Date: 19th – 20th June 2023, 0800 – 1300 hours
Place: Nairobi, Kenya
On 23rd February 2023, KICTANet in partnership with International Centre for Non-Profit Law (ICNL) held a consultative meeting with civil society organizations to discuss and raise awareness on the impact of public internet access on women’s engagement in public participation.
One of the key findings from the meeting was that apart from internet access, civil society organizations need capacity building on the use of technology to enhance their public participation efforts. This area, also referred to as civic tech, is vital for civil society organizations to find information on policy and legal developments and more efficient ways to submit comments to the government.
Women’s engagement in civil society and decision-making processes is integral to democracy, sustainable development, and peace. As such, women’s equal participation and leadership in political and public life are both key objectives and tools to realize benchmarks set by international actors, such as the Sustainable Development Goals 2030 and the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action. Despite widespread recognition and commitment to enhancing women in decision-making, women are underrepresented at all levels of decision-making at a global level—only 24.3% of parliamentarians and 17% of heads of State around the world are women. State and non-state actors also continue to restrict women’s ability to participate in the public sphere, such as through violating women’s rights to the freedoms of peaceful assembly and association, online and offline. Moreover, the digital gender divide hinders women’s ability to participate in the public sphere.
In Kenya, there continues to be room for improvement in women’s participation in public life, including decision-making processes. Women hold 21.6% of seats in the national parliament and 33.5% of elected seats in the deliberative bodies of local government. Women continue to face gender-specific barriers to public participation, including gender-based violence and lack of internet access. For example, a 2021 study found that 35% of women are advanced digital services users, compared to 54% of men.
This training builds on the consultative meeting held on 23rd February 2023 and will give representatives from CSOs concrete practical ways to use tech to enhance women’s engagement in public participation. To bridge this gap, KICTANet will develop a curriculum for women’s engagement in public participation using technology.
Objectives of the Training
The objective of the roundtable meeting is to:
- To cultivate a critical awareness of the significance of public involvement in decision-making with respect to exclusion issues, practical challenges and concerns and ICT policy contexts;
- To become familiar with a variety of interactive ICT techniques and comprehend appropriate applications for e-public participation; and
- Acquiring the information and abilities necessary to plan, coordinate, and submit input in response to calls for public participation in laws and policies.
From this training, it is expected that:
- Participants will understand the legal and policy issues on ICTs which are subject to public participation.
- Participants will be able to use interactive ICT techniques and practical skills that they acquire for e-public participation.
- Participants will draft an action plan for their respective organizations to leverage civic tech in their public participation engagements.
- Participants will prepare (and submit) written comments in response to a current call for public participation.
Format of the Event
The event will run as a workshop. Active participation in the discussion will be essential. Participants will be expected to participate in practical exercises in public participation.
Since this is a follow-up, the meeting will aim to bring together at least 30 participants who represented CSOs working on women’s rights and youth governance and other opinion shapers who influence conversations both online and offline, to enhance partnerships, sharing of knowledge and emerging best practice on women’s data protection and privacy.