1. Background

In the past three decades, there has been growing awareness for Kenya to consider the needs and aspirations of its citizens as a step toward a more inclusive and cohesive society.  Kenya has also aligned itself to the various international and regional frameworks on gender equality and women’s empowerment. Similar but even more robust commitments are spelt out in the Kenya Vision 2030 and Constitution 2010 (Republic of Kenya 2007 and 20f10).

Article 27(1) of the constitution 2010 provides for equality in law and the right to equal protection and benefits.  Article 27(2) provides for equality in rights and fundamental freedoms, while Article 27(3) provides for the right to equal treatment of women and men in all spheres.  Besides, Article 27(4) and (5), outlaws all forms of discrimination against any person and the use of affirmative action to redress previous forms of discrimination (Republic of Kenya 2010).  The National Policy on Gender and Development by State Department for Gender (Ministry of Public Service, Gender, Senior Citizen Affairs and Special programmes) emphasises the national agenda for gender equality and provides for specific targets and commitments for various sectors in the country (Republic of Kenya 2019).  Socialisation has an important role to play in observing fundamental rights and freedoms, values and avoidance of discrimination. With proper socialization, most of the gender-related problems (human rights violations, intersectional discrimination and gender-based violence) will be eliminated for a free, fair, and equitable society. In 2019 Kenya also launched the national policy on family protection and promotion, which ensures that family issues are entrenched into policies and programmes during implementation to enable them participate in socio-economic empowerment, nurturing and protection of vulnerable members of the community. This can be easily attained through recognition of the family as a social unit with roles to play towards its members as is done during socialisation.

The Kenya vision 2030, launched in 2007 was to assist in transforming the nation to a newly industrialising and middle income economy with high quality of life to all citizens in a clean secure environment. The social pillar focuses on the provision of a just and cohesive society that enjoys equitable and social development.  The social, political and economic pillars are interrelated.  There is also a close association between the political pillar (Principles of national values, goals and ideology) and Article 20 of the constitution of Kenya 2010 on national values and principles of governance. All the values are necessary for the realisation of sustainable development goals (SDG) through a favourable form of socialisation, deliberately planned and integrated process, cutting across generations and professions to change the mind-set of all citizens.  Socialisation is currently missing as an important aspect of national values.  The SDG 16 advocates for peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development and access to justice for all, together with effective and inclusive institutions at all levels, thus is important in enabling attainment of other SDGs. 

Kenya integrates the achievement of SDGs and Vision 2030 through the Mid-term plans, and in the Voluntary National Review (VNR) 2020, it was indicated that the targets for the three pillars could not be met due to lack of funds.  As a result, it is necessary that the loopholes are sealed to prevent wastage.  Further, the SDG 16 has not been attained due to high levels of corruption, cultural and religious beliefs that lead to under-reporting and follow-up on sexual offenses and gender based violence, ethnic conflict and terrorism and inequalities in distribution of resources (Republic of Kenya 2020).

The promulgation of Kenyan Constitution 2010 has also not kept pace with fight against greed and other vices, showing that legislation alone is inadequate in the attainment of SDGs and Vision 2030.  According to VNR 2020, the country still faces challenges of inequalities, existence of illegal arms, weak values, norms, and societal desire for quick wealth that come with consequences.  Conversely, the SDG targets require values of sharing, equity and equality, transparency, accountability, making appropriate choices, appropriate work culture, elimination of greed, respect for public goods and appreciation of the environment.  These call for a change in approach, to build capacity on life skills, embrace a new form of socialisation and correct negative behaviours, while also promoting ethics and values.

Initially, the traditional family was self-sufficient and effectively facilitated the process of socialisation.  The family equipped its members with necessary knowledge and life skills and maintained social order.  However, contemporary transformation of the family due to modernization, urbanisation, expansion of education, demographic changes, greed, pursuit wealth at the expense of morals and values as well as mass media, families have been put under pressure leading to changes in fundamental cultural values, rendering them incapable of providing socialisation (Akuma 2015).  Some of the current parents also are not well equipped with adequate information to guide their children, while young people continue to interrogate what constitutes acceptable morals and good behaviour, which indicate confusion that could jeopardise the attainment of vision 2030 and the SDGs.  A number of challenges have confronted the family space- marital conflicts, women empowerment for gainful employment, deterioration of morals and gender based violence and violence against children, which make it difficult for families to play their role, thus calling for a new line of thinking to remedy the situation.

The University of Nairobi through its vision and mission is committed to scholarly excellence and to providing quality university education and training that embody the aspirations of the people, locally and internationally.  The institution has a Policy on Gender and Development as well as Workplace policy on gender based violence to ensure a free and fair work and learning environment.  The proposed conference is part of awareness creation, advocacy, training and research on gender issues, not only among the University of Nairobi Community but to the nation at large as the university forms the face of the nation in terms of higher education, with great influence on perceptions of other institutions and society on gender issues, including the rights of a child and family and reproductive health issues.  Learning institutions like University of Nairobi are major agents of socialisation and change and are greatly influenced by the experiences within families as students struggle to cope with many family-related challenges. The planned conference will be blended (virtual and in-person), with plenary and panellist sessions.

The University of Nairobi will work with the National Gender and Equality Commission (NGEC) and other like-minded stakeholders and the private sector to realise the objectives of the planned Conference. The National Gender Equality Commission is a constitutional commission established in 2011 to promote gender equality and freedom from discrimination among all Kenyans in accordance to Article 27 of the Constitution of Kenya, and with a focus to special interest groups that include women, youth, children, Persons With Disabilities, Minority and Marginalized groups, and older members of society (National Gender and Equality Commission Act no 15 of 2011)

  • The Theme of the Conference

“Harnessing family Socialisation for sustainable gender equality, security and sustainable development in Kenya”

Sub-themes are as follows:

  1. Family, Gender equality and empowerment, socialization and Vision 2030
  2. Socialization, career choice and human resource development
  3. Education and family socialization and Vision 2030


  1. To celebrate the diversity of the Kenyan people
  2. To draw attention to and address the rapidly changing state of family socialisation in the country
  3. To create awareness and advocate for gender equality and empowerment as urgent national issues and not women’s affair
  4. To provide a forum for various stakeholders to advance discourse, research and training on gender and socialization in the country
  5. To promote national inclusiveness, security, peace and sustainable development

Expected Outcomes

  1. Awareness on the composition of the special interest groups and other citizens
  2. Alternative approach to socialization, incentives and sanctions
  3. Strategies for mainstreaming gender equality in the national agenda
  4. Journal Articles
  5. Inclusivity, human security and sustainability

Conference Date

Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Mode: Virtual only

Eligible participants:

Researchers, media, government officials, entrepreneurs, family experts, families, religious leaders, students, experts in various subject matters covered in the theme and sub themes, development partners, non-state actors, are all eligible to participate in this conference subject to meeting the conditions below

  1. References

Akuma, J. M. (2015). Socio-cultural and family change in Africa: Implications for addressing socialisation in Kisii County, South Western Kenya, The East African Union, 50, 2015 pp 80-98.

Republic of Kenya (2020).Second Voluntary National Review on the Implication of the SDGs. National Treasury and Planning, State Development for Planning, GOK.

Republic of Kenya (2019a) National Policy on Gender and Development, GOK

Republic of Kenya (2019b) National Policy on Family Promotion and Protection, GOK

Republic of Kenya (2010). The Constitution of Kenya 2010. kenyalaw.org/kl/index.php?=398.Accessed 25 April 2022.

Republic of Kenya (2007). Kenya Vision 2030, GOK.

United Nations (2015). United Nations General Assembly Draft Outcome document of the United Nations summit for the adoption of the post 2015 development Agenda. United Nations.