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September 1- 30, 2014
A monthly newspaper by the Media Diversity Centre, a project of African Woman and Child Feature Service
Kenya registers slight progress on MDGs Meeting certain targets has been slow, but education applauded By Charlotte Kay Critics of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals say not much progress has been achieved as its deadline approaches next year. They accuse the United Nations of having imposed the Millennium Development Goals on developing countries 15 years ago and had failed to consider some of the most critical issues that face such states. This is coming just a few days to the United Nations General assembly whose key topic of discussion this year will be the post-2015 development agenda. The Post-2015 Development Agenda is that which looks at what will happen beyond the period that was set for the Millennium Development Goals that were raised in 2000 and given a 15 year time frame. The Post-2015 Development Agenda refers to a process led by the United Nations that aims to help define the future global development framework that will succeed the Millennium Development Goals.
The Post-2015 Development Agenda is important because delivering a better future for all requires action by all — Governments, corporations, citizens, consumers, workers, investors and educators. Undoubtedly, the private sector has a central role to play. As the world’s main source of economic activity, business is at the heart of virtually any widespread improvements in living standards. Indeed, although Kenya’s progress towards the achievement of the Millennium Devel-
opment Goals remains on track, progress on some of targets has been slow. In shaping the future global development framework, consultations are being held to address emerging issues. To tackle developmental matters beyond 2015, discussion forums have been held globally and at the national level. Such forums are discussing the post-2015 Development Agenda trying to address the gaps that the Millennium Development Goals left out. Locally, members of the civil society organisations have been holding consultative forums in Nairobi where they discussed the way forward.
In the discussions some of the issues raised included citizen participation, accountability, ownership and creation of partnerships for the Post-2015 Development Agenda. The Country Director for the World Wide Fund for Nature, Dr Jared Bosire noted that there was need to streamline the Post-2015 Development Agenda goals with the national needs by promoting partnerships with various groups in the country. “For there to be a sense of ownership of the Post-2015 Development Agenda, there is need to include environmental issues so as to make meaningful gains,” said Bosire. The Millennium Development Goals have been criticised for lacking a performance measure indicator because of lack of statistics to ascertain its successes and/or failures. According to James Gatanga, an official with the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics
A child is immunised in a public. The Kenyan Government is struggling to meet targets of reducing child mortality within MDGs: Photo AWC. (KNBS): “Some of the targets the Millennium Development Goals set to attain have been unattainable. These include reduction of carbon emissions; as such data are not available in Kenya and other African countries.” However, Shelia Najisia of the Ministry of Devolution and Planning observes that Kenya has been able to make remarkable strides in achieving the second MDG, which is to ensure Universal Primary education by 2015. According to an ICT survey, there has been a steady increase in primary schools enrolment rate from 67.8 per cent in 2000 to 95.3 per cent in the year 2012. This has been attributed to free primary school education that was introduced by retired President Kibaki.
There has also been an increase in the number of primary to secondary school transition rate from 66.9 per cent in 2009 to 73.3 per cent in 2011. The survey further indicates that literacy levels among those aged between 15-24 years has increased from 80.3 per cent in 2000 to 94.4 per cent in 2010.
With the various ongoing interventions in education sector such as economic stimulus programme and the Constituency Development Fund being channelled to the construction of new infrastructure in schools and rehabilitation of the existing ones, there are also plans to have free secondary school education to ensure the realisation of this particular Millennium Development Goal. In the Information and Communication Technology arena, the country has made great leaps with the number of mobile phone users rising by approximately 6,000 per cent from 180,000 in 2000 to 29.7 million in 2012. This could be attributed to the introduction of mobile money transfers such as the Mpesa and the lowering of the calling rates by the major players in the sector. “This can also attributed to laying of the fibre optic cabling which resulted into better connectivity as well as the reduced cost of connectivity,” explains Najisia.
There have also been great improvements in trying to promote gender equality and empowerment among women,
as women have been given leadership responsibilities with an increase in women representation in public institutions from 32.4 per cent in 2008 to 38 per cent in 2012. The implementation of the new Constitution has led to an increase in women representation in both the National Assembly and Senate by 20.8 per cent in 2013, and 33.3 per cent and 26.9 per cent of positions as Cabinet Secretaries and Principal Secretaries respectively. Programmes such as the Uwezo Fund and the Women Enterprise Development Fund have also been lauded as working towards ensuring women empowerment. However, there are still concerns on issues such as women empowerment, especially among women in marginalised areas as poverty levels among them is still high. There is also an urgent need to include persons with disabilities and their issues in the Post-2015 Development Agenda. Women’s inclusion in decision making processes must be taken on board the agenda in order to have their issues integrated in development. Extra Information by Jane Godia
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