women, youth and PWDs) and ethnic minorities are empowered, it did not entrench mechanisms for achieving this, and left the implementation to groups and institutions without incentives to implement the provisions.