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

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

Kuria Professionals urged to take up the role of Ending FGM in the Community

An Association of Professionals from Kuria Community today were challenged to step up and take up the role of Ending Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in their villages by 2022.

Chief Administrative Secretary, Hon. Rachel Shebesh led a Anti-FGM Multi-Agency committee in a meeting with the Kuria Professionals at Kehancha, Migori County this afternoon.

Hon. Shebesh told the professionals that they were respected members of the community and therefore, they had a duty to play in stopping the outlawed practice of FGM in their region.

“We look forward to hearing good news from the Kuria community in regards to building the economy and improving the livelihoods of the citizens. Today, we need to develop a clear road map and strategies on engaging other stakeholders in the end FGM campaign, ” said Hon. Shebesh.

The Chief Administrative Secretary urged the County Governments in the 22 FGM hotspot Counties to provide safe houses for girls in order to protect them from harmful cultural practices.

Anti FGM Board Chairperson, Agnes Pareiyo called on elders to make the right decisions.

“We are bringing elders on board because they are the heads of the family and they are the ones who can end FGM practice in the community,” she said.

Nominated MP, Hon. Dennitah Ghati said the Kuria Community would support H.E. President, Uhuru Kenyatta’s directive to End FGM by 2022 fully and would ensure that he leaves behind a legacy of empowered women and girls.

“We are saying no to a harmful culture that violates the rights of women and girls because we shall continue to practice our culture without FGM.

On his part, Migori County Commissioner Boaz Cherutich said that the Government is not going to tolerate any blame game for the perpetrators of FGM as they will face the full force of the law.

“We are going to arrest the parents whose girls have been subjected to the cut. Every parent must be responsible for their children’s safety,” he said.

He challenged the men to declare an end to FGM in the Kuria Community. “We shall have no more FGM if men stand firm and denounce the practice,” he said.

The Association of Professionals includes teachers, health workers, administrators, lawyers, entrepreneurs, youth and students drawn from the Kuria community.

By Nelly Kosgey

Maendeleo Ya Wanawake Annual General Meeting

On Tuesday 15th December, 2020 , H.E. President, Uhuru Kenyatta issued a keynote address during a virtual Maendeleo Ya Wanawake Annual General Meeting and launch of the National Harvesting Water Project.

In his address, President Uhuru Kenyatta commended Maendeleo ya Wanawake Organization (MYWO) for its frontline role in fighting for women’s rights in Kenya. He noted that organization has grown to become a bastion of civil society, championing initiatives that have tremendously changed women’s lives for the better, especially at the grassroots level.

“I believe the lives of women in Kenya and the communities they live in are, currently, immeasurably better thanks to the Maendeleo ya Wanawake’s bold and consistent actions over the decades,” the President said.

The project which is expected ensure that every household at the grassroots level in Kenya receives a 10,000 litres water tank to harvest rainwater that is safe and clean for domestic use, has today been launched in Kajiado, Homabay and Kakamega counties.

Cabinet Secretary, Prof. Margaret Kobia thanked the President for the support he has provided women over the years.

“Your presence here this morning to engage with women leaders from 47 counties, is a testimony that your government cares,” she said.

Prof. Kobia said that Maendeleo Ya Wanawake Organization has actively participated in national development programs through National and County Government Gender Sector Working Group framework. The framework, she noted, enables the organisation to collaborate with other Government Agencies to create synergy for development as well as providing an effective model for improving quality of life for families and communities.

UNFPA Country Director, Dr. Ademola Olajide appreciated the role of Maendeleo ya Wanawake in women empowerment. He pledged to work with all organisations to reach out to the boy child in order to sensitise and educate on the role and importance of women in society from an early age.

Maendeleo Ya Wanawake Chairperson, Mrs. Rahab Muiu noted that within Nairobi city the Nairobi Metropolitan Services had reduced the cost of running a household by providing free water to informal settlements.

“Every household uses 80 liters of water daily which amounts to KES. 200/- but NMS is now providing the water for free,” she said.

Also present at the colourful occasion was Hon. Phoebe Asiyo, Patron, Maendeleo ya Wanawake Organization. Hon. Asiyo recounted the humble beginnings of the organization and said she was thankful for the growth of the organization and the milestones that had been achieved.

Maendeleo ya Wanawake is a national membership Non-Governmental Organization established in 1952 to empower women socially, economically and politically to enable them deal with the unique challenges that face them in the society.

MYWO was first organized by the Department of Community Development and Rehabilitation within the colonial government. In 1958, the leadership of the organization was turned over to African women and Hon. Phoebe Asiyo was appointed as the first African woman to chair the organisation.

Today, MYWO boasts of a nation-wide network of over 4 million individual members and 25,000 affiliate groups.

A total of 764 women delegates were present at the virtual occasion today and accessed the live stream at State House from Kenya School of Government branches at Nairobi, Mombasa, Baringo and Embu.


By Jacqueline Kirimi

The Rapid Assessment of Gendered Effects of The COVID-19 Pandemic on Women and Girls in Kenya Report

On Monday 14th December, 2020, Principal Secretary, Prof. Collette Suda virtually launched a report on The Rapid Assessment of Gendered Effects of The COVID-19 Pandemic on Women and Girls in Kenya.

The report is a summary of a survey undertaken by Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS), Kenya Institute for Public Policy Research and Analysis (KIPPRA) and the State Department for Gender in order to inform policy and programme intervention to address its gendered COVID-19 impact.

Prof. Suda noted that one of the adverse consequences of this global pandemic is the wideningof existing gender inequalities which is threatening to reverse some of the gains made to build a more gender equal society.

“Understanding the gendered impact of diseases and pandemics such as COVID-19 is crucial for the design and implementation of gender sensitive interventions and responses,” she said.

The report, which was presented by KIPPRA Executive Director, Dr. Rose Ngugi, is designed to enable establishment of standards for the increased production of gender statistics and indicators to facilitate monitoring and evaluation of all interventions and aimed at strengthening the national capacity in addressing the pandemic. The findings will support national and county efforts to prevent and respond to both the outbreak and its economic, social, cultural and political impact and ensure accountability in programming while supporting measurement and progress of gender in the COVID-19 emergency response among other key outcomes.

The Principal Secretary said she was encouraged by the growing recognition on the part of state and non-state actors that integrating a gender perspective into risk analysis will contribute to a better understanding of the issues and uphold the ‘Leave No One Behind’ principle noting that there are enabling institutional architecture for gender statistics and analysis in place that are firmly anchored on regional and global gender and human rights frameworks which Kenya ascribes to.

UN Women Kenya Country Director, Ms. Anna Mutavati, stated that the findings in the assessment strengthen the urgent call for urgent and increased funding for GBV prevention and response programmes and increased social protection for the most vulnerable households. “Producing data during crises is the best way to inform relevant policy responses,” she said.

UNFPA Country Director, Dr. Ademola Olajide underscored the need to strengthen systems at county and national level to address GBV.
“Now more than ever, we must continue to strengthen national and county systems to address the physical and emotional consequences of Gender-Based Violence by offering psychological assistance, medical treatment and support to survivors in coping during the COVID-19 Crisis.”

Also present at the launch was MBS Commission Secretary, MS. Betty Nyabuto, UN Resident Coordinator Mr. Siddarth Chatterjee, CARE International Country Director, Phillipa Crossland-Taylor, Council of Governors CEO, Mrs. Jacqueline Mogeni and Oxfam Kenya Country Director, Dr. John Kitui.

By Jacqueline Kirimi

Cabinet Secretary Inspection tour at the NYS Gilgil Training College

Cabinet Secretary, Prof. Margaret Kobia today carried out an inspection tour at the National Youth Service (NYS) Gilgil Training College where she assessed the level of compliance with COVID-19 containment measures during paramilitary training, inspected the ceremonial barrack guard and addressed the 7,700 new recruits who joined the service this year.

Prof. Kobia commended the NYS management team for the successful implementation of the robust training programme despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. She challenged the recruits to take advantage of the opportunity that has been provided by the government and exploit their full potential.

“The National Youth Service exists for the purpose of empowering young people like yourselves with knowledge, skills, experience and values that will enable you to exploit your potential, earn a decent livelihood and exercise your agency for the betterment of Kenya,” she said.

The paramilitary training is done to prepare the recruits for the highly competitive job market and equip them with the technical know-how to thrive in the job market. NYS plays a central role in accelerating the implementation of national development projects in collaboration with other public entities which provide NYS graduates with opportunities to proceed to National Service duty after the training.

NYS has recruited 5,506 maleS and 2,198 females in 2020. Among them, 45 recruits are Persons with Disabilities. This year, NYS reduced the number of recruits significantly due to COVID-19 pandemic safety standards requirements.

The Cabinet Secretary said that all the pending bills amounting to Ksh. 15 Billion which were owed between the year 2013 and 2017 which have now been verified and approved were ready to be paid. “I cannot say when the money will be paid but all Kenyans who supplied goods and services will be paid after we have made a request for funds from Treasury,” she said.

Prof Kobia said she was cognizant of the fact that some suppliers had taken loans to supply goods but noted that it was necessary for a rigorous process to be undertaken to verify all bills following NYS 1 and NYS 2 corruption scandals. 

On her part, Chief Administrative Secretary, Hon Rachel Shebesh emphasized on the need to give both men, women and girls equal opportunities in economic and social development. She said during COVID-19 pandemic, cases of Sexual Gender-Based Violence continued to rise and called on the society to take individual responsibility to end defilement cases. “Defilement cannot be a normal thing and dealing with GBV is no longer going to be business as usual,” she said.

Principal Secretary for Public Service, Mrs. Mary Kimonye emphasized on the need for the NYS training to strive for H. E President Uhuru Kenyatta’s expectations on governance. Mrs. Kimonye assured the recruits of their safety at the institution during their paramilitary training during the COVID-19 pandemic. “There has not been one COVID-19 case reported in this institution since reopening and this has been attributed to the high level of discipline and safety measures put in place at the institute,” she said.

Among those present at the event were NYS Council Chairperson Lt. Gen (Rtd) Njuki Mwaniki, NYS Director General, Ms. Matilda Sakwa and Commandant, NYS Gilgil Campus Ms. Ruth Mbuvi and other Ministry and NYS officials.

By Catherine Kamau

Ministry Launches the Greening Kenya project at National Youth Service

Cabinet Secretary, Prof. Margaret Kobia on Friday 27th, officially launched the Greening Kenya project at National Youth Service (NYS) Headquarters, Ruaraka following a directive from H.E. President, Uhuru Kenyatta to increase the forest cover from 7% to 10% of the land mass by 2030.

Prof. Kobia highlighted the need to plant trees in order to confront the effects of climate change and the increasing intensity and magnitude of weather-related disasters in the country that have aggravated conflicts over natural resources such as pasture and water.

“The importance of planting trees and achieving adequate forest cover in our country cannot be overstated. Our country is experiencing frequent changes in weather patterns that have led to extreme weather occurrences. Droughts, famines, and flooding becoming a commonplace. Environmental scientists have advised that the only way we can stabilize these extreme occurrences in our region is by planting more trees,” she said.

The Cabinet Secretary urged the Ministry Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to honor the presidential directive and ensure nationwide tree planting in their respective environments. “It is our duty and our responsibility as Kenyans and Government Officers to participate in the recovery of our forest coverage from 7% to 10%.”

The exercise kicked off with the planting of 1000 trees. So far, MDAs have planted 1.7 million trees in the 2019-2020 Financial Year. The target for 2020-20121 Financial Year is to plant 10 million trees.

The Ministry and NYS paid pending bills amounting to KES. 6 Billion to suppliers in the 2019-2020 Financial Year. KES. 15 Billion will be paid in this financial year 2020-2021.

Also present at the event was Principal Secretary, State Department for Public Service, Mrs. Mary Kimonye, Principal Secretary, State Department for Gender, Prof. Collette Suda, NYS Chairman, Rtd General Njuki Mwaniki, NYS Director General, Ms. Matilda Sakwa among other senior Government officials.

By Andrew Ishepai

Launch of the Report on Unintended Pregnancies and HIV Amongst Adolescents and Young People

Cabinet Secretary, Prof. Margaret Kobia on Friday 27th, November participated in a dialogue to discuss the findings of a report on unintended pregnancies and HIV amongst adolescents and young people in Homa Bay County.

In her remarks, Prof. Kobia noted that the study findings are critical as they will provide solutions to help reduce teenage pregnancy.

She pointed out that teenage pregnancies are barriers to gender equality because when young girls become pregnant and drop out of school they miss out on an opportunity to build a better quality of life.

“If we empower families economically they will be able to provide basic needs for their children and we shall reduce the number of teenage pregnancies where the County is dealing with over 4,000 cases of teenage pregnancies as per the Ministry of Health reports released during the COVID-19 pandemic period,” said Prof. Kobia.

The Cabinet Secretary called for a gender sensitive approach to address specific vulnerability of both boys and girls.” Traditional social norms that endorse masculinity and perpetrate violence as an acceptable trait should be discouraged,” she said.

She said that the key findings from the report and the other reports recently released have implication for both levels of government and stakeholders in Kenya to accelerate efforts to present and effectively respond to the disempowerment of girls on issues of GBV.

Statistics from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS 2019) show that women and girls make up 50.5% of Kenyan Population. Nearly one quarter of women give birth by age 18 and 18% of adolescent girls aged 15-19 are already mothers or pregnant with first child.

Homa Bay County Governor, Hon. Cyprian Awiti welcomed the report and committed County Government support in the successful implementation of workable solutions. He urged all the partners to work together to achieve lasting solutions for the benefit of adolescents and young people.

On her part, UNICEF Country Representative, Maniza Zanam said with closure of schools due to COVID-19 pandemic, young girls are removed not only from education, but from the protective routine that schooling offers placing them them at greater risk of the triple threat of sexual violence, HIV & unintended pregnancy.

She noted that the report findings will guide in improving the interventions for adolescents and equipping them with the skills and knowledge they need to stay safe and healthy.

The event culminated in the official launch of the study report titled ”Unintended pregnancies and HIV Amongst Adolescents and Young People: A situation Analysis of Homa Bay, Kenya.”

Other participants present were Homa Bay County Women Rep. Hon. Gladys Wanga, Homa Bay County Health Executive Committee Member, Prof. Richard Muga among others.
#HomaBayHIVReport #16Days #orangetheworld

By Nelly Kosgey

High-Level Inter-Ministerial Cross Border Meeting on Ending Female Genital Mutilation During and Post COVID-19 Pandemic

As one of the activities to mark International Day of Elimination of Violence Against Women and Girls, Chief Administrative Secretary, Hon. Rachel Shebesh yesterday on 25th participated in a high-level inter-ministerial cross border meeting on ending Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) during and post COVID-19 pandemic, a virtual event that was hosted by UBC Uganda.

In her address, Hon. Shebesh called for the implementation and operationalization of FGM legislative frameworks by all the respective East African Countries in order to ensure progress made in ending FGM is not curtailed by the porous borders where FGM prevalence is still very high.

She noted that Kenya has made tremendous progress in the fight against FGM through the enactment and enforcement of the National policy on the eradication of FGM 2019 and implementation of multi-sectoral approach to eliminate FGM.

“Our President H.E Uhuru Kenyatta made a commitment to End FGM in Kenya and beyond its borders by the year 2022 and we are now implementing the presidential directive by engaging the community through the law enforcement officers to abandon FGM,” she added.

Hon. Shebesh called for a speedy action by The East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) to ensure the commitment to End Cross Border FGM is achieved through legislation in place and all the Countries in the region must have FGM laws in place.

“If we have Ugandans crossing over to Kenya because they find it an easier place to have FGM then it is a big failure on our side as Kenyan government. I want to assure you as a Ministry we shall not rest until we put an End to Cross Border FGM by imposing tough penalties on the perpetrators and those abetting the practice through the border,” said the Chief Administrative Secretary.

She further mentioned the emerging trend being used by the FGM perpetrators where they carry out the cut on infants and also the medicalisation of FGM practice by rogue medical practitioners.

On her part, Minister for Gender, Labour and Social Development of the Republic of Uganda Hon. Peace Mutuuzo said many girls are still being cut secretly due to hiding of information and poor reporting at all levels. We call on the media fraternity to give FGM the attention it deserves as it’s one of the worst forms of violence against women and girls as we also remain vigilant on the changing trends on the medicalization of FGM practice.

Hon. Mutuuzo emphasised the need to strengthen collaboration with the neighbouring Countries to ensure timely intervention in the fight against FGM which requires sustained funding is achieved.

UNFPA Deputy Regional Director for the East and Southern Africa Office, Justine Coulson on her presentation on cross border survey commended the East African region for setting the pace to show how cooperation is important to End Cross Border FGM. She said the study survey revealed that most cases relating to child marriages and FGM are interlinked amongst the cross-border communities.

Other participants present was UNFPA Uganda Country Representative, Mr. Alain Sibenaler, Anti- FGM Board CEO, Bernadette Loloju and Legislator and Human Rights Champion, Hon. Dora Byamukama.


By Nelly Kosgey

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