The Gay and Lesbian Coalition of Kenya (GALCK) General Meeting is the highest decision making organ in the coalition. It only comes second to the community members who converge every two years to give it life. The last Biennial General Meeting was held in 2010 and in it the then four existing member groups voted in 2 new groups. The six member groups presented nominees for voting into the current GALCK Board which was mandated to lead the coalition through a decriminalization process and review the constitution, as well adopting more groups to give it a more national outreach and representation.
In 2011, GALCK undertook a Network Management process supported by GIZ. It was to cause groups to review the relationship between GALCK and Member Groups and a report on the same was compiled by Nguru Karugu, the official consultant for the process. Concurrently, GALCK conducted a Needs Assessment for new and emerging and affiliate groups all over the country which saw GALCK initiate discussions with more groups who would potentially join in the coalition after procedural application, vetting and nomination and voting at the next BGM.
As GALCK has continuously grown in its scale and capacity, concerns have been raised with regards to its compliance with its original mandate, structure, representation, accountability, politics and accessibility to the community among many others.
The committee that was constituted to plan and organise the next Biennial General Meeting realized that the spirit of the day could not allow for an ordinary General Meeting. If GALCK as an organization was to continue being a part of the future of LGBTI organizing and movement in Kenya and the region, special measures had to be taken to address the concerns being raised. The committee therefore sought a different approach.
Initially it was agreed that a Master of Ceremony was to be engaged for the General meeting, but after discussions it was concluded that adopting a panel of peer moderators with regard to their experience and expertise in movement building in the country, was a more appropriate option. After wide scale consulting, three names were agreed upon Pouline Kimani, Angus Parkinson and Nguru Karugu. They represent the activist, the organizer and the consultant face of the movement in general in a historical purview. It was also decided that their experience would be employed from the early stages of planning and not just at the eventual General Meeting. This couldn’t have come at a better time as their contributions have been vital in what has now been adopted as The Biennial General Meeting Process.
In adopting this Process approach, the planning committee wishes to address consultation as one of the main goals. As has been expressed by in previous communiqués, a desire to have the next phase of GALCKs mandate community driven still remains. To this end, the planning committee made proposals which were approved by the board.
To have the three Moderators mentioned above on board the planning process on an advisory capacity. Where their first task was to meet with member group representatives, and bring them on board with the newly adopted BGM Process. This has happened in the week ending Friday the 13th of July 2012.
To address concerns raised by the community both through existing organizations and individual activists. This is to be done through a survey developed from pertinent questions raised by LGBTI community members on the mandate of GALCK, its relevance in the entire LGBTI movement in the country and beyond, where the community feels GALCK has improved or fell short, accountability and transparency amongst others. The survey toolkit has been developed and will include a questionnaire that will be made available on Tuesday the 17th of July 2012 and will run through to the 31st of July 2012. It will be available both online and offline as printouts. We urge all community members to come on board and use it to raise their concerns and views. Apart from the questionnaire, there shall be interviews conducted with key stakeholders including individual activists, organizations independent of GALCK, community members and all those who are involved in the movement in the country and beyond. There is a realization that there are many individuals who have contributed and continue to contribute immensely to the overall struggle without necessarily being affiliated to groupings and organizations.
This consultative process, has in many ways began and for its success, ample time has to be given for the collection, collation, analysis of the views for recommendations and inclusion in the next Biennial General meeting. As such, the earlier announced 3rd and 4th of August 2012 dates for the General meeting shall be used for a Community Forum on the 4th of August 2012 which intends to bring community members in one sitting to contribute to mapping out the desired future and GALCKs role in the entire LGBTI movement in the country.
In conclusion therefore, the new dates for the GALCK Biennial General Meeting will be 31st August and 1st September 2012. By which time it is projected that the inclusive General Meeting Process shall have collected the views of the community for presentation to its highest organ, the General Meeting.
We urge for participation in this process, including suggestions as to how it can be made more inclusive. This is the moment to put our heads together and map out the future of the movement in Kenya.