12th Commonwealth Ministers’ meeting comes to Kenya


Kenya will be hosting 12th Commonwealth Women Affairs Ministers’ Meeting (12WAMMs) from 17th – 20th September, 2019 in Nairobi.

What is WAMM?

The Commonwealth Women’s Affairs Ministerial Meetings (WAMMs) is an initiative of the Commonwealth member states which bring together ministers, senior officials, civil society organizations (CSOs), the academia, development partner agencies and other gender experts to discuss critical issues in advancing women’s empowerment and gender equality in the Commonwealth. Building on the strength of previous WAMMs, the meetings provide a platform for the Ministers and delegates to strategize on emerging issues, share experiences and lessons and forge common positions on topical gender issues for effective policy action. The WAMM meetings have been held every three years since 1985 and the hosting is rotated among the Commonwealth regions.

Theme and sub-themes


From Commitment to Action: Accelerating Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment for Sustainable Development’;


  1. The Global Context: linking Commonwealth commitments on gender equality to global action;
  2. Affordable and Quality Healthcare;
  3. Commonwealth Priorities for Gender Equality and Women Empowerment (GEWE): Tracking progress and sharing successes on the 4 priorities.


Key issues and priorities

Gender equality and women’s empowerment is a fundamental principle that is enshrined in the Commonwealth Charter under the following priorities;

  1. Women in leadership;
  2. Women’s economic empowerment;
  3. Ending violence against women and girls; and
  4. Gender and climate change.

These priorities are aligned to the:

  1. 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals;
  2. Africa Agenda 2063; and,
  3. Other global, regional and national commitments on gender equality and overall empowerment of women.

The priorities are also consistent with Kenya’s priorities:

  1. As articulated in the Constitution of Kenya;
  2. Kenya Vision 2030; and,
  3. The Government’s Big Four Agenda: particularly on the Universal health.

Why is Kenya an ideal host for the 12WAMM?

At the 11th Commonwealth Women Affairs Ministers Meeting (11WAMM) held in September 2016 hosted by the Government of Samoa, Kenya was selected to host the 12th WAMM in 2019. Kenya is an active member of 53 Member countries of the commonwealth committed to gender equality and women’s empowerment (GEWE) and consistently working towards achieving GEWE.

Kenya, have successfully hosted several international events where gender issues were mainstreamed.

In addition, Kenya is a tourist destination:

  • There are a variety of cultural aspects of the country to explore;
  • Kenyaalso has a rich variety of cuisine of Kenya’s various tribes including the famous nyama choma and ugali;
  • A large proportion of Kenya’s tourism centres on safaris and tours of its national parks and game reserves;
  • It is also the world center for active adventure holidays


The 12th WAMM provides an ideal opportunity to:

  • Discuss integration of the resolutions of the previous outcome documents;
  • Discuss respective commonwealth countries initiatives on gender equality and women’s empowerment;
  • Provide a platform for cross learning among Commonwealth countries; and
  • Show case best practices, innovative programmes and approaches that empower women and accelerate achievements of gender equality.

Events expected at the meeting

  1. Round Table with Civil Society Organizations (CSO’s) – 17th September, 2019: to facilitate civic voices’  dialogue space on the main theme of the 12WAMM with an outcome policy recommendation document to inform the senior officials meeting;
  2. A one-day Senior Officials Meeting (SOM) – 18th September, 2019;
  3. Women Affairs Ministers Meeting (19th – 20th September, 2019)

     Preparations for 12WAMM

The State Department for Gender Affairs is spearheading preparations for the meeting. A mulita-sectoral National Steering Committee (NCC) comprising of relevant stakeholders has been constituted and chaired by Principal Secretary, State Department for Gender Affairs; followed by the technical led by Ms. Faith Kasiva, the Secretary Gender. Five (5) Inter-Agency Sub-Committees are also in place to handle different areas of focus in planning for the event.

Expected outcome

WAMMs contribute to the setting of Commonwealth priorities and the global agenda for sustainable development:

  • Generate recommendations and decisions that will strategically feed into the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM);
  • Reaffirm commitment to gender equality and empowerment of all women and girls; and,
  • Prioritize gender issues in line with the 2030 Agenda and within the framework of the Commonwealth Secretariat while aligning to Kenya’s Big Four Agenda.