The recently reconstituted Ministry of Public Service, Gender, Senior Citizens Affairs and Special Programmes has today held its 18th Cycle of Performance Contract signing ceremony for the Principal Secretaries, Chief Executive Officers and Chairpersons of Semi Autonomous Government Agencies.

Welcoming the new State Departments during the ceremony held at Kenya School of Government in Nairobi, Cabinet Secretary, Prof. Margaret Kobia said that the two departments will add significant value to the ministry which has already been handling the vulnerable – women and persons with disabilities – under the State Department for Gender.

“It is clear, from the mandates, visions, goals and strategic interventions, that the two Departments come with established structures, roadmaps and directions for implementation in order to deliver services to the vulnerable,” said Prof. Kobia.

On his part, State Department for Social Protection, Senior Citizens Affairs and Special Programmes Principal Secretary, Mr. Nelson Marwa was thankful that the 4 State Departments had been put together under the social pillar function.

“I’m happy we have come together under the social pillars to serve the public. Let us serve Kenyans diligently for this is what we are paid to do,” said Mr. Marwa.

Development of Arid and Semi Arid Lands (ASALS) Principal Secretary, Mr. Micah Powon welcomed the move by his Excellency to move the Department to the reconstituted Ministry.

“The State Department for Development of ASALs is happy to be working under this institution and we are focused to putting our efforts together to provide services to our people,” he said.

Performance Contracting has been a key accountability tool used by the government since 2003 in its endeavour to improve service delivery in the public service. The Performance Contract function falls under the State Department for Public Service.

Public Service Principal Secretary, Mrs. Mary Kimonye in her remarks highlighted the importance of performance contracts in terms of measuring performance in public service.

“Performance contracting aims at improving service delivery, reversing decline in efficiency, institutionalizing performance oriented culture and enabling performance measurement and improvement in the public service,” she said.

The Principal Secretary recognised the roles of each State Department in harnessing public service delivery.

“This ceremony provides a platform for us to meet, share and engage with one another as we recognize the integral role that each and every department plays in the service delivery process within the State Department,” she said.

The purpose of the Performance Contracting guidelines is to support MDAs, Constitutional Commissions and Independent Offices in identification of their performance indicators and annual targets; undertaking negotiations and vetting; review of the vetted Performance Contracts; and in implementation of the Performance Contracts. The guidelines are also intended to ensure standardization of the Performance Contracting process and the Performance Contracts.

Present at the ceremony were Chief Administrative Secretaries, Hon. Rachel Shebesh, Hon. Beatrice Elachi and Hon. Jebii Kilimo; Uwezo Fund Board Chairperson, Prof. Lusenge Turoop and CEO Mr. Paul Lengapiani; Women Enterprise Fund CEO, Mr. Charles Mwirigi; Anti-FGM Chairperson, Mrs. Agnes Pareiyo and CEO, Mrs. Benardette Loloju among other senior Ministry officials.

Public Service HR Officers Trained on Mental Wellbeing

Public Service HR Officers Trained on Mental Wellbeing

The training of public service human resource management and development officers on essential counselling skills kicked-off yesterday, March 15th, at the Kenya School of Government, Embu campus.

The month-long training programme aims to equip officers with knowledge on the role of counselling in managing human resources in the public service and to generate mental health champions equipped with basic counselling skills. The training will also highlight the signs and symptoms of psychological disorders such as depression, substance abuse disorders as well as address emergent mental health challenges within the work environment.

The training, the second of its kind, comprises of 150 senior HR officers and line managers drawn from various Ministries, Departments, State Corporations and Counties. The cohort will be taken through a counselling curriculum developed by the State Department for Public Service in conjunction with the Kenya School of Government. The first cohort of 41 mental health champions was trained in February 2020.

While opening the training session, the Director of Human Resource Policy at the State Department for Public Service, Mr. Benrodgers Milaih, who was representing the Principal Secretary for Public Service noted that the current mental health trends in the country are of great concern to the Government with depression and substance abuse disorders being the two main contributors to the worrying and frequent cases of suicides, homicides and femicide. This situation is reflected in the public service as indicated by the clinical records in the counselling unit.

He noted that the Covid – 19 pandemic has exacerbated the mental health situation at the work place and this has negatively impacted work productivity. “It is in view of this prevailing situation that we find this capacity building exercise to be timely and appropriate for human resource officers because of your daily interaction with public servants and therefore are at a vantage point to be able to identify and assess the psychological needs of staff,” he remarked.

According to the World Health Organization (2019) Kenya is ranked sixth in Africa in terms of depression cases, having increased by 18% since 2005. Between 76% and 85% of people in low and middle-income countries receive no treatment for their mental disorders. This is attributed to insufficient trained health-care providers, high levels of social stigma and inaccurate assessment of the disorders.

By Andrew Ishepai

OECD: Effective Strategies on Financing GEWE Programs

Cabinet Secretary, Prof. Margaret Kobia yesterday joined partners in a virtual event organized to celebrate International Women’s day. The event, organized by OECD Development Co-operation Directorate was held under the theme ‘From recovery to sustainable development: Where is the money for gender equality and women’s empowerment? ‘.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is an international organization that works to build better policies for better lives and has 60 years of experience and insights to better prepare the world of tomorrow. Together with governments, policy makers and citizens, they work on establishing evidence-based international standards and finding solutions to a range of social, economic and environmental challenges.

The discussions by participants centered on effective strategies on financing Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment programs.

The Global Gender Index of 2020 report indicates that gender gap is widest globally in the economic participation and opportunity sub index which stood at only 58 percent. This indicates that economically, women are more vulnerable to economic shocks brought about by crises including COVID-19 pandemic.

“The impact of the pandemic on women has been significant. It has led to loss of jobs, increase in GBV cases and has eroded the gains made in the fight for gender equality.” Prof. Kobia noted.

She pointed out that Kenya developed a blue-print ‘Building Back Stronger: Transforming the Kenyan Economy Post-COVID-19’, which among other strategies, addresses the socio-economic impacts of COVID-19, including targeted women’s economic strategies and cash transfer programming; containment and mitigation measures to address the burden of care work, particularly those that affect women and girls, including supporting them to recover and build resilience for future shocks; and, programs and policies to provide economic relief based on needs and vulnerabilities.

The Cabinet Secretary added that in order to address gender inequalities and create meaningful change, development partners need to scale up their investment support across key sectors and ensure full participation of women in all Post-COVID-19 response and recovery mechanisms. She called on partners to complement government efforts by increasing their focus on social protection and through skills development and widening their market opportunities. She called on them to invest in programmes that seek to end violence against women and increase access to healthcare, including sexual and reproductive health services.

“The global public health crisis has direct implications on gender equality and women’s empowerment. Kenya stands in solidarity with the rest of the world and will continue to advocate for effective response and recovery for the gendered dimension of COVID 19, leaving no one behind and towards achieving Sustainable Development Goals.” She concluded.

Pursue Leadership Positions At All Levels, First Lady Margaret Kenyatta Encourages Women

Pursue Leadership Positions At All Levels, First Lady Margaret Kenyatta Encourages Women

First Lady Margaret Kenyatta has encouraged more women to actively seek elective and other positions of leadership both at national and county levels.

While applauding the current 23 percent representation of women in the National Assembly, the First Lady said more work needed to be done to achieve the constitutionally proposed two-thirds gender rule.

“Let us continue working, together, for the progress we all believe in. And let us begin with ourselves, in our own spaces, in our homes, in our schools and with our children.

“We know that women can bring a difference in leadership by ensuring that the needs and aspirations of women and men, boys and girls are addressed equitably,” the First Lady said as she rooted for enhanced gender equality and women empowerment especially during the COVID-19 era.

First Lady Margaret Kenyatta spoke Monday 8th March, 2021 when she presided over virtual celebrations to mark this year’s International Women’s Day (IWD) under theme ‘Women in Leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world’.

The First Lady pointed out that the theme of this year’s IWD calls for women leadership, saying it is timely and resonates well with the current global situation.

“It highlights the need for us to demand for a level playing field for women and girls irrespective of race, religion or social background,” she said.

The First Lady emphasized the need for women to lend their voice in combating harmful cultural practices that curtail progress even as she expressed satisfaction that a lot of resources are being channelled towards ensuring equity and justice.

“We also, as women, must continue to raise our voices and protect ourselves against harmful practices such as FGM and early child marriage; these factors impede our pathway to reaching our gifted potential,” the First Lady said.

At the global level, First Lady Margaret Kenyatta said the election of the first woman Vice President in the United States of America should serve as an inspiration for women worldwide to aspire for leadership positions.

“Her Excellency Kamala Harris, has done women proud and broken the glass ceiling by going into history books as the 49th Vice President and the first female occupant of the office in the United States,” she said.

During the occasion, the First Lady conferred Annual Trailblazer Awards to several women and institutions in recognition of their outstanding achievements and contribution to advancing the gender equality and women empowerment agenda. She also conferred certificates to graduands of the first cohort of the Women in Political Leadership Training Programme that she launched last year.

Public Service and Gender CS Prof Margaret Kobia said the theme of this year’s IWD illustrates the urgency of putting women empowerment at the core of recovery and bouncing back better in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

She noted that while the journey of women in leadership has been long and bumpy, their determination and commitment has yielded fruits.

“Therefore, we celebrate the gains made and also reflect on the social, economic, political and cultural context in which women and girls live and work,” the CS said.

In her address, Commonwealth Secretary General Patricia Scotland stressed that gender equality and women empowerment are essential components of human development and basic human rights.

Other speakers included Defence CS Dr Monica Juma, Maendeleo ya Wanawake Organization Chairperson Rahab Muiu, European Union Ambassador to Kenya Simon Mordue and UN Resident Co-ordinator Stephen Jackson are among others.

The event also witnessed the national launch of the continental digital platform dubbed ‘the 50 Million African Women Speak’. The project is geared towards empowering millions of women in Africa to start, grow and scale up businesses by providing a one-stop shop.

As published on: The Presidency | The Presidency (

NGAAF Partnership With Banks to Promote Women Economic Empowerment

NGAAF Partnership With Banks to Promote Women Economic Empowerment

Principal Secretary for Gender, Prof. Collette Suda on Friday, 26th February, 2021, presided over the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the National Government Affirmative Action Fund (NGAAF) Board with Equity Bank Ltd, Cooperative Bank Ltd and GROOTS Kenya Association. The event was held at the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) Nairobi.

The MOU creates a partnership aimed at economically empowering women through capacity building. It will enhance for NGAAF funded women groups and SACCOs in business development and entrepreneurship skills. The programme will be piloted in the five counties of Nairobi, Machakos, Kiambu, Makueni and Kajiado.

In her remarks, Prof. Suda challenged women to use the skills they will gain to increase productivity and grow their businesses, while leveraging on the opportunities provided through the partnership.

“This partnership has put in place the structures, policies and frameworks that facilitate economic empowerment of women,” she added.

NGAAF Chairperson, Prof. Wanjiku Kabira on her part lauded the partnership and asked women to venture into larger business opportunities. She noted that women led enterprises are faced with financial challenges and assured that the partnership will provide wider opportunities for women groups to expand their businesses.

Among those present at the event were NGAAF CEO Titus Lotee, NGAAF Board of Directors, representatives from Equity Bank Ltd, Cooperative Bank Ltd, GROOTS Kenya Association, and NGAAF groups beneficiaries from Nairobi, Machakos, Kiambu, Makueni and Kajiado Counties.

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.

Women Enterprise Fund Validation of Credit Policy and Procedures Manual

Women Enterprise Fund Validation of Credit Policy and Procedures Manual

The State Department for Gender Principal Secretary, Prof. Collette Suda on Tuesday 13th October 2020, presided over the official opening of Women Enterprise Fund consultation and validation of Credit policy and Procedures manual event held at the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development, Nairobi.

Prof. Suda said it is time to improve the systems and leverage on technology to deliver the products which suits the Fund beneficiaries due to emerging market trends.

She pointed that Women Enterprise Fund is one of the best performing Affirmative Action Fund with a repayment rate of 95%, since its inception in 2007 the Fund has issued loans amounting to Ksh. 19 billion to over 1.8 million beneficiaries.

“The Fund’s impressive performance over the years and as one of the most successful Affirmative Action Initiative in transforming and empowering the lives of women and the society at large has continued to inspire us to review the existing credit policy to align it with the current needs of the beneficiaries,” reiterated Prof. Suda.

The Principal Secretary commended the work of Affirmative Action Fund Boards and management from WEF, Uwezo Fund and NGAAF for their effort in implementing the Government agenda to empower the most vulnerable women, youth and Persons with Disabilities economically.

From left: WEF Board Chairperson Commissioner Njoki Kahiga, National Assembly, Chair Special Funds Hon. Murungi Kathuri, Principal Secretary, Prof. Collette Suda, WEF CEO Eng. Charles Mwirigi and WEF Board members display WEF Credit Policy Manual at the KICD, Nairobi on 13th October, 2020

On her part, WEF Board Chairperson Commissioner Njoki Kahiga said the credit policy is under review to make it better. “We are inviting all the stakeholders to partner and walk with us in this empowerment journey. We are serving women who cannot walk into a formal bank and access credit,” she added.

The WEF Credit policy is undergoing its first review since 2011 to respond to customer needs. The Credit Policy: Introduces new products more aligned to the needs of the modern woman, addresses alignment of the credit department for efficiency, reviews the credit procedures to ensure enhanced repayments thus safe guardian taxpayer’s money and introduces tech-based services.

Among those leaders present at the event were Women Enterprise Fund CEO Eng. Charles Mwirigi, Chairperson NGAAF, Prof. Wanjiku Kabira, and representatives of the National Assembly, Chair Special Funds Hon. Murungi Kathuri.

Ministry Disburses over Ksh. 94 million Affirmative Funds

Ministry Disburses over Ksh. 94 million Affirmative Funds

The Ministry through the Affirmative action funds namely; Uwezo Fund, Youth Enterprise Development Fund and Women Enterprise Fund on Monday 7th September disbursed cheques worth over Ksh 94 million to various youth, women and Persons with disabilities (PWDs) in Nairobi and Kiambu Counties.

Presiding over the issuance of the Affirmative Fund Cheques in separate events held in Nairobi and Kiambu, Chief Administrative Secretary Hon. Rachel Shebesh challenged the beneficiaries not to fear Government Affirmative Fund loans that has been provided for their economic empowerment.

Hon. Shebesh asked women, youth and PWDs to form groups and register in order to apply for the free interest and affordable loans which will enable them to expand their small enterprises.

“Government Affirmative funds is giving all the women, youth and PWDs who are not economically stable an opportunity to empower themselves and open small businesses in order to improve their livelihoods,” said Hon. Shebesh.

She urged the beneficiaries to borrow more loans after repaying what they have already been issued with in order to continue growing their businesses.

In Nairobi County, the CAS paid a courtesy call to Nairobi Regional Commissioner Mr James Kianda accompanied by her Ministry of Health counterpart Dr. Mercy Mwangangi where they deliberated on the Government projects within Nairobi Region and how to ensure effective service delivery to Wananchi.

In Kiambu County, Hon. Shebesh paid a courtesy call to Kiambu County Commissioner Mr. Wilson Wanyanga accompanied by Kiambu County Women Representative Hon. Gathoni Wamuchomba and Affirmative Funds Board Chairpersons where they discussed on the disbursement of affirmative funds to beneficiary groups in the County.

Renewed Commitment to End FGM by 2022

Renewed Commitment to End FGM by 2022

Cabinet Secretary, Prof. Margaret Kobia, on Wednesday 26th August committed to continue strengthening the capacity of public service to deliver on H.E. President, Uhuru Kenyatta’s commitment to end FGM by 2022.

Prof. Kobia made her remarks as she held a meeting with cultural and religious elders who are working with the ministry on the End FGM Programme.

She emphasized on the need to be on high alert and protect girls during the COVID-19 pandemic period because they are at high risk of FGM. “Schools have been a safe haven for children. They are now exposed and are at very high risk of not only being subjected to FGM but are also at high risk of early and forced child marriage, rape and teenage pregnancy,” she said.

Prof. Kobia further called on parents and guardians to be the first duty bearers of their children and take responsibility to protect them against cultural practices that violate their rights.

She commended the Kenya School of Government for the steady increase in the number of public servants who are undertaking training and the development infrastructure geared towards creating a conducive learning environment.

She kick started the Greening Initiative in the Institution which is part of the Government’s on going project to plant 1.8 billion trees and achieve more than 10% forest cover in the country by 2022.

The Cabinet Secretary also unveiled 15 newly built residential cottages at the Kenya School of Government, Baringo Campus. Later on, Prof. Kobia issued Affirmative Funds from Women Enterprise Fund worth Ksh.8 million to various women groups in Baringo County. She also donated dignity kits for girls, masks and shukas.

The Cabinet Secretary was accompanied by Mrs. Mary Kimonye, Principal Secretary, State Department for Public Service, Prof. Ludeki Chweya, Director General Kenya School of Government, Mrs. Agnes Pareyio, Anti-FGM Board Chairperson,Mr. Henry Wafula, Baringo County Commissioner, Dr. Ademola Olajide, UNFPA Country Representative, Mr. Titus Lotee, CEO National Government Affirmative Action Fund among other national and county officials.


PS, Prof. Suda Urges Affirmative Funds Beneficiaries to repay the Loans

PS, Prof. Suda Urges Affirmative Funds Beneficiaries to repay the Loans

Principal Secretary, Prof. Collette Suda has called on Affirmative funds beneficiaries to repay the loans on time in order to allow others to benefit.

Prof. Suda made her remarks on on Saturday 22nd while she presided over the issuance of Uwezo Fund cheques worth over Ksh. 1.4 million to various groups of youth, women and Persons with Disabilities in Rongo Constituency, Migori County.

She asked the beneficiaries to explore alternative income generating activities in order to be able to repay the loans which stands at 23% repayment rate in the County.

“Uwezo Fund is a revolving fund that you need to pay back within the given period of time for others who have applied to benefit. The Government Affirmative funds aims at empowering the vulnerable groups to improve their economic status,” said Prof. Suda.

She noted that many businesses have been hard hit during the COVID-19 pandemic which they continue to record losses that will make it hard for beneficiaries to repay back the loans.

The Principal Secretary condemned the increase in teenage pregnancies which interferes with the girls’ education and their future. She asked parents to guide and teach their children.

She further urged men to protect women and girls during COVID-19 pandemic from the rising cases of Gender Based Violence which has continued to be recorded in the Country.

The Principal Secretary was accompanied by Uwezo Fund CEO, Mr. Peter Lengapiani, among other National and County officials.

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