March 7, 2022


Bringing Local Perspectives from Nairobi to the TAP Steering Committee -
Introducing Consolation East Africa

By Consolation East Africa and the TAP Network Secretariat


Consolation East Africa (CEA), a TAP Partner since 2020, like many other civil society organizations around the globe, was forced to an almost-standstill as a result of the COIVD-19 pandemic.   As projects halted, CEA faculty and community members faced an extra dimension of challenge, as most of them did not have the ability to to turn to technological devices that could enable them to go virtual for meetings, workshops and trainings.  

Despite this added hardship on top of the unprecedented situation, CEA has continued to serve its community in Nairobi, with their work now spanning over a decade.  By enduring some of the most constricting conditions a civil society organization could experience, CEA has built expertise regarding adaptation against all odds to serve local community members and implement SDG16 to the fullest extent.

Amongst the new members of the 2022-2023 Steering Committee, CEA brings to the table a unique and vitally important perspective that is intimately familiar with the needs of local populations that SDG16 is most challenged to reach, especially in light of the pandemic.  Read the following interview between the TAP Secretariat and Executive Director of Consolation East Africa, Bridged Faida, to learn more specifically on CEA’s experiences and what they mean for CEA’s outlook for the TAP Steering Committee for the next two years.


Interview with Bridged Faida, Executive Director of Consolation East Africa

Q: Can you give a brief introduction to the TAP Network Membership about Consolation East Africa and what your current focuses are for 2022?

Consolation East Africa (CEA) is a Kenyan Non-Profit Organization registered in 2011 with a vision to eventually see a Kenyan society that is just and gender mainstream. The mission of CEA is to ensure that vulnerable and marginalized people are socially included and that their human dignity is respected.

In 2022 CEA will continue its work of empowering community via policy advocacy and community empowerment through the following focus activities:

  • Advocacy for greater and meaningful participation of marginalized and vulnerable populations in relevant public policy spaces
  • Advocacy for gender responsive budgeting in the public finance spaces with a focus on health, education and social economic empowerment
  • Instituting proactive and responsive approaches to addressing human trafficking and gender based violence in Kenya
  • Improve the quality of services received by the public through social accountability monitoring approaches
  • Building capacities of marginalized and vulnerable populations to enable them achieve some form of positive socio-economic transformation

In order to achieve this CEA will collaborate with relevant government departments, Civil Society and grassroots Organizations in Kenya. The target population of CEA is Key Populations, the homeless, residents of informal urban settlements and those rural areas comprising women, youths and children.

Q: Can you describe the current landscape of the civil society sector in Nairobi and CEA’s role and function in it?

Vulnerable children: Nairobi is home to a number of vulnerable children. According to studies 60,000 to 1.8m of these are orphans and vulnerable children and are either homeless, in foster care or in charitable children institutions. A number of CSOs are intervening to assist OVCs in various ways. In 2012 CEA/KARDS did a survey to try and understand the different OVC interventions that do exist and the organizations offering them for effective referral services. From the CEA’s role in this has been to strengthen the quality of rehabilitation and reintegration care received by these children via referrals, youth formation and counseling. CEA also build the capacities of the various children institutions on rehabilitation and reintegration. In the past we contributed in this aspect via various studies just to mention a few:

  1. Projects and activities of street children in Kenya
  2. Effectiveness of street youth reintegration in Kenya
  3. Analysis of reintegration care for youth leaving institutions of care

Key Populations: Key Populations in Kenya Comprise sex workers, people who use and inject drugs, MSM, prisoners and transgender. The Key Populations face a number of health and other public service access barriers. They also are victims of gender based violence, stigma and discrimination and a myriad other human rights abuses. CEA from 2020 to date has been working with AVAC and AIHA to assist improve the capacities of Key Population Led CSOs in Kenya, Zambia, Nigeria and Tanzania to address all structural barriers that lead to their exclusion in various public spaces. To address this CEA is contributing to the strengthening of the Kenyan, Zambian, Tanzanian and Nigerian Key Population Consortia to collectively and severally have improved capacities to address the structural barriers. In essence CEA has not only contributed to the fact that these consortia have made inroads towards being included in policy spaces but also they have been able to engage overseas development assistance donors such as PEPFAR and Global Fund.

Geographies, social classes, Informal settlements and rural areas: The Kenyan society is characterized with challenges in wealth distribution. The Gini Coefficient index for Kenya is 41.6% (53rd highest in the world) in 2018 and there are enormous disparities among geographies and various population classes with Rural, informal settlements and arid and semi-arid populations being way down the wealth income brackets. On an equal basis though the human development index estimate for 2021 was 0.60 (ranking Kenya 163 worldwide), disparities exist among Geographies, social classes, Informal settlements and rural areas. There are a number of CSOs working to address the income and human development disparities in Nairobi and in the country. There are also insecurity and Safety issues in Nairobi with challenges of crime being experienced especially in the poor sections of the city. In Nairobi CEA together with other CSOs mainly intervenes in the informal settlements providing interventions to empower people with various social economic skills including leadership, management and entrepreneurship.

Women, Girls and Youth: Women, Girls and Youth face various challenges in Nairobi. There are quite a number of women and children headed households for a number of reasons including deaths of parents/spouses or complicated family issues. Other challenges include unemployment for youth; menstrual hygiene, teen pregnancies and IPV for girls and women among other challenges. There are a number of organizations addressing several or one aspect of the challenges faced by the women, Girls and Youth of Nairobi. CEA works directly with Women, Girls and Youth to empower them and also assists improve grassroots CSO capacities to serve these populations.

Citizen participation and peace building: The citizens do not take interest in participating in the public policy spaces. This means that some policies and decisions may be taking place without the input of citizens. On the other hand, where citizens receive poor services (health, education, other public services etc), they may not be able to influence them. This year too, the country will be going towards elections and seemingly, the whole process is quite heated. CEA among other organizations is engaging the political parties to influence their manifestos, conducting voter education and encouraging citizens to participate in the public spaces.

Thematic Consortia: CEA is a member of the Stop The Traffik Kenya Consortium (STTK), Nairobi Child Protection Team (NCPT), Global Fund Advocates Network (GFAN), PEPFARWATCH, Street Children and Youth Organizations Network in Nairobi (SCYON), Key Populations TransNational Collaboration (KP-TNC) and Kenya Peace Network (KPN).

Q: How has your organization continued to show its presence in the community throughout the Pandemic?

CEA engaged in minimizing vulnerability among community members, collaborating with Community Based Organizations, by use of door to door and roadside information giving, the organization raised awareness to community members around Dagoretti Sub County in Nairobi, on COVID-19 preventive measures.  During the same time, as the economy was hitting community members badly, the organization intervened and initiated entrepreneurship training for women and especially single and young mothers, to enable them earn through production of handmade soap and selling to the community around them.  We as an organization have adopted online activities, especially when dealing with other CSOs networks, CBOs and Groups. The organization also was able to adopt the work at home policy, to enable safety.

CEA also continued to carry out some projects through use of a technological online meeting system, where training, meetings and workshops were conducted to CSOs participants in Nairobi and Kenya and in other Countries such as Tanzania, Zambia and Nigeria targeting Key Population Led Organizations and other members of Civil Societies.

Q: What challenges have you faced in implementing your community programs, for example for young women and mothers, during the COVID-19 pandemic?

There were several challenges that the organization faced during the covid period, some mentioned below:

  • The inability to train a larger quantity of young women at once on entrepreneur skills, as groups were divided into a manageable quorum in accordance with the required COVID-19 preventive guidelines in Kenya. We also lost a number of members as we could only afford to bring a few together. However in post COVID we are trying to regain grounds but with strict COVID19 restrictions as laid down by the government.
  • Lack of adequate financial resources that could enable support for CEA’s online activities with beneficiaries and participants in getting data support for online meetings and workshops and training, which caused some youth groups that were formed by CEA, to discontinue outreach group projects and get back to individual projects.
  • Some organization’s staff members were not ready to continue supporting the organization, due to the organization’s inability to meet their expectations in terms of remunerations.
  • Loss of contact between the organization and the community widened, as some community members could not afford technological channels in accessing information and organization’s meetings.
  • Most of the planned activities could not be covered, especially those that were outreach based, mainly at the grassroots /community level.
  • Number of physical meetings and contacts were minimized, especially during the first and second wave, where there were no physical meetings and workshops allowed, making the organization members question the future of CEA if the same continues. It became impossible to secure government appointments as government staff prefer physical meetings.

Q: How will your lessons learned over the pandemic shape your approach as a new TAP Steering Committee member?

While there is a need to strengthen the virtual platforms, we realize that there are quite a number of people who will be left out. An important dynamic becomes how to be better in virtual communications without losing those who are not able to engage in this platform.

We also learned that there are sectors that are averse to virtual platforms (Zoom, website, social media). These were mainly government staff who in most cases felt safer in physical meetings. On the other hand there were quite a number of services that still required physical encounters. This means that there is always a need to continue promoting the understanding of COVID restrictions side by side as we strengthen the virtual platforms.

Economic livelihoods of most of our target beneficiaries were devastated. Most businesses were also closed as a result of shrinking incomes. The financial stress and loss in livelihoods experienced during this time also led to increased incidences of gender based violence. There is a need to dialogue with governments to institute precautionary stimulus facilities for emergency periods.

Travel restrictions have also abounded. Countries can today be open to receiving guests and tomorrow closed to any type of guests. This means that there is always a need to be vigilant and always being updated of countries’ policy updates from time to time.

Q: What is the status of implementation of SDG16 in Kenya, through the eyes of CEA?

There are a number of challenges in implementing SDG16 in Kenya.

The implementation of SDG16 in Kenya, is still demanding, poverty level especially among rural and in the informal settlements communities is rising with the rising prices for basic needs such as foodstuffs almost annually, thus Zero Poverty level not yet achieved in reference to the National implementation of the Kenya Vision 2030, where one of the goals was Poverty reduction.

When it comes to leadership women are highly left behind, the equality within the leadership arena is a subject to be questioned.

In general the implementation of the SDG16 in Kenya is still far way behind to be achieved, a voice is needed to enable the citizens especially at the grassroots level both in the rural and in the informal settlements, they should have the awareness on the SDG16 implementation within the country, be given the opportunity to participate in the making of the VNR, share opinions and what they have observed in the implementation of the SDG16 within the country, and to know whom to hold accountable.

According to the Government VNR report of 2021, the outbreak of COVID-19 has negatively impacted the rule of law, security and crime reduction in the following ways:

  • The measures put in place by the Government to cope with the Pandemic have resulted in massive unemployment, high poverty levels leading to increased insecurity incidents particularly petty crime and tension due to loss of livelihoods. In relation to this the government suggests the following
  • Facilitation of interfaith dialogue in the local communities as well as involvement of local leaders to mediate conflicts cases among families and communities;
  • Building capacity of law enforcement officers through online training to restore trust between the police officers and the public; and
  • Recruitment and training of additional security personnel will also help in increasing the police population ratio thereby ensuring adequate protection of people and property.

In reference to existing challenges towards achieving SDG 16, the findings of the second CSO progress report on implementation of SDG16 for 2019 in Kenya still apply as follow:

  • Poor financing by policy holders and little information and awareness on the same.
  • There is still legislation that ensures the exchequer commits funds to support peace initiatives and structures across the country. CSOs in most instances have been forced to mobilize resources internally to be part of global events such as the Global Week of Action against Gun Violence and the African Union Amnesty month.
  • There is still low public awareness about the right and procedures available to access information. Most citizens are unaware of the availability of the Act’s framework, procedures and their rights to access information.

Q: What are the ambitions for CEA in the next three years?

  • Advocacy for greater and meaningful participation of marginalized and vulnerable populations in relevant public policy spaces
  • Advocacy for gender responsive budgeting in the public finance spaces with a focus on health, education and social economic empowerment
  • Instituting proactive and responsive approaches to addressing human trafficking and gender based violence in Kenya
  • Improve the quality of services received by the public through social accountability monitoring approaches
  • Building capacities of marginalized and vulnerable populations to enable them achieve some form of positive socio-economic transformation
  • Engage policy makers on integrating SDG16 in Kenyan policies

Q: What can members of the TAP Network take away from the experiences and lessons learned of CEA?

Surviving amidst Lack of resources – CEA has continued with its work despite not having substantial funding resources since 2016. In this period it has continued creating impacts though in a reduced manner. Part of what contributed to survival was voluntary efforts of members and financial contributions, and also through working collaboratively with other organizations.

Community Knowledge: There is always a need to trust in the knowledge of community / civil society members, they know better and need to be meaningfully engaged at all processes of project implementation.

Policy engagement at a global and country level: For achievements to be made in integrating the SDG16, there is a need to continuously engage with grassroots CSOs in a bid to create a critical mass that will have a multiplier effect in the sub-national units-taking the agenda to their local councils/administrative structures. The sub-national structures could be engaged in creating actionable plans periodically that are monitored by the CSO teams. At Global Level there is a need to engage the Regional Economic Blocs, Africa Union and Global Agencies. Working via these three tier engagements, will make the agenda more visible.


About TAP Storytelling: In 2021 TAP Network launched the TAP Storytelling Initiative, which aims to closely and frequently highlight the work of the TAP Network membership through working directly with them to produce educational online content about their endeavors addressing SDG16+ and accountability for the 2030 Agenda. Together in this initiative, TAP aims to spotlight the work of our Members and Partners and the challenges, successes, failures, processes and problem solving that comes with it, while also offering the chance for wide promotion through TAP’s outreach channels. We hope that these opportunities will not only offer heightened visibility of the work of our Network, but will also inspire and educate more commitments to SDG16 and transparency and accountability for the 2030 Agenda as a whole. If you are interested in spearheading this work with us, head to our TAP Membership Engagement Portal where you can find the Storytelling Form to submit your interest.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed on the TAP Network Blog Platform are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the TAP Network. Any content provided by our bloggers or authors are of their opinion.

Photo by Consolation East Africa

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