Final Report: Gender Assessment Conducted for the Kenya RAPID Program

Executive Summary

The Gender Assessment for the Kenya Resilient Arid Lands Partnership for Integrated Development (RAPID) Program (2015-2020) was commission by Millennium Water Alliance (MWA). The program was funded by US Agency for International Development (USAID), Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation (SDC), private sector partners and MWA members. The goal of the Gender assessment was to provide an in-depth analysis of how gender dynamics shape access to and control over water and rangeland management and services in five ASAL regions, namely: Garissa, Isiolo, Turkana,
Marsabit and Wajir. Specifically, the analysis focused on these objectives:
Objective 1: Conduct gender assessment using a standard gender analysis toolkit (acceptable to and approved by key stakeholders. Asses the gender roles and division of labour for men and women in use, involvement, participation, and management of water and rangeland resources. Analyse existing gender constraints (physical, financial, knowledge) and opportunities towards achieving increased access to, and
control over sustainable water services and improved rangeland management for women and girls. Assess the level of participation, representation, voice and leadership of women and men in water services and rangelands management and any inhibiting/supporting gender and social norms. Assess human resources competencies related to gender in water and rangelands management for MWA and its implementing agencies. Assess levels, needs, and gaps in financial allocations and resourcing of gender activities within the program.
Objective 2: Effective integration of gender issues into the proposed Kenya RAPID phase 2: Identify the existing women’s and men’s differentiated needs, interests, and incentives in terms of water and rangelands services. Develop a transformative gender responsive intervention for Kenya RAPID phase 2, in line with the program theory of change, to respond better to the needs and interests of the target groups and ensure gender equity. Develop key gender indicators for each of the intervention areas and integrate into RAPID phase 2 monitoring plan. The consultants are guided by the SDC’s Aggregated Reference Indicators (ARI) and Thematic Reference Indicators (TRI) (gender, water) of the International Cooperation Strategy 2021-24 where feasible. Develop concrete recommendations for the program’s human resource gender capacity support, continuous development, and financial allocations. To achieve the above objectives, the gender analysis team applied a gender transformative approach in the analysis and analysed gender on three levels, namely: macro (global and local policy, legal, and institutional framework, and practices) meso (market, community and service delivery) and micro level (household). The team further blended, four analytical lenses namely: Gender Equality and Women Empowerment
(GEWE); Gender Equality Continuum Tool, intersectionality lens and Social Relations Approach. A qualitative study was preferred for the gender analysis since it would generate nuanced information from the study context. A total of 304 study participants took part in the study through focus group discussions and key informant interviews. The study team consisted of five gender researchers and five research assistants and a data analyst. A detailed desk review preceded the primary data collection phase.

The key findings are as follows:
Gender Analysis of the Kenya RAPID Program and Gender Integration status: The Kenya RAPID Phase 1 program approaches and activities had important gains for gender equality in water and rangeland management and services and gender was a crosscutting thematic. The development of Water Acts in the counties, strengthening institutions and operational frameworks, increasing water access, inclusion of women in the decision-making spaces in water management lay a foundation where gender transformative approaches can be appropriately embedded in the next phase of the program. However, examined against the gender equality continuum tool, the program interventions fall between gender blind and gender accommodating and not gender transformative. Gender blind intervention means that gender considerations in the program were not informed by a systematic gender analysis to understand gendered needs, resources, risks, and access to and control over resources as well as gendered barriers in water and rangeland management. As such, some of the approaches particularly in-service delivery (meso) tended to be gender neutral. This was also evidenced in the program indicators. Gender accommodating means that there were no interventions to address the pervasive gender norms that drive gender inequality at macro, meso and micro levels in water and rangeland management. Rather, the program worked within these norms and did not monitor how gender relations were changing as well as how women and men interacted with Kenya RAPID activities and what this meant in terms of risks, access to and control over resources, gender roles, and decision making. The program did not have a gender
focal human resource to provide guidance and insights on to how to monitor these factors. The consulting team has provided important suggestions on to how the program could have and should embed a gender transformative lens in its activities at macro, meso and micro levels, by continuously addressing issues related to agency, structure, and gender relations.
Macro level findings indicate that while the Kenya RAPID Program supported development of water actors and other institutional policies, there are institutional gaps that weaken gender mainstreaming in water and rangeland management. For example, gender departments and water and rangeland departments, together are responsible for ensuring gender mainstreaming in the sector. However, lack of gender policies in the counties, gender strategy, gender assessment, audits, and inadequate understanding of how to integrate gender in water in rangeland is a major constraint. The State Department of Gender and the National Gender Equality Commission has provided guidelines and
policies to support counties with gender integration within a transformative approach. However, low financing and prioritisation of gender at the county level has hindered implementation. There is an opportunity for Kenya RAPID 2 to support strengthening of gender departments and water and rangeland gender integration processes, while guided by the existing policies and guidelines. Gender integration in rangeland management is still weak and all the counties are working on rangeland policies, there is an opportunity to ensure gender is integrated in a transformative manner quite early now that the process
is in its initial stages.

Meso level findings indicate that service delivery and private sector practices are still gender blind where different actors reported that lack of clarity on how to identify and integrate gender in service delivery beyond just disaggregating data. The dominant perception of gender as a women issue has resulted in weak engagement on norms that promote gender inequality. Weak laws and institutional limitations at the macro level have affected meaningful gender integration in water and rangeland service delivery. There is opportunity to enhance inclusive market system development with women empowerment
consideration, as a pathway towards gender transformation. Women and men are keen to start and control viable enterprises in water and rangeland. However, exposure to shocks like floods, lack of constant water supply in some areas, weakly adapted financial and information systems remain a barrier. Kenya recently launched the Women Economic Empowerment Strategy 2020-2025 and will provide counties with a guideline on how to develop gender transformative economic empowerment processes. Women and youth association are important spaces for leading advocacy on issues like inclusion, inclusive decision making and equitable labour distribution.
Micro level findings indicate that at the project sites, women and girls bear the brunt of reproductive burden including responsibility for securing water that affects their well-being. Despite changes brought about by education, increased income for women and project interventions including Kenya Rapid, gender relations have not changed much. Access and control over resources like water, land, livestock, information, skills, financial services and association is hampered by multiple factors like Gender norms that marginalize women voices, gender blind services that are not tailored to the gendered needs of women and men and these needs affect women disproportionately. Other factors include gender blind service delivery. There are multiple practical, and gender needs at macro, meso and micro levels that remain unaddressed as mapped in the study. Women decision making capabilities are improving with inclusion in decision making spaces like committees. However, productive, reproductive and community labour burdens hinder active participation. Gender Based Violence, as an outcome of increased position of women in project sites, and as a key fact of patriarchal study contexts, is often a normalized in the study sites. There is however a growing recognition of the effects of GBV, and some response mechanisms are in place but need strengthening. The study finds out that young women, young men and women voices are still marginalized in rangeland management.
The recommendations are guided by a gender transformative approach informed by the Gender Equality Framework (GEF). The framework recognises that underlying gender inequality are power inequalities that need to be challenged and addressed. The framework therefore provides an opportunity for continuous learning and leverages on the existing institutional capacities-built overtime in Kenya RAPID Phase 1 Program. GEF approach also encapsulates a systematic approach to gender integration and identifies
three key areas of changes change in relations which include addressing: Discriminatory social norms, customs, values and exclusionary practices (non-formal sphere) and laws, policies, procedures and services (formal sphere). Building agency which includes enhancing consciousness, confidence, self-esteem, and aspirations (Non-Formal Sphere) Knowledge, skills and capabilities (Formal Sphere) and Transforming Structures which includes addressing the power relations through which people live their lives through intimate relations and social networks (non-formal sphere), and group membership and activism, and citizen and market negotiations (formal sphere). Drawing on the frameworks the consultants identified five key domains that can be prioritized for Kenya RAPID 2, which can contribute to the transformation and building agency, changing gender and social relations, and transforming structures. They include Gender Mainstreaming and Integration in water and rangeland management and strengthening gender departments in each county. Promote and monitor equitable gender division of labour in water and rangeland management at household, community, and county level. Enhance Access to, and control over water and rangeland resources and assets by women and other marginalized groups. Enhance Gender Based Violence Prevention and Response Mechanisms and address risks in public and private spheres in water and rangelands. Promote processes that enhance Decision making and participation at household, county, community in water and rangeland for women and marginalized groups. Core gender indicators have been developed under each of the domains.