The Countess of Wessex will continue her work with the Women, Peace and Security agenda (WPS) and the Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative (PSVI) as she visits Nairobi, Kenya from 19th to 20th September.
The Countess will deliver a speech at the opening of the Commonwealth Women’s Affairs Ministers Meeting. Hosted by the government of Kenya, the theme for the 12th Commonwealth Women’s Affairs Ministers Meeting is ‘From Commitment to Action: Accelerating Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment for Sustainable Development’.
During the event, she will “meet delegates from Commonwealth member states to hear how they are addressing gender inequality and working to advance women and girls’ rights across the Commonwealth, including through girls’ quality education.”
Whilst in Kenya, the Countess of Wessex also will make visits to organisations working for women’s participation in peace processes and those supporting conflict-related sexual violence survivors.
One of these organisations is RefuSHE, an NGO which provides shelter, education, legal advocacy support, and counselling for women and their children who have fled conflict zones. The Countess of Wessex will meet with refugees from Somalia, South Sudan, and other countries affected by conflict, and also learn about the group’s Girls Empowerment Programme. The initiative equips women with skills such as scarf-making to enable them to gain financial independence. The Countess will see their scarf-making in action and join the women for a fashion show.
Later, she will visit the International Peace Support Training Centre to meet WPS and PSVI experts and practitioners from the Kenyan Government and Kenya Defence Forces. The Countess also will visit the British Peace Support Team (Africa) to hear about the UK-delivered WPS/PSVI training to military units deploying to neighbouring countries.
To complete her visit, the Countess of Wessex will join a roundtable meeting with various NGOs supporting those affected by conflict-related sexual violence in the region. One of the discussion topics will be “the issues with holding perpetrators to account and how survivors are being supported in Kenya.”
The Countess of Wessex announced her commitment to supporting the UK’s efforts in the WPS agenda and PSVI earlier this year.