Biashara Fund Kenya

Biashara Fund Kenya

Chief Administrative Secretary, Ministry of Public Service and Gender, Hon. Rachel Shebesh on Monday, 1st February, 2021 met with the National Assembly Committee on Delegated Legislation chaired by Hon. Kassait Kamket in Mombasa to discuss the draft Public Finance Management (Biashara Fund Kenya) Regulations 2020.

The Government is in the process of amalgamating Youth Enterprise Development Fund, Women Enterprise Fund and Uwezo Fund to create Biashara Fund to enable efficiency and objectivity in disbursement as well as save the taxpayers unnecessary operational expenses incurred in running the three Funds independently.

Under Biashara Fund, Women, Youth and Persons Living with Disabilities will be eligible for loans if they are in a registered group.

Hon. Shebesh was accompanied by Uwezo Fund CEO, Peter Lengapiani, Women Enterprise Fund CEO, Eng Charles Mwirigi among other Ministry officials.

By Brian Were

Government Citizen Feedback Management System

The Government through the Ministry of Public Service and Gender and public service stakeholders is set to roll out a Citizen Feedback Management System (CFMS) within the Huduma Halisi campaign programme.

Huduma Halisi is a campaign within the Ministry that was launched in 2018 by H.E. President Uhuru Kenyatta with an aim to promote the values and principles of public service such as honesty, transparency and accountability. Huduma Halisi is anchored on the African Union’s theme of the year 2018, winning the fight against corruption: a sustainable path to Africa’s transformation, with a strong focus on governance and citizen participation. The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) is providing financial and technical support to AU member states in the articulation of the campaign roll out in select member states including Kenya.

CFMS has been designed within this campaign programme to provide a platform for citizens and public service providers to engage. Through CFMS, citizens will be able to provide feedback in form of complaints, concerns, suggestions and compliments regarding the public services they receive. The platform has also in-built capabilities to engage citizens in other areas of governance including budgets and public resource tracking. CFMS will be accessed via an internet connection or via a LAN point-to-point set up from the server or via USSD technology and then later extended to android technology and short code.

Last week, public servants from various government institutions underwent training on CFMS at Kenya School of Government in Lower Kabete, Nairobi. Managing the training program included senior program staff from UNECA led by their representative Mr. Mactar Seck and software developers, Ubongo Africa.

During the training opening ceremony, UNECA Representative, Mr Mactar Seck exuded confidence in achieving the fight against corruption in Africa noting that Kenya had been selected as the pilot project. “We are piloting the Huduma Halisi programme in Kenya with the aim of generating best practices for application as we roll out similar programmes in the rest of Africa,” he said.

It is expected that CFMS will help improve public service delivery as well as inform government policy on various issues.

By Winnie Mburu



Chief Administrative Secretary, Hon. Rachel Shebesh attended a virtual commemoration of the first anniversary of the Nairobi Summit on ICPD25 on 27th January, 2021.

The summit was convened to mobilize political will and financial commitments needed to fully implement the ICPD programme of action.

In her opening remarks, Hon. Shebesh appreciated the great team effort in the implementation of Kenya’s ICPD25 commitments. “I wish to express my appreciation to the National Council for Population and Development for the leadership and coordination provided in the implementation of Kenya’s ICPD25 commitments.” said Hon. Shebesh.

Hon. Shebesh outlined the progress the Ministry has made towards addressing the three commitments out of seventeen that the Ministry was tasked with during the ICPD25 which are zero Female Genital Mutilation by 2022; elimination of all forms of Gender-Based Violence including early child and forced marriages by 2030; and ending gender and other forms of discrimination by 2030.

Hon. Shebesh noted the key achievements made by the Ministry as follows:(i) Establishment of an Inter-Agency Programme to prevent and respond to Gender Based Violence in the context of COVID-19 pandemic.

(ii) Development of a Gender Based Violence Recovery Centres (GBVRCs) and Safe Spaces guidelines for the establishment of the centers in all Level 5 hospitals across the country.

(iii) Adoption of a Multi-Agency Technical Committee at the national level and county Anti-FGM Steering Committees in the 22 FGM hot spot counties.

(iv) Adoption of the National Policy for the eradication of FGM, a policy developed to promote a culture of zero tolerance to FGM in Kenya.

(v) Provision of alternate sources of livelihoods for FGM cutters through interest free loans from Affirmative Action Funds.

(vi) Publicity through media and community sensitization exercises where over 25 million Kenyans were reached.

(vii) Establishment of Gender Based Violence Technical Working Groups in 20 counties to strengthen the coordination of programmes for the elimination of GBV, in line with the Inter-Governmental Consultative Framework on Gender.

(viii) Engagement with male for support as allies, advocates, role models and change agents in all advocacy efforts against GBV/FGM.

The Chief Administrative Secretary committed to accelerating efforts towards the achievement of a society that is free from all forms of violence, strengthen partnerships with strategic actors that include development partners, media, civil society, faith based organizations, and the academia to promote a just, cohesive and more inclusive society and nation at large.

She acknowledged the importance of the support of line Ministries, Counties, Departments and Agencies, Development Partners and Civil Society Organizations in their collective efforts to advance gender equality and safeguarding the human rights of women and girls.

She urged them to stand with Kenya in the Generation Equality Platform that the Government is co-leading with the United Kingdom, Iceland and Uruguay, UN Women and other partners in the Action Coalition on Gender-Based Violence.

“Let us use the opportunity provided by the Generation Equality Forum to galvanize action nationally, regionally, and globally for a more balanced society free from all forms of GBV, ” she said.

The event was presided over by National Treasury Cabinet Secretary, Amb. Ukur Yattani.

By Jacqueline Kirimi

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

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

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11