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KWFT offshoot to empower women ahead of 2022 elections

Kenya Women Holding Group CEO Dr Jennifer Riria (left) addresses guests during a past meeting. Photo | Francis Nderitu | NMG
Kenya Women Holding Group CEO Dr Jennifer Riria (left) addresses guests during a past meeting. Photo | Francis Nderitu | NMG 

Women who lack sufficient funding and support to take up political leadership positions can now benefit from a democracy fund aimed at empowering them.

Kenya Women Holding, the holding company for Kenya’s largest microfinancier KWFT, has announced that it will introduce a fund to train and facilitate women to be more competitive ahead of the 2022 General Election.

“We discovered that when vying for seats women lack money to compete against men in campaigns and lobbying for votes. Last year most women were defeated due lack of money,” said Kenya Women Holding CEO Dr Jennifer Riria on Friday.

She said the fund will involve savings which will help women plan for and participate in political activities.

“It will be a participatory fund. They will save and we will also chip in. If you were vying as a member of the county assembly and failed you already have an idea of the amount of money needed. This time we will enable you to save until 2020 through regulations and policies or 2021 as you are preparing for 2022,” she said.

The organisation will also partake in training and building the capacity of women in preparation for the polls.

“We want them to start interacting with the electorate now. Some go into elections without the knowledge of what to do. Trainings and support will increase their visibility in the political scene,” she added.

Not enough done

Dr Riria says that despite constitutional changes meant to encourage women to lead, more still needs to be done.

Some of the women who attended the Women in Business retreat at Flamingo Beach resort in Shanzu, Mombasa County on March 2, 2018. Photo | WACHIRA MWANGI | NMG

Some of the women who attended the Women in Business retreat at Flamingo Beach resort in Shanzu, Mombasa County on March 2, 2018. Photo | WACHIRA MWANGI | NMG

According to the Kenyan Constitution, women must have at least a third of seats in parliament and a third of appointed positions.

But successive parliaments and governments have fallen short of the target.

“Women are still not yet fully in the leadership positions as we are a patriarch society. Our mothers do a lot in our households but they are not leaders in the community in spite of the constitutional changes. Women, youth and persons with disabilities are often left out during planning and talks on the country important issues,” Dr Riria said.

She also urged women to adopt technology in book keeping to improve in their business operations.

“Some women in business just work hard but do not know if they are making profits or losses...Women must accept technology in their businesses.”

Kenya Women Holding plans to change its name to Echo Network Africa (ENA) as it aims to cater to women in the wider East African region.

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