An equality-sensitive approach to delivering socio-economic rights during crises: a focus on Kenya

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter discusses how the dire situation of vulnerable groups in Kenya is exacerbated in times of crises, such as the Covid-19 pandemic. Loss of employment, food shortages, and the high cost of living, coupled with the lack of equality-sensitive interventions by the government, have led to a rise in the number of Kenyans living in absolute poverty. This is despite the fact that Kenya’s 2010 Constitution contains multiple provisions on the protection of the socio-economic rights of vulnerable groups, with Article 20(5)(b) going even further to require the prioritization of the needs of vulnerable groups when implementing the socio-economic rights in Article 43 of the Constitution, to ensure their widest possible enjoyment. The chapter argues that, as much as Kenya’s laws provide the necessary legal framework and impetus for applying equality-sensitive approaches to delivering socio-economic rights and to avoid reinforcing inequality in times of crisis, they are not implemented by those in charge. The challenge, therefore, is the lack of application of actual laws in practice to facilitate the implementation of socio-economic rights to address the adverse effects of crises and their aftermath. In the final analysis, the chapter emphasizes that the needs of the most vulnerable in society should be prioritized when the state is implementing initiatives to respond to crises. This is what is constitutionally mandated in Kenya. To achieve this may mean the enactment of laws to best tackle contempt of court orders and blatant disregard of the law.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationExponential inequalities
Subtitle of host publicationequality law in times of crisis
EditorsShreya Atrey, Sandra Fredman
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9780191975943
ISBN (Print)9780192872999
Publication statusPublished - 19 Jan 2023


  • Kenya
  • Equality
  • Discrimination
  • Constitution
  • Poverty
  • Socio-economic rights
  • Covid-19
  • Equality-sensitive
  • Slum dwellers


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