Printer-friendly versionPDF version

The Kenyan perspective

The Business Dictionary website define social justice as “The fair and proper administration of laws conforming to the natural law that all persons, irrespective of ethnic origin, gender, possessions, race, religion, etc., are to be treated equally and without prejudice.”

There are three important principles that drive social justice, these are;

  1. Equity - means that resources are allocated in according to the needs of individuals and demography with the desired goal of fairness of outcomes. A good example of these in our perspective is where the government decides to allocate more funding to People in North Eastern Kenya for improvement of roads, in order to facilitate better road network like other parts of the country.
  2. Diversity - refers to the differences that exist between individuals and people groups. In Kenya there diverse group of people and the government must try to inclusive in its day to day activities. Translation of  information in sign language for deaf citizens  in Kenya is an example where the government becomes inclusive
  3. Supportive environments - are environments where “people live, work and play that protect people from threats to health and that increase their ability to make health-promoting choices.” The government looks to create supportive environments for all people, and also looks at the environments of particular people groups to establish if these could be reasons for poorer health outcomes. In later days the government has been studying environment of some group of Kenya, where throat cancer has been prevalent

The social justice principles seek to recognise and address both the health outcomes, such as: incidence and prevalence of disease, and death rates, and the factors that influence health, such as: socioeconomic status, environment, and cultural factors.

The government mandated by the constitution of Kenya has vital obligation in ensuring that all Kenyans enjoy the following services for free;

  • Quality health care services.
  • Accessible and adequate housing.
  • Toilets and bathroom facilities that offer reasonable sanitation.
  • No person in Kenya should suffer the pangs of hunger.
  •  Adequate, clean and safe water.
  • Every child in Kenya is entitled to free and compulsory basic education. Since the child is any person under 18 years, primary and secondary education should be free and compulsory. Children are also entitled, at the cost of Government, to basic nutrition, shelter and health care.
  • Persons with disabilities are entitled to education facilities and institutions compatible with their disabilities. Those who cannot support themselves and their dependants have a right to receive social assistance. (Constitution of Kenya, 2010)

To make these a reality Kenyan parliament enacted In January 2013 the Social Assistance Act (No. 24 of 2013).Under this law financial and social assistance should be provided to poor orphans, vulnerable children, poor elderly persons, youth who are unemployed, disabled persons, widows and widowers, and people who have been disabled by acute chronic illness. It is this law that creates the National Social Assistance Authority of Kenya.

This is the authority that has the mandate to pay for food, shelter, clothing, fuel, utilities, household supplies, personal requirements, health care services, transportation expenses, funeral and burial expenses for those who qualify. It has the legal power to offer rehabilitation, counseling, adoption, and day care services and income assistance.

Over the years the government has created many funds within and outside the law to meet some of these needs. These are;

  • Ward Funds. The others include;
  • CDF, Uwezo, Kazi Kwa Vijana,
  • Women Fund, and
  • Funds for orphans and the elderly.

All these are geared towards social assistance programs.

A side from the government ensuring social justice to all, it is essential for all of us not to forget that social justice and social equality is every individual’s responsibility to uphold and protect and that government plays an important role in advancing it. However social justice can only be achieved if;

  • If  people come together and make their voices heard. Everyone should join a social justice movement
  • Initiatives start from the bottom. When a community comes together behind an issue, it can bring about change in many ways.
  • It is all about more than fairness.
  • It is  made successful through many smaller actions
  • There are many ways to be inclusive in social justice projects. The following ten ways can help Kenyans stimulate social justice; (read more -
  • Spread the word – especially disseminating empowering information
  • Listen more;
  • Attend a rally
  • Reclaim your community
  • Participate  volunteering work
  • support local organizations
  • adopt a politician
  • embrace diversity
  • sign a pledge
  • practice what you preach