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Chris Owalla

HRD, Executive Director
Community Initiative Action Group – Kenya

Chris Owalla is a human rights defender who advocates for social and environnemental justice. The human rights defender has also campaigned against corruption and mismanagement of public funds since 2013. In 2020 and 2023, he lodged several complaints against the County Government of Siaya, requesting that the core principles of budget transparency, public participation, and accountability be upheld in the recruitment process of state and public officers as well as putting an end to the region’s illegal land grabbing by public authorities. Chris Owalla is the Executive Director of Community Initiative Action Group – Kenya, which is a human rights, social justice and social policy organisation founded in 2005. He is also the coordinator of the Siaya Civil Society Network,  a civil society organisation working in the western part of Kenya to promote good governance, transparency and accountability in the management of public affairs. Additionally, Chris Owalla is a steering committee member of Kenya Devolution Civil Society Organisations Working Group (KDCWG), a national umbrella platform of CSOs from the 47 County CSOs networks of Kenya. The overall objective of the KDCWG is to contribute to effectiveness in the implementation of devolution in Kenya and the fulfillment of the devolution promises as stipulated in the Constitution of Kenya.

While Kenya maintains the appearance of a country where the public space is open, specific categories of human rights defenders encounter a wide range of risks as a result of their work. These include human rights defenders and journalists working on highly sensitive corruption issues, those who document or contribute testimony on past violence (including the 2007/2008 post election violence and frequent extra-judicial killings by the police) as well as those using peaceful demonstrations as an advocacy tool.