Hot in Law, Luke-warm in Reality: Towards an Enabling Environment for Civil Society Organisations in Kenya

This study was conducted at a crucial moment in the domestic politics of Kenya being just months away from the 2017 General Elections. A significant proportion of the outcomes of the study were thus arguably influenced in profound ways by political events around the election cycle – as in the conduct of government, the operations of donors and in the demeanor of CSOs. The study aimed to investigate the status of the environment within which Youth & Child Rights CSOs were operating in Kenya. It endeavored to illuminate areas where progress had been made, both in terms of legal guarantees and in practice regarding realization and protection of rights and freedoms of Youth & Child Rights CSOs. It was notable that in many areas, there remained strong guarantees, supported by the Constitution of Kenya 2010 and subordinate legislation, for an elaborate spectrum of rights and freedoms that qualified a favorable conclusion to a large extent of the environment for Youth & Child Rights CSOs in Kenya. However, and more importantly, this study established a trend towards steady shrinkage of the civic space in Kenya that appeared to portend a difficult environment for Youth & Child Rights CSOs in the future. There was a notable trend towards undue tighter scrutiny, exploitation of legal and regulatory loopholes, and application of political mechanisms, both implicit and overt, to frustrate the work of CSOs including Youth & Child Rights organisations.