“Development Policies cannot be implemented successfully in any part of the world if women are not fully involved.” These were the sentiments of Mr Denis Ogola, the Deputy County Commissioner of Kakamega Central Sub County.

Advocating for family planning as a basic ingredient in population management and development, the DCC called on women to embrace small family norms to avoid biting poverty.

Mr. Ogola was speaking during a joint forum of the National Council for Population and Development (NCPD) and Maendeleo Ya Wanawake Organization (MYWO) to sensitize Women Leaders on the Population Policy for National Development (Sessional Paper No.3 of 2012).

The forum also collected community leaders’ views to support the document review. The policy review is necessary due to the many emerging issues that needed to be incorporated and dealt with. A total of 106 women (majority), youth and men participated.

Among the critical issues identified for discussion were: poverty; unemployment; drugs and substance abuse; rapid population growth; teen pregnancies and sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV). The forum also prioritized suicide, defilements and abortion as key emerging issues in the County.

A raft of measures to deal with the critical and emerging issues were proposed. Key among them were the establishment of cottage industries at sub county level; awareness creation and social behaviour change communication; male involvement in family planning and reproductive health; meaningful engagement of the youth (support talent development, internship and volunteer opportunities.

Others were promotion of Income Generation Activities (IGAs)); setting up of rehabilitation centres; law enforcement especially in cases of SGBV; gender equity; guidance and counselling; improved parenting.

The Women also proposed the castration of sex pests and the scrapping of the “return to school” policy arguing that it encouraged teen pregnancies.

The MYWO National Vice Chair, Mrs. Happy Gloria called for the implementation of the Organization’s mandate which is to instil cultural and family values in communities.

While calling for greater partnership with NCPD, Gloria said MYWO is a grassroots organization championing gender and development issues and will be happy to incorporate the population agenda.