The Countess of Wessex visits Nairobi, Kenya

Published 19 September 2019
The Countess of Wessex visits Nairobi, Kenya

The Countess of Wessex has undertaken a two day visit to Kenya focused on gender equality, preventing sexual violence in conflict, and girls’ education.

In January 2019, on International Women's Day, The Countess of Wessex publicly pledged her commitment to make two key areas a central pillar of her work: The Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda and the UK’s Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative (PSVI). Find out more.

The 12th Commonwealth Women’s Affairs Ministers Meeting in Nairobi, is an opportunity for Ministers from 28 Commonwealth countries to come together to turn commitment to action on achieving gender equality and empowering women. The Countess of Wessex delivered a speech at the meeting, which you can read in full here.

As a passionate advocate of the Commonwealth, I believe that this great family of nations has a vital role to play in leading the world on gender equality issues. Together we need to have an increased focus on ending gender inequality and discrimination, and an increased focus on building environments that enable women’s political participation and economic empowerment

Earlier in the day The Countess met young women and girls who have fled conflict in neighbouring countries and are now supported by RefuSHE's 'Girls Empowerment Programme' which teaches refugee women and girls textile skills, from hand and machine stitching to tie-dye, helping them to earn an independent income. The women and girls from RefuSHE  showcased their exquisite handmade products, from scarves to linen lunch bags, during a fashion show and performance.

The next day Her Royal Highness visited the International Peace Support Training Centre, to discuss Women, Peace and Security (WPS) and Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative (PSVI) with experts and practitioners from the Kenyan Government and Kenya Defence Forces, before meeting survivors of gender based violence.

The Countess also met with British Peace Support Team (Africa) to hear about UK-delivered WPS/PSVI training to military units deploying to neighbouring countries.

It is crucial that all girls receive at least 12 years of quality education in order to realise their rights, increase their political participation and to open opportunities for them to secure better jobs and livelihoods

Lastly The Countess visited Moi Girls’ School, to join the launch of the next Platform for Girls' Education policy paper on gender responsive education sector planning, encouraging states to adopt a whole system approach to advancing gender equality in and through education. Her Royal Highness participated in a maths and computer lesson at the school.