Archives January 2021

Kenyatta University Women’s Economic Empowerment Hub Unveiled

Kenyatta University Women’s Economic Empowerment Hub Unveiled

Cabinet Secretary, Prof. Margaret Kobia yesterday on 28th January, 2021 presided over the launch of the Kenyatta University Women’s Economic Empowerment Hub (KUWEE Hub) and The Initiative for What Works for Women’s Economic Empowerment.

The hub is expected to capacity build junior researchers, postgraduate students and partners in research, policy advocacy and communication strategies on women economic empowerment.

The goal of The Initiative for What Works for Women’s Economic Empowerment is to build programme and policy evidence on what works to advance women economic empowerment in Kenya.

Prof. Kobia commended the Kenyatta University team for their vision and leadership in establishing the Hub and conceptualizing the Initiative. She also appreciated the financiers, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, for their generous support to the tune of Ksh.400 million over the next five years which she noted adds to the already wide portfolio the Foundation has invested in Kenya in various sectors including health, education innovation among others.

The Cabinet Secretary committed to working with Kenyatta University, the WEE-Hub and all partners to apply the evidence generated to influence the policy terrain in Kenya on all the 11-Primary Outcomes envisaged by the KU-WEE Hub.

Further, in line with the Gender and Development Policy, she committed to work with them on the following:

i. Collection and analysis of data and information required for the design, monitoring and evaluation of policies and projects for women and support to liaise with NGO projects and women organisations;

ii. Providing gender-disaggregated data on relevant indicators that are disaggregated by sex, age and disability where we hold such data;

iii. Collaborating with mandated agencies to gather sex disaggregated data in support of the 5-year initiative; and

iv. Establishing guidelines for the collection, analysis and collation of gender-disaggregated data for use by relevant stakeholders.

By Catherine Kamau

Cabinet Secretary Unveils Women and Youth Empowerment Projects

Cabinet Secretary Unveils Women and Youth Empowerment Projects

Cabinet Secretary, Prof. Margaret Kobia on Friday 22nd, January 2021 inaugurated several key government projects on Women and Youth empowerment in the county of Meru.

The Cabinet Secretary launched the upgrade of the link road leading to Mariene campus, a constituent campus of the University of Meru, currently under construction. During her inspection tour of the on-going works being carried out by the National Youth Service, the Cabinet Secretary thanked President Uhuru Kenyatta for facilitating the establishment of the new campus, noting that the President had facilitated the allocation of the land on which the campus is being established and that the title for the land had already been issued. She also acknowledged the Ministry of Education for prioritizing funding for the construction of the campus to begin. At the request of the area Member of Parliament Mr. Moses Kirima who accompanied her, the Cabinet Secretary agreed to request the President to honour the community by laying the foundation stone of the campus in the coming days.

At a later function the Cabinet Secretary officially launched the newly refurbished and fully equipped Meru Central Constituency Youth Empowerment Center. Accompanied by the Secretary for youth from the Ministry of ICT, Innovation and Youth Affairs Mr. Raymond Ochieng, Prof Kobia unveiled the new center which will provide the youth from the area with reliable internet access. It will also serve as a counseling and guidance center. The Cabinet Secretary challenged the youth from the constituency to take advantage of the services that the government has laid at their disposal to empower themselves.

Earlier in the day, Prof. Kobia unveiled two new products that have been introduced to enhance women empowerment through the Women Enterprise Fund (WEF). A new lending model that is more flexible and gives more autonomy to individual women entrepreneurs was launched, where women can borrow money for individual projects under the umbrella of their groups. She also introduced enhanced financing to women groups of up to Kshs one million, up from a previous ceiling of Kshs 750,000. “No woman belonging to a group should lack funds to start or run a business in this country” the cabinet Secretary averred.

At the same time the Cabinet secretary disbursed KES. 39 Million to women groups in Meru County. She encouraged women from across the country to take advantage of the affordable soft loans made available through Women Enterprise Fund (WEF).

In her extensive tour of the day, Prof. Kobia was accompanied by Central Imenti MP, Hon. Moses Kirima, North Imenti MP, Hon. Dawood Rahim, Meru Deputy County Commissioner, Titus Kilonzi, CEO Women Enterprise Fund, Eng. Charles Mwirigi among other government officials.

By Jacqueline Kirimi

Launch of Economic Empowerment of Women through Climate Smart Agriculture

Cabinet Secretary, Prof. Margaret Kobia on Wednesday, 20th January, 2021 presided over the launch of “Kenya Economic Empowerment of Women through Climate Smart Agriculture in Arid & Semi-Arid Areas” program. This is a four- year program funded by Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) and jointly implemented by Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations and UN Women.

The program aims to strengthen women’s capacity to meaningfully engage in Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) and will be piloted in the three Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASAL) Counties of Laikipia, West Pokot and Kitui.

Prof. Kobia noted that the objectives of the programme, are aligned to relevant Government policies and will augment and advance women empowerment and gender equality program and contribute to overall economic growth.

She observed that the Agriculture sector has high employment potential and is capable of absorbing many women who are currently faced with high unemployment rates.

The Cabinet Secretary noted that Kenya’s Vision 2030, identifies agriculture as one of the key movers to deliver the 10 per cent annual economic growth rate envisaged under the economic pillar.

In her remarks Prof. Kobia called on partners to address an emerging gender threat before it snowballs into a bigger problem – the empowerment of the boy child. “As we continue to empower the woman we should also ensure we are not leaving anyone behind. As we empower the girl child we must equally empower the boy child in order to develop stronger and better families for the communities and the nation at large,” she urged.

UN Women Kenya Country Director Ms. Anna Mutavati on her part said the project would keep the gender equality agenda going forward despite the COVID-19 global challenge. “It is paramount that, in a country where women feature so heavily in agriculture, climate smart programmes are tailored to their needs,” she added.

FAO representative to Kenya Ms. Carla Mucavi noted that they recognize that food security starts and ends with women, who account for 60-75 percent of the labour force in smallholder agriculture in Kenya, as well as in many other countries in Africa.

“It is therefore very crucial to leave no one behind in the quest to attaining food and nutrition security for all,” she said.

She said FAO is working in collaboration with UN Women in this project as a strategic partnership to realise the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that focus on gender equality (SDG 5), zero hunger (SDG 2), no poverty (SDG 1) and climate action (SDG 13) among many other national, regional and global goals.

Among development partners present included H.E Choi Yeonghan, Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to Kenya; and Ms. Judy Matu, CEO, Kenya Association of Women in Agriculture, among others.

WEF Beneficiaries gets KES. 38 Million in Embu and Tharaka Nithi Counties

WEF Beneficiaries gets KES. 38 Million in Embu and Tharaka Nithi Counties

Cabinet Secretary, Prof. Margaret Kobia on Tuesday, 19th January, 2021 toured Embu and Tharaka Nithi Counties where she disbursed KES. 38 Million to Women Enterprise Fund (WEF) beneficiaries.

While addressing the women groups, Prof. Kobia noted that empowering women economically who comprise of over 50% of the population, is a key component of sustainable development for Kenya.

She said that to respond to the fast-changing financial world and to meet the expectations of women entrepreneurs, WEF has a new lending model that is more flexible and gives more autonomy to individual women within the groups. Notable changes have been effected in individual loans (Jiimarishe Loans), Chama Loans (Tuinuke Loan) also known as Constituency Women Enterprise Scheme and Sacco Funding.

“In Embu County, for instance, Winas Saving and Credit Co-operative Society is under consideration as one of WEF’s partners and once the process is completed, they will receive KES.10 Million which will boost individual women entrepreneurs in this region and in return boost the County’s economy,” she said.

She commended the women for their fast uptake and swift repayment of the loans and urged them to continue taking up loans even as we get back to normal in the post-COVID-19 period.

The Cabinet Secretary revealed that women who are empowered economically do not experience much gender based violence as they are enlightened and productive with improved livelihoods.

Prof. Kobia urged the residents to heed H.E. President, Uhuru Kenyatta’s message of working together for a united, peaceful and prosperous nation.

By Jacqueline Kirimi