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CS speech CW

Distinguished Delegates,
Ladies and Gentlemen
I wish to congratulate you on your election as Chair of the Bureau of the 62nd Session of the Commission on the Status of Women.
Kenya aligns itself with the statement delivered on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, as well as the statement delivered on behalf of the African Group.

The Constitution of Kenya guarantees gender equality and women empowerment and today, Kenya is on track in the implementation of the Beijing platform for Action.

Gender Equality is at the centre of Kenya's national development and enjoys political commitment at the highest level from H.E Uhuru Kenyatta, The President of the Republic of Kenya.
The President has unveiled four key priority areas for his Government namely:
Food security and nutrition; Value addition and manufacturing; Universal health coverage; and Low-cost housing. These focus areas, dubbed the 'Big Four', will have a major impact on women and girls living in rural areas, and build on the gains already made.
In the Health Sector, the Government of Kenya has committed USD 43 Million to fund Free Maternity Services. This has contributed to an increase of deliveries in health facilities from 52% in 2003 to 61.2% and decline in Maternal Mortality Rate from 488 per 100,000 deaths in 2008 to 362 per 100,000 in 2014. Kenya's First Lady, through her Beyond Zero Campaign on maternal and child health has catalysed actions towards strategic partnerships for health.
The Government is committed to achieving universal health coverage. So far over 56% of the total population is covered by the National Health Insurance Fund.

Agriculture remains the backbone of Kenya's economy, directly contributing 24% of the annual GDP and another 27% indirectly. Sixty per cent (60%) of the total employment is agriculture linked. In rural areas, 80% of the population, of which 60% are women and girls, derive their livelihoods from agriculture. The Government's strategic focus is expected to improve agricultural production in Kenya with a direct bearing on rural women and girls.
On Women, the Economy and Poverty, the Government policy on the 30% procurement, reserved for youth, women and persons with disabilities has had significant impact. To date, USD 40 million worth of Government tenders have been allocated. Affirmative Action Funds, have benefited over 3 million people countrywide, majority of whom are women.
The Government is opening up rural areas by investing in physical and social infrastructure and enabling women and girls to thrive economically and lessen time burden. In 2017, Government constructed 3800 km of low volume road and expanded major roads in rural areas.
The Last Mile, a rural electrification programme, plans to connect 70% of Kenya in the rural area and to reduce connection cost and time by 60% in the medium term. So far, 5 million households, 14,950 public schools and 9840 public facilities have access to electricity.
To harmonize integration of agriculture and energy, reduce the burden of collecting firewood on women, mitigate against unpaid care work, for women in rural areas, the government is distributing 1.2 million gas cylinders and supporting women in adopting LPG gas. This is expected to eliminate challenges of bio fuels such as negative health impacts, economic burden, environmental degradation and pollution.
On Mobile Money Technology, over 196,000 subscribers in the rural areas, the majority of whom are women, can transact financial services of great benefit to their living standards and economic activity. Currently 30.6 0/0 of women have access to banking services.
On women representation and decision making, the Country is making progressive steps to accelerate gender parity in political participation and representation, both in elective and appointive positions through the Constitutional provision of 'not more than 2/3 gender principle'.
Noteworthy is the increased proportion of women in national and local assemblies; expansion of democratic spaces in previously male dominated spheres e.g. three newly elected women in the position of Governors. Women in influential dockets of: Foreign Affairs, Health, Education, Lands, Defence, Public Service, Gender and Youth.


In the Education sector, the free primary and secondary education and provision of free sanitary towels targeting 4 Million Girls, has significantly increased both the Gross Enrolment Rate and Net Enrolment Rate and boosted retention of girls living in rural areas. Today Kenya has achieved gender parity in primary school enrolment.

Kenya continues to strengthen the legal and policy framework that secures and underpins gains made in achieving gender equality and women empowerment, two critical legislations that entrench principles of gender equality and that enable women land ownership, will see the per cent of women who own land increase from the current figure of 20%.
To mitigate the effects of gender-based violence and harmful practices various legal, policy and programmatic interventions are being implemented.
A joint UN/GOK GBV programme focused on prevention, protection, prosecution programming and consolidating partnerships was launched and complemented by GBV hotlines, referral centres and capacity building for duty bearers.

In conclusion, I wish to re-affirm our commitment to accelerate the realization of gender equality and empowerment of women and girls living in rural areas, and welcome continued collaboration with local, regional and international partners who contribute to the achievement of our goals.
I thank you.

Change of guard at State Department of Gender Affairs

Change of guard at State Department of Gender Affairs
Nairobi March 5, 2018

PS gender handover1Newly appointed Gender Affairs Principal Secretary Safina Kweke has officially assumed office from the out-going PS Mwanamaka Mabruki at a brief handover ceremony held at State Department of Gender Affairs Boardroom, Telposta Tower.
Handing over the documents of authority, the out- going PS Ms Mabruki wished the incoming Gender Affairs Principal Secretary all the best in her new assignment.

Ms Mabruki appealed to the Heads of Departments and SAGAs in attendance to accord the new Gender PS unwavering support in her new assignment.

Bidding farewell to the officials, PS Mabruki urged the HoDs to up their game in executing their assignments so as to help in achieving the mandate of the State Department.

In her acceptance remarks, the incoming Principal Secretary, Ms Safina Kwekwe thanked her predecessor for her enormous contribution in steering the Department and appealed for cooperation from the staff to place it to the next level in service delivery.

Assuring the staff of her readiness to offer guidance and leadership, PS Kwekwe appealed for team work so as to tackle emerging challenges in the Department.

On the actualizing of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Big Four agenda, PS Kwekwe stated that the Ministry of Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs is expected to play a major role which requires every staff, regardless of their position, to render selfless service.



Kenya Girl Guides Association marks World Thinking Day celebrations.

Kenya Girl Guides Association marks World Thinking Day celebrations.
Nairobi, Thursday, February 22, 2018

Girl guide 2Newly appointed Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs Cabinet Secretary Prof. Margaret Kobia, today joined the First Lady Mrs. Margaret Kenyatta who presided over the Kenya Girl Guides Association World Thinking Day Celebrations, at All Saints Cathedral, Nairobi.

During the event, the First Lady also launched the Association’s Strategic Plan 2018-2028, which focuses on enlisting more than 3 million new members raising them to develop their fullest potential as leaders and responsible citizens of the World.
Delivering her speech, the First Lady hailed the organization which is the largest girls’ only movement in Kenya for providing opportunities to millions of young women to play their rightful role in the society.
Mrs. Kenyatta stated that the association has been active in Kenya for over 90 years with a membership comprising of every race, ethnicity, culture, class and religion.
Emphasizing the need for the management to work tirelessly towards achieving its intended targets, the First Lady hailed the Association for providing avenues for girls and young women to contribute to addressing global issues, advocate and campaign to influence policies that affect them and make a better world.
In her remarks, CS Prof. Kobia said the work of the Girl Guide Movement resonates very well with the mandate of the Ministry she is in charge, of empowering the youth of this nation both economically and socially citing a number of programmes which include:-
• Various affirmative funds for youth under the Youth Enterprise Development Fund (YEDF) which provide loans to youth groups for economic empowerment.
• Access to Government Procurement Opportunities (AGPO) which ensures youth owned enterprises are given preference when it comes to Government procurement.
• Kenya Youth Empowerment and Opportunities Project (KYEOP), that focuses on increasing employment and earning opportunities for youths through capacity building.
• National Youth Service (NYS), which offers various training programmes and will be in the forefront of implementing the President’s Transformative Agenda under the ‘Big Four’ (Manufacturing, Housing, Health Care and Food and Nutrition Security) and
• President’s Award Kenya (PA-K) which runs programmes aimed at building and recognizing exemplary character among the youth in Kenya.
Paying tribute to the First Lady for her good work to improve the quality of lives of Kenyans, Prof. Kobia cited the impact of the ‘Beyond Zero Initiative’, the Pupils Rewards Mentorship Programme and other numerous development initiatives that have transformed the lives of its beneficiaries.
In conclusion, CS Prof. Kobia pointed out other socially focused programmes being undertaken aimed at eliminating discrimination against young people concerning access to resources such as health and education.
“I believe that these programmes provide a good platform on which my Ministry and the Girl Guide Movement can engage and partner,” stated Prof. Kobia.
On her part, the chief commissioner for the Kenya Girl Guides Association (KGGA), Mrs. Jennifer Karina stated the preparedness of its officials to take the association to the next level of developing nurturing the girls to be responsible citizens.


Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to invest over Ksh 17 Billion on Women and Girls empowerment


Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to invest over Ksh 17 Billion on Women and Girls empowerment

Nairobi April 9, 2018
Melinda gates 2The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has committed to invest over Ksh 17 Billion (Seventeen Billion Kenya Shillings) over the next four years to advance gender equality through women’s economic empowerment.
This revelation came when a delegation from Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, led by the Senior Program Officer responsible for Gender Equality, Ms Erin Hohlfelder, paid a courtesy call to Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs Cabinet Secretary, Professor Margaret Kobia at her Harambee House office on Monday.
During the meeting, Ms Hohlfelder briefed the Cabinet Secretary on their mission in the country which includes the need to develop an overarching strategy that aims to systematically tackle the barriers that hold women and girls back from living to their full potential.
“Gender equality has always been at the heart of our work, through initiatives on nutrition, health, and agriculture. The goal of our strategy is to empower more women and girls with economic opportunities they need so as to engage as equals in society,” Ms Hohlfelder said.
She noted that the new strategy will build on their existing efforts to strengthen gender data, support grassroots women’s movements and promote accountability for the SDGs.
In her remarks, CS Kobia hailed the Foundation for its charitable work across Africa, and more so in the country, adding that there is need to explore wider engagement for the benefit of the vulnerable segment of the society.
The CS told the delegation that the Ministry she is in charge of is creating space where Kenyan youth can connect to make a difference in our communities, adding that the Ministry is, at the same time, coordinating our activities to align them with the President’s Big Four agenda.
During the visit, Ms Hohlfelder was accompanied by the Program Officer in charge of Global Policy and Advocacy, Ms Caitlin Feurey and a Mr. Sambauru Wa-Shiko.


CS Kobia hands over as Public Service Commission Chairperson

CS handover PSC2CS Kobia hands over as Public Service Commission Chairperson

Nairobi March 7, 2018

Prof. Margaret Kobia has officially handed over the docket of the Public Service Commission Chairperson to the Vice Chairperson, Amb. Peter O. Ole Nkuraiyia in an acting capacity.

The handover ceremony held at the Commission Building, was conducted by the Chief Executive Officer who is also the Commission Secretary, Dr Alice Atieno Otwala and witnessed by other Commissioners and Directors of the Board.

In her remarks, the outgoing Chairperson, who is now the Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs Cabinet Secretary, Professor Margaret Kobia, urged the team to strive to understand who their customers and their needs are so as to offer guidance in service delivery.

Appreciating the cordial working relationship extended to her during her tenure of office, CS Kobia urged the team to continue with the same team spirit in order to deliver on the Commission’s mandate.

Noting that the Commission is well placed in the attainment of the President’s Big Four Agenda, CS Kobia urged them to develop a unique collaboration of networks with stakeholders, including the Council of Governors, to ensure they are well positioned to achieve the desired goals.

Articulating achievements during her tenure of office, the outgoing Chairperson emphasised the importance of building a public service which is efficient and effective, through implementing sound policies meant to develop human resources equal to their task in the changing world of public service delivery.

CS Kobia Stressed the importance of the Public Service Commission as an ingredient to the three arms of the government, urging the Commissioners and Directors to adhere to regulations of duties while exercising disciplinary control over and removal of officers holding or acting in public offices.

The acting Chairperson, Amb. Ole Nkuraiyia, wished CS Kobia success in her new posting as a Cabinet Secretary and indicated his willingness to continue seeking for her guidance whenever need arises to take the Commission to the next level.

“As commissioners, we’re delighted in your new appointment which is a clear testimony of the trust and confidence the Head of State has on you and the Commission. We will count on your support in addressing gaps and challenges as we strive to streamline better management and efficiency of service delivery in Ministries, Departments and State Agencies." Ambassador Ole Nkuraiyia concluded.

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