The Danish Ambassador to Kenya Mette Knudsen and the Finnish Ambassador to Kenya Tarja Fernandez, paid courtesy calls to County Commissioners and Governors of Kilifi and Kwale Counties respectively, to discuss a wide range of issues geared towards peace and security and economic empowerment of women among other development challenges in the two counties.
Welcoming the two envoys, H.E. Hon. Salim Mvurya, Governor, Kwale County, noted the strong bond and support that his government enjoys from the two countries. During the meeting, the Governor briefed them on the progress the county had made in addressing security challenges attributed to radicalization and violent extremism in the County. He singled out the development of the Kwale Counter-Violent Extremism Strategy as a step towards winning the hearts and minds of communities against radicalization and violent extremism that had greatly affected the tourism sector which is a major source of income and employment in the County. His sentiments were echoed by Mr. Mwangi Kahiru the Kwale Deputy County Commissioner who hailed the efforts of non state actors including religious leaders in helping the government respond to the growing threat of radicalization and violent extremism in the County. “As government, we are open to ideas and strategies that can help us engage the youth into meaningful income generating activities and help them shun factors that drive them into violent extremism”, he said.
H.E. Mette Knudsen, the Royal Danish Ambassador to Kenya expressed her government’s support towards promoting peace, security and development in Kenya. She urged for close collaboration between the various government agencies and civil society to improve the security situation in the Country.
The Finnish Ambassador to Kenya Tarja Fernandez said her government supports Kenya’s efforts in the realization of the two-third gender rule, and hopes to see more women involved in all governance processes during the upcoming general elections.
Karin Fueg, UN Women Deputy Country Director called for government’s protection of grassroots women aspirants to ensure that they are not locked out from the election processes as a result of intimidation from male aspirants.
Speaking while meeting the envoys, Kilifi County Commissioner Joseph Keter said that efforts to tame vices that lure the youth to violent extremism activities were beginning to bear fruits. He urged the diplomats to continue supporting the various peace initiatives being undertaken by the government and civil society groups to promote peace and security in the county.
The envoys also held meetings with women and community groups and urged them to embrace peace especially during the upcoming elections. They called on women to exercise their political rights and vie for elective posts come August 2017.
Through the Peace, Security and Stability Development Engagement, Act! is working with local level civil society organizations to address emerging conflicts and improve collaboration between them and government agencies in addressing violent extremism whilst increasing women’s leadership role in peace and security in Kenya. The program is funded by the Royal Danish Embassy in Kenya.