Tobacco use is the major cause of non-communicable diseases and deaths in Kenya. The consumption of the product has brought about cognitive dissonance amongst it’s users thus leading to denial of it’s adverse effect. ILA has concerted efforts in a bid to avert this trend through:
Policy and Legislation Development and Implementation
ILA has been involved in drafting and lobbying for the passing of tobacco control legislation in Kenya since 2004. In 2006, ILA participated in drafting subsidiary legislation to ban smoking in public places and was also directly involved in the lobby for the passing of the Tobacco Control Act 2007 as well as supporting the implementation efforts through mobilizing technical and financial resources. Additionally, we are involved in efforts led by the Ministry of Health to develop regulations under the Tobacco Control Act 2007
ILA is involved in the capacity building of different stakeholders in Tobacco Control; including the Government and Civil Society. In 2007, ILA trained 50 City Council Officers from Nakuru Municipality to enforce local bylaws creating smoke free public places. The officers were trained alongside 50 additional representatives of religious, youth and women organizations. Later, on the enactment of the Tobacco Control Act 2007, in partnership with the Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation we trained over 1000 officers in 20 major towns in Kenya on the enforcement of the Tobacco Control Act 2007. These trainings have raised the level of awareness on the provisions of the law across the country and contributed to improved implementation and enforcement of the law. Furthermore, civil society organisations that have been part of these trainings are expected to build upon the relationships that they have build at the local level with government departments, to support and monitor the implementation of the act.
ILA is currently supporting the Tobacco Control Board in implementation of a project that that seeks to develop the capacity of the board in Tobacco control, develop a policy on tobacco control and regulations under the Act.
ILA has offered technical assistance to the Ministry of Health through the Attorney General’s office to defend a court case filed by the tobacco industry in Kenya challenging the subsidiary legislation. We are currently involved in the defense1 of two suits filed by the Tobacco Industry challenging the constitutionality of the Tobacco Control Act 2007,
Research on Tobacco Control
In 2009 – 2010, ILA hosted a Consortium of 11 organisations which carried out a situational analysis of tobacco control in Kenya funded by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and the Bill Gates Foundation. The Analysis focussed on the enforcement of smoke free legislation in Nairobi and involved a baseline survey to identify where the law is not being enforced, meetings with policy makers and various stakeholders and interest groups to support a smoke free Nairobi. ILA has also been involved in other baseline surveys and has recently conducted a research on the tobacco taxation in Kenya; whose results are being used to lobby for increased taxation of tobacco products in Kenya in line with WHO recommendations in order to improve the tobacco taxation system in Kenya and provide for regular, effective tax increases and creation of a sustainable funding mechanism for tobacco control programs in Kenya
The work carried out by ILA has helped to raise the profile of tobacco control in Kenya by supporting a holistic and integrated approach in the implementation of the Tobacco Control Act 2007. They have also provided the stakeholders with the opportunity of building synergies in tobacco control and this is the best way of building sustainable advocacy campaign in the country that can be replicated in others.
ILA through its work in Tobacco Control has contributed immensely to developing capacity for tobacco control both within government and in civil society in Kenya. The organization continues to partner with different stakeholders to mobilize resources both human and financial to support tobacco control efforts in Kenya.
The work of ILA in Tobacco Control has not gone unnoticed. In 2008, Rachel Kitonyo (ILA’s former Executive Director) was awarded with the Judy Wilkenfeld Award for International Tobacco Control Excellence. During her service at ILA she also managed to serve as the Vice Chair of the Kenya Tobacco Control Alliance (KETCA), an umbrella body bringing together all the civil society organizations involved in tobacco control in Kenya since 2006. She is currently working with the Africa Tobacco Control Consortium (ATCC) coordinating a 5 year project to promote evidence based Tobacco Control in sub- Saharan Africa.
Support to the Implementation FCTC
ILA has worked on Tobacco Control since its inception; and throughout this period has been aware and alert of the negative consequences of the involvement of the Tobacco Industry in Tobacco Control. ILA’s tobacco control work is guided by the spirit, principles and provisions of the World Health
Rachel Kitonyo making an acceptance speech during the Judy Wilkenfeld Award for International Tobacco Control Excellence
Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control ( WHO- FCTC), which in article 5.3 urges Governments to protect their public Health policies from commercial and other vested interests of the tobacco Industry.
To this end, ILA was closely involved in the drafting of the Tobacco Control Act; which to a large extent limits the involvement of the Industry in Tobacco Control policies in Kenya. ILA has also been in the fore front of lobbying for the development of regulations to domesticate Article 5.3 of the FCTC and has
Drafted regulations to this effect
which we continue to lobby the Government to adopt Further ILA has continued to conduct ground and media monitoring of the activities of the Industry in Kenya and working in collaboration with the Government to take the necessary action against any activity that violates the Law and or is in violation of the objectives of tobacco control. Using the information obtained from the monitoring, the ILA recently published a shadow report on the status of implementation of the FCTC in the country with some reference to the activities of the Industry; and is currently using the report to lobby the government to improve its efforts in Tobacco Control.
Information on other conferences and meetings hosted by ILA
Lawyers’ Circle: A Legal Workshop for Tobacco Control Lawyers in Africa (October 22-25, 2009)
Convened by the International Legal Consortium at the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids (CTFK) and the African Tobacco Control Alliance (ATCA), ILA locally hosted delegates mainly from African countries for a legal workshop for tobacco control lawyers in Africa at the Holiday Inn, partnership with the American Cancer Society held a successful Workshop on Tobacco Control and International Trade in Nairobi (now Southern Sun, Mayfair). The workshop, which had 48 participants, was convened on 26th to achieve the following:
• Discuss common concerns and issues related to Tobacco Control;
• Keep abreast of worldwide legislative and litigation trends;
• receive and share information on drafting effective Tobacco Control legislation;
• Participate in a global network of Tobacco Control lawyers; and begin shaping the goals, objectives and activities of this network
Tobacco Control and International Trade Workshop (July 26-28, 2011)
The success of the Lawyer’s Circle Workshop provided recommendations for ILA to host a workshop in the country on Tobacco Control and International Trade. It was convened by the American Cancer Society in collaboration with the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) and experts from Marquette University, University of Melbourne, and Georgetown University.
ILA provided logistical support and preparation for the workshop at the Fairview Hotel in Nairobi. The workshop sought to build capacity in sub-Saharan Africa to understand international trade concepts as they relate to tobacco control and how to defend tobacco control policy from trade related arguments by the tobacco industry. It targeted lawyers, tobacco control advocates and other civil society representatives who work on international trade policy. It was attended by 24 participants from various African countries, as well as from Europe and America.
ILA considers media as a key player in tobacco Control and has sought to generate positive media coverage in support of tobacco control in Kenya through print and electronic media houses with a presence in Kenya. ILA started building capacity of the health and features journalists way back in 2007. ILA saw the need to incorporate them and keep them abreast with issues of tobacco control.
From then on, ILA has been walking this journey with a network of media personalities by doing courtesy calls, updating them and possibly securing news items and articles from them. The media fraternity highly attended launch of the report ‘Economics of Tobacco Taxation’ at a breakfast meeting. The general concepts in tobacco control were not only reported but also specific topics such as tobacco taxation. This has helped in influencing positive and accurate reporting on tobacco control issues. ILA has also been involved in public education campaigns through strategic radio and television talk shows.
In order to monitor this coverage, ILA has conducted media monitoring; results of which have played a part in determining the strategies for engaging the media in Kenya. Also from monitoring, we have noted an interesting pattern, that some journalists are obviously influenced by the Tobacco Industry, and at times write in favour of them. Such, have presented the opportunities for us to respond and give the other side from the tobacco control.
ILA’s capacity to organize Local and international press
The Kenyan media has evolved over time and has become very competitive. The media houses are playing it big by heavily investing in equipment, talent and quality. This has seen some health and features writers being recognised internationally and also made it able for Kenya to house not one, two but many international media events. ILA has previously worked with well established companies which have good international networks and
Pictorial: During the launch of Kenya Anti-Tobacco Media Campaign in Nairobi Kenya
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