NGEC derives its mandate from the Constitution of Kenya 2010 in Articles 10, 27, 43, 59 and Chapter Fifteen among others. Article 10 provides for the national values and principles of governance, which include: human dignity, equity, social justice, inclusiveness, equality, human rights and non-discrimination. Specifically, Article 27 of the Constitution sets out the principle of equality and freedom from discrimination by stating that, every person is equal before the law and has a right to equal protection and benefit under the law.
The functions of the Commission are as provided in Section 8 of the NGEC Act 2011, which states as follows:-
- To promote gender equality and freedom from discrimination in accordance with Article 27 of the Constitution;
- Monitor, facilitate and advise on the integration of the principles of equality and freedom from discrimination in all national and county policies, laws, and administrative regulations in all public and private institutions;
- Act as the principal organ of the State in ensuring compliance with all treaties and conventions ratified by Kenya relating to issues of equality and freedom from discrimination and relating to special interest groups including minorities and marginalized persons, women, persons with disabilities, and children;
- Co-ordinate and facilitate mainstreaming of issues of gender, persons with disabilities and other marginalised groups in national development and to advise the Government on all aspects thereof;
- Monitor, facilitate and advise on the development of affirmative action implementation policies as contemplated in the Constitution;
- Investigate on its own initiative or on the basis of complaints, any matter in respect of any violations of the principle of equality and freedom from discrimination and make recommendations for the improvement of the functioning of the institutions concerned;
- Work with other relevant institutions in the development of standards for the implementation of policies for the progressive realization of the economic and social rights specified in Article 43 of the Constitution and other written laws;
- Co-ordinate and advise on public education programmes for the creation of a culture of respect for the principles of equality and freedom from discrimination;
- Conduct and co-ordinate research activities on matters relating to equality and freedom from discrimination as contemplated under Article 27 of the Constitution;
- Receive and evaluate annual reports on progress made by public institutions and other sectors on compliance with constitutional and statutory requirements on the implementation of the principles of equality and freedom from discrimination;
- Work with the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights, the Commission on Administrative Justice and other related institutions to ensure efficiency, effectiveness and complementarity in their activities and to establish mechanisms for referrals and collaboration in the protection and promotion of rights related to the principle of equality and freedom from discrimination;
- Prepare and submit annual reports to Parliament on the status of implementation of its obligations under this Act;
- Conduct audits on the status of special interest groups including minorities, marginalized groups, persons with disabilities, women, youth and children;
- Establish, consistent with data protection legislation, data bases on issues relating to equality and freedom from discrimination for different affected interest groups and produce periodic reports for national, regional and international reporting on progress in the realization of equality and freedom from discrimination for these interest groups;
- Perform such other functions as the Commission may consider necessary for the promotion of the principle of equality and freedom from discrimination; and
- Perform such other functions as may be prescribed by the Constitution and any other written law.
NGEC's alignment to Kenya's Vision 2030
The Kenya Vision 2030 provides for priority sectors and flagship projects as critical milestones to realization of provisions envisioned in the Social, Economic and Political pillars. The Vision acknowledges that specific policy, legislative and programmatic interventions are required for efficient development while overcoming critical barriers including gender gaps and other inequalities which impact upon access to and control of resources, economic opportunities, power and political voice.
Under the Social Pillar, the blue print visionary paper anticipates by 2030 ‘a just and cohesive society that enjoys equitable social development in a clean and secure environment’. The Social Pillar emphasizes on investing in the people of Kenya through equitable provision of social amenities that include education and training, healthcare services, water and sanitation, housing and urbanization. The Social Pillar also provides for a sub-sector that deals with: ‘Gender, Vulnerable groups and the Youth’. It focuses on four key areas, namely: opportunity; empowerment; capabilities and vulnerabilities in all aspects of development. NGEC is at the centre of the national institutional framework with obligations to ensure that all provisions in the Vision 2030 are executed in a timely fashion by all the sectors and players.