Politics and policy
Women farmers benefit from a Sh255m grant
The World Bank has approved a Sh255 million grant to support women farmers in Kitui and Molo improve their marketing skills.
The funds will be channeled through the Japan Social Development Fund to a programme that is being implemented by Groots Kenya — a network of women self-help groups and community organisations.
The projects include dairy and horticulture in Molo in the Rift Valley and poultry and horticulture in Kitui in Eastern region.
“Empowering women by enhancing their economic opportunities and giving them a stronger voice, accountability, and decision making responsibilities will play a significant role in bringing about social and economic development in Kenya,” said Rajashree Paralkar, World Bank senior operations officer for Kenya in a statement.
Women in East Africa’s largest economy are disadvantaged in terms of employment with almost two thirds of opportunities going to men, meaning that women have to find other sources of income most of which are in the informal sector.
According to this year’s Economic Survey, only two million people are employed in the formal sector, 649,100 of them are women meaning that 69 per cent of job opportunities in the sector are held by men.
Last year, only two million people were employed in the formal sector and 591,000 of them were women meaning that 29 per cent of job opportunities in the sector were held by women.
“This initiative demonstrates the bank’s commitment to integrating gender in its operations to promote women’s economic and social status,” said Asa Torkelsson, the Task Team Leader of the programme.
He said that the funds would help beneficiaries to strengthen their business skills and participate more effectively in the agricultural market value chain.
The two areas selected for the programme have a high concentration of poverty and vulnerability, with Kitui having an estimated poverty level of 63.7 per cent, well above the national average of 50.83 per cent, according to data from the Kenya government portal Open Data.
It also suffers from climatic shocks and food insecurity, with only 4.2 per cent of its population having access to water, according to the World Bank.