Archives August 2021

Cabinet Secretary, Prof. Kobia Presents Statement on the Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Girls in Kenya

Cabinet Secretary, Prof. Margaret Kobia yesterday presided over the presentation of a statement on the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on girls in Kenya and a call for action by Kenya Girl Guides Association youth leaders.

During the meeting, the Kenya Girl Guides Association presented a 7-point statement of how the girls and young women in Kenya have been affected by COVID-19 which included Gender-Based Violence; menstrual period poverty; evident pay gap for women health workers; unemployment; higher poverty level; inequality at home; and inaccessibility to quality education by girls from marginalized communities.

The report is adding voice to the many reports on the issue of COVID-19 and, therefore, underscoring the importance of this matter to Governments and Stakeholders.

Prof. Kobia commended the efforts, initiative and commitment by the young people and the Kenya Girl Guides Association and for coming up with an apt topic of discussion at this critical time of the COVID-19 pandemic. She recognised that the pandemic was not just a health crisis but also a social one.

“The pandemic has unravelled not only as a health crisis but also as a social crisis where vulnerabilities facing girls are exposed. We have seen rising cases of GBV, teenage pregnancy, education inequalities among other forms of social injustices,” she said.

Recently, the Government launched a report on ‘Promises to Keep:

The Impact of COVID-19 on Adolescents in Kenya which indicated that over 300 girls throughout the pandemic have fallen pregnant and others have dropped out of school. The association put forward a call to action to:

  1. Prioritize the protection and safeguarding of all girls and young women from gender-based violence in all policies, information and guidance throughout the response.
  2. Prioritize sexual and reproductive health rights of girls.
  3. Increase women’s access to credit facilities and market opportunities.
  4. Strengthen partnership at all levels to ensue linkages between the adolescent well-being agenda and broader efforts to address young people’s livelihoods education and skills, as well as productivity.
  5. Ensure that targeted measures are taken to protect and support young women’s economic empowerment, comprising of social protection and paying attention to the unequal distribution of unpaid care and domestic work during this period.
  6. Prioritize learning continuity in the period of school closures and ensure that adolescent girls’ needs and lived realities are considered. This includes accessible and inclusive distance learning that will reach the most marginalized and limit inequalities in the education system.

Prof. Kobia welcomed the call to action and pledged support from the Government to address the challenges raised through policy interventions. She urged other stakeholders to join hands in the effort for greater impact.

By Naomi Moraa

Passing out Parade of the Newly Recruited National Youth Service (NYS) Privates

Passing out Parade of the  Newly Recruited National Youth Service (NYS) Privates

Cabinet Secretary, Ministry for Public Service and Gender, Prof. Margaret Kobia, on 28th July, 2021, presided over the passing out parade of the induction of newly recruited National Youth Service (NYS) privates and the commencement of the paramilitary training of the new servicemen and women at the National Youth Service Paramilitary Academy in Gilgil.

During her speech, she stated that the government recognizes the ideals and energy of young people that are vital for the achievement of the nation’s development goals.

Prof. Kobia highlighted the reform journey that the institution has gone through since 2018 and expressed confidence that the reforms have strengthened NYS to deliver better on its mandates.

‘’NYS has undergone fundamental reforms including enhancement of its human resource capacity. The institution can now manage larger budgets and carry out complex and demanding projects which often require multi-agency cooperation. This has re-engineered the institution and made it fit for purpose,” she said.

728 privates who were recruited from across 47 counties underwent 6 weeks of induction training. 262 of the privates are female and 466 are male with a considerable number being persons living with disabilities. This is in keeping with the constitution’s requirement of inclusion, gender parity and regional balance.

Prof. Kobia recognised the support and commitment of all the stakeholders in their role in transforming the lives of the youths and building the institution for posterity. She said that the government will continue with its efforts to inculcate the right values in young people noting that a youthful population that adheres to higher ideals of patriotism and humanitarianism is the foundation of a stable environment for business, development, peace and prosperity.

She congratulated the new team and urged them to uphold the values of the institution.

“Congratulations for successfully securing employment in this reputable Government institution and for completing your induction course. Your new role in nation-building will demand nothing short of unparalleled discipline, a high level of professionalism, integrity, accountability, prudent use of resources and compliance with laws, regulations and standards at all times. These ethical practices will guarantee you opportunities for growth, ’’ she said.

The Cabinet Secretary commended the NYS Council for restoring the institution’s core values of integrity, patriotism and discipline and encouraged them to continue being faithful stewards.

The National Youth Service was established in 1964 to train young people in paramilitary and regimentation; national building programs; and technical and vocational training in various skills and trades. In 2019, the institution was transformed into a fully-fledged semi-autonomous state corporation after the enactment of the NYS Act, 2018 by the Kenyan parliament.

In attendance at the event was Chief Administrative Secretary, Hon. Rachel Shebesh, Principal Secretary for State Department for Public Service, Mrs. Mary Kimonye, NYS Director-General, Ms. Matilda P. Sakwa, Gilgil College Commandant, Ms. Ruth Mbuvi among others.

By Brian Kochwa

Launch of Thamini Loan Product for Widows

Launch of Thamini Loan Product for Widows

On 21st July, 2021, Cabinet Secretary, Prof. Margaret Kobia, launched the Women Enterprise Fund (WEF) Strategic Plan 2021-2024 and Thamini – a loan product for widows.

Thamini is loan facility that provides widows access to interest free group loans with no administration costs. The loan product is expected to improve the lives of widows and their families. It is targeted at widows in Kenya aged 18 years and above within certified widow led groups.

Prof. Kobia lauded the initiative as a premise on conviction, that if you lift women from poverty they will improve the quality of life for both men and women in the society.

“Although many gains have been made, negative culture and women’s socialization on their roles, inhibits and restricts them from realizing their full potential more so the vulnerable segments of PWDs and widows, hence the need for the new initiative that we are launching today,” she said.

The Cabinet Secretary thanked the development partners for their role in making the product a reality. “I wish to thank the many organisations who have provided resources and technical support towards this launch as we could not have achieved this alone,” she said.

The features of the loan are:

  1. Must be a registered Self Help Group of 10 members and above comprising 100% women of which at least 70% should be widows, and must have been in existence for at least three months.
  2. All leadership positions must be held by widows.
  3. Must have an account in a Bank/SACCO FOSA/Post Bank/Deposit Taking Micro-finance (DTM).
  4. Groups must be trained on specialized and holistic business management skills by the WEF officers as a prerequisite for the loan application.
  5. One month grace period applies to the Thamini Loan cycles.

Also present at the launch was Principal Secretary State Department for Correctional Services, Ms. Zeinab Hussein; Principal Secretary State Department for Gender, Prof. Collette A. Suda; Chief Administrative Secretary, Hon. Jebii Kilimo; WEF Chairperson, Commissioner Njoki Kahiga; Kenya National Assembly Chairperson, Hon. Josphat Kabinga; and Come Together Widows and orphans Organisation founder, Ms. Dianah Kamande.

By Naomi Moraa

Huduma Centre at the Kenyatta University Uni-City

Huduma Centre at the Kenyatta University Uni-City

State Department for Public Service Principal Secretary, Mrs. Mary Kimonye on 14th July, 2021 held a meeting with a delegation from Kenyatta University led by the Vice Chancellor Prof. Paul Wainaina to discuss the possibility of establishing a Huduma Centre at the Kenyatta University Uni-City.

In her remarks, Mrs. Kimonye said that the establishment of a Huduma Centre at the Uni-City will be helpful to Kenyatta University students and staff as well as the people living within the locality.

“This idea is noble as it will enable the citizens within this location to receive government services without having to travel long distances to access the services,” she said.

Mrs. Kimonye also emphasized on the need to partner on various innovations that are helpful in improving public service delivery. Huduma centres are one stop shops that provide essential government Services to citizens across the 47 counties in the country.

Services offered at Huduma Centres include ; Issuance of Identity Cards, Issuance of Duplicate Identity Cards, Issuance of Birth Certificates, Assessment of Stamp Duty and franking of documents, Application for Access to Government Procurement Opportunities, Registration of Self-Help Groups and CBOs, Registration of Welfare Societies, Registration of Business Names, Registration of Limited Companies, Issuance of Police Abstract, Issuance of Police Clearance Certificate, NSSF member registration, NHIF member registration among others.

The Principal Secretary was accompanied by Huduma Kenya CEO, Mr. James Buyekane among other Ministry officials.

By Brian Kochwa


On 10th July, 2021, the Ministry in partnership with the University of Nairobi and various stakeholders launched a Gender Statistics for Evidence-Based book by University of Nairobi.

The book highlights key findings and policy recommendations on women’s health, Gender Based Violence and women economic empowerment. The data provides an analysis of reporting of sexual violence among female survivors in Kenya and media framing of intimate partner femicide in mainstream print media in Kenya.

Speaking during the launch, State Department for Gender Director for Policy and Research, Ms. Verity Mganga, noted that gender data is a bedrock of evidence-based decision making without which policy makers and government would be unable to create informed policies.

UN Women Country Representative, Ms. Anna Mutavati, highlighted the role of UN Women in implementing the women count programme that seeks to support the implementation and monitoring of gender-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through promoting the development of an enabling framework for better production and use of gender statistics.

University of Nairobi Vice Chancellor, Prof. Stephen Kiama, discussed a holistic approach to gender data. Prof. Kiama’s speech was read on his behalf by Prof. Enos Njeru, Principal, College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

“The role of gender data and statistics is very important in formulating the manual for policy, we have all the stake holders in this room for a holistic approach, we cannot talk about women empowerment without empowering the men,” he said.

The study established that there is need for policy relevance towards enhancing access to Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) services among women and girls; having an enabling environment within the SRH service providers centers which will act as a driver in pulling women and girls to seek the services.

It was recommended that rescue centers be established in all counties to encourage reporting from the survivors.

By Catherine Kamau