The starting point of the conversation in the ICLD Local Democracy Labs is a question formulated by the local government themselves – in order to truly pinpoint current issues faced by local governments today. Earlier this year, ICLD held a Local Democracy Lab on the topic of gender equality, with a particular focus on the Kenyan context.
Several parallel sessions took place during the conversation hour, covering important and pressing issues related to gender. A total of 29 researchers with expertise in the fields of gender issues, masculinities and city planning participated in the sessions.
Amongst the exciting mix of researchers, the ICLD was honored to have Naomi Mwaura, researcher and founder of the Flone Initiative, participate. Flone Initiative is a women-led organisation working in Kenya to end violence against women and girls in public spaces. With her vast knowledge of the field, Naomi was a consequential researcher to the question posed by Machakos County representatives. Currently, Machakos County is working hard to develop a framework for gender mainstreaming in public transport in the county. She described the labs in the following way:
“It was refreshing to be part of a platform that is led by civil societies with an interest to learn about their challenges and how we can help with brainstorming and fundraising to resolve these challenges. “Naomi Mwaura, Flone Initiative
As a result of the conversation, Naomi Mwaura volunteered to review the transportation policy that the Machakos team worked on as part of their ICLD change project. Additionally, The Flone Initiative is currently reviewing the possibilities to conduct a safety audit in Machakos, which if successful could yield tailor-made recommendations to the County Government of Machakos on how to reduce sexual harassment in public transport spaces.
With more Local Democracy Labs to come, the ICLD looks forward to enabeling more conversations where researchers and practitioners can meet and have dialogues on global challenges with a local perspective.