LPSA Launches the Localizing Women’s Economic Empowerment in Africa Project

March 6, 2024: Dr. Joyce Mutinda declares the Localizing Women's Economic Empowerment in Africa project launched.

On March 6, 2024, the Local Public Sector Alliance, in partnership with the Collaborative Action for Childcare, launched the Localizing Women’s Economic Empowerment (WEE) in Africa project at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Upperhill, Nairobi, Kenya.

The launch of the Localizing WEE in Africa Project was graced by the Chair of the National Gender & Equality Commission, Dr. Joyce Mwikali Mutinda, PhD, EBS. Before declaring the project launched, Dr. Mutinda highlighted the important role of the public sector—both national and county governments— in promoting equal economic opportunities for men and women and the importance of ensuring public services are provided in an inclusive and gender-responsive manner.

Project launch: Localizing WEE in Africa

The launch of Localizing WEE in Africa comes in the run-up to this year’s International Women’s Day on March 8, whose theme is Investing in Women and Accelerating Progressto tackle women’s economic disempowerment.

In addition to the Guest of Honor, Dr. Joyce Mutinda, notable guests included Dr. Jane Kiringai (ODP) and NGEC Commissioner Thomas Koyier. In addition to senior government officials and project organizers and partners, the launch brought together national and county government representatives, multi-level governance experts, women’s rights organizations and childcare advocates, and research institutions. Representation from international development institutions included UNDP, UNICEF, and UN Women.

The Localizing WEE in Africa project launch also included a panel discussion with a diverse set of experts, researchers, and practitioners, including Judy Oduma, Former CEO of the Kenya County Assemblies Forum; Ann-Christine (Anki) Dellnas, senior governance Advisor at UNDP; Penina Ndegwa, CEO of WowMom Kenya; and Dr. Marion Ouma, a senior research scientist at the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW). The panel shared perspectives on resolving multi-governance constraints and obstacles to women’s economic empowerment.

Localizing WEE in Africa

The Localizing WEE in Africa project recognizes that inclusive economic growth is stymied when social expectations require women to do most unpaid work in the home, including childcare responsibilities. Studies show that access to affordable and safe childcare may enable women to work outside the home, allowing them be more productive in their existing jobs and businesses, or to shift to higher-earning employment. Providing childcare services also transforms unpaid work into paid work, positively impacting gender equity, women’s economic empowerment and child development outcomes.

As with many global development challenges, access to childcare is often pursued in a top-down manner, with most efforts being focused at the national level without strengthening the intergovernmental systems necessary for resources to flow down to the local level, thereby undermining effective local regulation, oversight, and provision of frontline childcare services. In the absence of effective intergovernmental systems, funding from international partners often bypasses the (local) public sector and flows directly to selected social enterprises or frontline childcare providers. While this approach provides immediate benefits to a limited number of beneficiaries, it does not form a systemic, scalable, or sustainable long-term solution to the lack of affordable, safe, quality childcare in Africa.

As part of Localizing Women’s Economic Empowerment in Africa, LPSA will engage with global, regional, national, and local partners—especially in Kenya and Ghana—over the next two years (2024-2025) to promote the adoption, funding, and implementation of intergovernmental policy solutions to women’s economic empowerment as a ‘macro-level’ (or multilevel) policy intervention that supports all women’s opportunities, access to resources, well-being, and agency.

Jointly led in Kenya by the Local Public Sector Alliance and Collaborative Action for Childcare / Uthabiti Africa, the project will collaborate with NGEC Kenya, the Intergovernmental Relations Technical Committee (IGRTC), childcare champions (including Kidogo, Tiny Totos and WomMom); the Centre for Rights Education and Awareness (CREAW); the Institute for Public Finance Kenya; and the International Center for Research on Women. The project is implemented with support from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

Read more about Localizing Women’s Economic Empowerment in Africa.

For more information, contact Ms. Jacqueline Muthura.