5 December 2012

Kenya: USAID and Mau Forest Elders Share Results of Constitutional Land Rights Pilot

press release

What: The United States Embassy invites the media to attend a national workshop on the outcomes of the USAID Kenya Justice Project. USAID Director of Democracy, Rights and Governance John Smith-Sreen will represent the American people at the event.

Media are invited to attend.

Keynote speaker Honorable Justice Professor Joel Ngugi, Judge of the High Court of Kenya and head of the Judiciary Transformation Secretariat will address the impact of the pilot project on advancing implementation of the new Constitution. A panel of experts will broaden the discussion about integration of the formal and informal justice systems, as envisioned under the Constitution. Members of the Ol Pusimoru community will attend the workshop where a short film, Elders Speak: A New Dawn for Women in Kenya, will be shown.

Background: The Kenya Justice Project, also known as "Enhancing Customary Justice Systems in the Mau Forest, Kenya," recently finished piloting a model for improving women's access to customary justice related to land. "Land reform remains a key issue under Kenya's new Constitution. Important legislation was passed in 2012, but much remains to be done to better ensure equitable access to Kenya's natural resources," says John Smith-Sreen, Director of the USAID/Kenya Office of Democracy, Rights and Governance. The Ol Pusimoru community has chartered new territory for the implementation of Article 159 of Kenya's new Constitution, which recognizes traditional dispute resolution mechanism. Chiefs, elders, women leaders, youth, and school communities have embraced Kenya's new Constitution. Two of the three sub-locations recently elected fourteen women to serve as elders alongside men.

Media interested in attending are requested to contact Robin Johnson to RSVP: Robin Johnson, Development Outreach and Communications Specialist, USAID/Kenya

+254 20 862 2332/+254 (0) 719 112 135/ robinjohnson@usaid.gov

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