Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD) hosts a Finnish delegation on disability inclusion in Kenya
WFD – with funding from Demo Finland – has been helping support the inclusion of PWDs in Kenyan politics since 2020 through the Kenya Inclusive Political Parties (KIPP) programme. The main objective of the programme is to strengthen inclusive multiparty democracy in Kenya. This is by supporting political parties to develop effective provisions that respond to the strategic and practical needs of PWDs within their internal party structures, political commitments, and policies.
With the second phase of the KIPP programme ending in November 2022, the experience of implementing the two phases comes with a lot of learnings. To share them, WFD hosted a Finnish delegation on a 4-day visit to Kenya informed by the progress and success of the programme. The delegation comprised of two Members of Parliament (MPs), three staff members of Demo Finland, and three members of a disability inclusion technical working group. The members of the working group are representatives from all nine Finnish parliamentary parties.
Engagements of the delegation
The delegation met with the leadership of four KIPP partner political parties – NARC Kenya, ANC, ODM and FORD-Kenya. The key lessons learned during these meetings were on the robust policies and legislation on inclusion of PWDs in Kenya; the role of social media in democracy and campaigns for both Finnish and Kenyan political parties; and the fact that there are still barriers to inclusion and participation of PWDs within the parties and the wider society in both Kenya and Finland.
The delegation also held a roundtable discussion with the KIPP technical working group (TWG). The meeting focused on the role of the TWG in the programme and their work with the various partners – including political parties, state actors, and Organisations of Persons with Disabilities (OPDs). The challenges experienced by the working group in their engagements were also discussed. Both the KIPP and the Finnish working groups learnt the there is need to work more with political parties to ensure meaningful inclusion of PWDs in political processes.
The delegation visited the Kenyan Parliament where it held a meeting with Kenya Disabled Parliamentarians Association (KEDIPA). The meeting led to the delegation understanding KEDIPA’s scope of work on inclusion of PWDs in the legislative processes and its membership. KEDIPA comprises of various legislators from different political parties who work together to push for disability-related agenda in parliament to foster disability inclusion.
In their visit to the Office of the Registrar of Political (ORPP), the delegation gained an in-depth understanding on the role of the office in mainstreaming disability inclusion. Additionally, in the adoption and domestication of the minimum standards for inclusion of PWDs in political parties developed under KIPP. The visit to the ORPP revealed the goodwill by the office in promoting PWDs inclusion in political parties and the need to continuously engage them. The delegation also met with organisation’s of persons with disabilities (OPDs) and the National Gender Equality Commission (NGEC). The meeting provided an understanding of NGECs advocacy strategies in their everyday work and in championing inclusion of PWDs.
The highlight of the 4 days was the visit to the National Assembly where the delegation followed proceedings from the Speakers’ gallery. The Speaker, Hon. Moses Wetangula, acknowledged their presence, which was followed by an applause from Kenyan parliamentarians. The delegation's visit was successful as it resulted in maximum knowledge sharing and learning from both the WFD Kenya partners and the Finnish delegation team.
WFD, Demo Finland, and Embassy of Finland, Nairobi jointly organised the Finnish delegation visit to Kenya.