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For the Urban Poor to adequately realize Economic and Social Rights, it is imperative that they are also emancipated financially. While the state is obligated by law to provide for realization of these rights, it is equally the responsibility of individuals to put in some level of personal investment towards the process.

It is on this basis that Pamoja Trust encourages such individuals to put aside some savings that would contribute to their financial freedom. With land and housing being key aspirations of Urban Poor citizens, a clear nexus can be seen these goals and the need to set aside resources that would enable their attainment. This quest has been the focal point of most savings schemes. Indeed, the Sustainable Development Goals and the Economic Pillar of Kenya’s Vision 2030 further anchor these aspirations.

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Afrika Ignite with the support of Pamoja Trust has put together a production titled Kwe Kalyet: Lwanda Magere Revisited. This is a major adaptation of the well-known Lwanda Magere story. Using theatre to advocate for citizen engagement in building a stronger Kenya, the production explores the Luo and Nandi sides of the events.

The familiarity and power of this resonant story is exploited to uncover challenges to building a more peaceful and equitable society. This play will spark discussion on citizen action and democratic engagement. This performance has major potential in promoting the youth agency as well as raising political consciences that would contribute to a peaceful election moment in Kenya.

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Residents of Mukuru kwa Njenga are demanding for the regularization of illegal water connections in the area by providing meters for these water lines. This way, they argue, the water company shall reduce on Non-revenue water and the residents shall be guaranteed the Right to Water. This came up during a water stakeholders meeting that was organized by the Water Action Group in the area. But speaking in the same venue, the water company officials stated that this would not be possible since the residents do not have documentation proving land ownership in the area.

“To get a water meter,  someone is expected to provide some proof of land ownership. This is not possible for these residents since they are primarily squatters on this piece of land,” a water company official states.

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The residents of Manyatta and Nyalenda A&B settlements’ in Kisumu have emphasized that, there is need for transparency and accountability in the implementation of proposed projects by the County Government of Kisumu.

This will allow for optimum deployment of resources to address issues of water and sanitation, health and infrastructure in their respective settlements. This came up during the accountability forum meeting organised by Pamoja Trust in the area.

In attendance were community members composed of men, women, and the youth of different age groups from Manyatta and Nyalenda A&B and Pamoja Trust staff members who coordinated the sessions.

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The Protection of Human Dignity and Enforcement of Economic and Social Rights Bill (the Human Dignity Bill) has been published and the 90 day window that would allow for rigorous public debate has commenced. The Dignity Bill seeks to entrench the provisions of Article 43 and address the overall question of Inequality and Social Justice in Kenya.

The Constitution of Kenya contains a progressive Bill of Rights and enshrines a number of Rights in Article 43. Similarly, the Constitution provides for devolved governance units (the 47 Counties) which are expected to deliver certain services as contained in the 4th Schedule of the Constitutions and various pieces of legislation on Devolution.

However, there is no law that compels the Government to deliberately work towards realisation of these Rights. This is what the Bill seeks to put in place. With the scarcity of Economic and Social Rights, they have become more of political goodies and exceptions to the norm. The Bill seeks to reverse this culture of political patronage in the realization of Economic and Social Rights.

Undeniably, Kenya must address the inequality question as a matter of urgency and practical steps must be taken by all levels of government. The conversation must therefore be able to generate and drive the demand and bear sufficient impact on duty bearers to focus on the question of inequality, social justice and dignity to all of the people of Kenya. Even if it does not become law, the debate around the bill must be vigorous enough to trigger further justiciability of Economic and Social rights in Kenya.

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