This years’ International Widows Day theme was make widows matter. The event was hosted and organized by Come Together Widows and Orphans Organization (CTWOO) which was held on 23rd June 2021 in Gatanga Parish in Gatanga, Muranga county.
The event was graced Remarks from event sponsors and partners:
- Spread Truth Africa- Mr. Ken Lanyo
- Certified Homes Ltd -Mr. Robert Ndungu-CEO
- Aspiring member of parliament, Gatanga Constituency- Mr. Edward Muriu (Wakili)
- DCC -Mr. Rotich
- Chairperson WEF Commissioner -Ms. Njoki Kahiga
- Cometogether Widows and Orphans Organization -Ms. Dianah Kamande HSC
- Director Gender Mainstreaming -Mr. Protus Onyango
- FIDA-KENYA- Legal Advisor, FIDA
- WEF- WEF officer
- UWEZO FUND- Uwezo Fund Officer
- NGAAF- NGAAF Officer
The event began at around 09:00am with registration of the widows present this was followed by opening prayers from Rev. Father Daniel Githae Parish priest. The addresses were made in the following order with the help of the Master of Ceremony (MC).
Benson Ndung’u- Women Enterprise Fund (WEF)
Mr. Ndung’u spoke to the widows about the importance of table-banking, Mary-go-round, and how to best make use of fund that they receive to make their lives better. He addressed the benefits of being in a registered group; to get fund for widows that are sanctioned by different government agencies which will enable widows to start a business or educate their children. He also touched on the success of a tank project that they are running for widows.
Ms. Martha- UWEZO Fund
She started by introducing what the company, does and how they work, and the accessibility of UWEZO fund to widows. She also touched on youth empowerment through UWEZO fund, and how to qualify for the funds as a group, also introduced her team.
Ms. Jane wa Kamande-National Government Affirmative Action Fund (NGAAF)
She started by stating she works with the office of Hon. Sabina Wanjiru Chege. She gave a brief introduction what they do and tank project, tent project that they have undertaken, and how to best take advantage of these funds as widows and youth.
Ms. Rebecca Wajongona- Widow
She started by saying that once a woman loss’ her husband she faces issues such as abandoned, uneducated children, land issues among relatives but despite that she encouraged her fellow widows to look God and seek Him first and He will renew their strength and hope to fight the fight of life.
At this point the honored guests Hon. Dr. Jebii Kilimo and Ms. Diana Kamande, arrived with other distinguished guests and Mr. Titus Wairati took over as MC to continue the rest of the program. He also introduced himself and stated that he was a widower.
Ms. Beth Wanja
She advised her fellow widows to be accepting of the facts, which is their status as widows. Acceptance and perseverance are what she emphasized on, so as to raise their children and to improve their lives. She also added that the widows ought to be strong in the Lord to gain strength and the courage to move on in life.
Ms. Lydia Wanjiku-Widow
She spoke of how widows face lack of direction, abandonment from family and friend, landing grabbing, and loneliness, but having hope in God renews strength and widows should let God fight for them. She also made a request to the CS to look into a bill that widows gave in 2016 to Hon. Kariuki for parliament to pass.
She gave her story of the aftermath of her husband’s death. She faced death threats and abuse in the hands of those she thought would have her best interest at heart. She narrated how 12 thugs were sent to kill both her and her children but her hope and trust in God saved them. She also spoke how her husband’s land was forcefully taken from her after she refused to be inherited.
Legal Advisor FIDA- Muthoni Macharia
She started by introducing her team and spoke to widows about the procedure to gain back ownership of land and house that were forcefully taken away. She also encouraged widows to speak to counselors and added on with a brief importance of a counselor. She said that their services are free and offered to listen to widows after the ceremony is done.
He began by commending widows for their strength and said that he would work with widows towards support for and empowerment of widows. He also gave a promise to start a clinic so that widows would have a voice to fight for them.
Mr. Robert Ndung’u CEO Certified homes
He opened by requesting to Ms. Diana not to forget the widows from Murang’a for the next Valentine Day. He continued to speak on the Avocado projects that they do towards empowerment of widows. He then spoke of affordable housing for all, the plans that are available for building and or selling and business set-ups for widows who are unable to help themselves. He also gave examples of widows who suffered injustice and how certified and partners helped.
Mr. Ken Lang’o- Spread Truth Africa
He commenced by saying he was representing his elder who was unable to grace the event, he also went show the audience why he called Murang’a home. He spoke of the partnership between Spread Truth and CTWOO, how the two organizations came together to alleviate some of the issues that widows go through. He then welcomed a colleague who taught widows how to cook the foods that the two organizations are donated.
Commissioner Njoki Kahiga -WEF
She led of by introducing herself and also saying she is a child of Gatanga and explained why she is. She continued to speak of what WEF does and the partnerships that exits to help widows and empower them.
Nahashon Gashuhi Nominated MCA Gatanga Ward
He led with an acknowledgement of the challenges that widows face. He also spoke of the strength of a widow and how she is the pillar of her household and society. He also told the audience he is a child of widow and how his mother put him through education to be who he is today. He also thanked all who were involved in the celebration todays and gave the gift from the senator.
Nduati Nguni- MP
He spoke of the importance of forming widow groups and how beneficial this groups are to widows. He added on the creation of old people funds. He also spoke of a newly created office where women can get a birth certificate in Murang’a, so that women don’t have to travel to other counties. He also touched on the building of a new court, in Gatanga county some donations he had brought with him, and excused himself because he had a prior engagement.
She greeted widows and present guests and officially gave her gift- blanket to some widows.
This was followed by gifting a few widows with the blankets, Hon. DR. Kilimo, Ms. Kamande, Mr. Lang’o and other guests helped to hand them over.
Area County Commissioner
She started by welcoming all guests, introduced her fellow officers and chief present. She added on the benefits that widows will be getting from taking advantage of the government agencies, she opened the doors the government to widows on any issues that may be bothering them.
Ms. Diana Kamande
She opened with an appreciation of all those who were present and had been part of today’s event. She gave her reason for fighting for widows, she also said she can relate to widows because she has been where they have been. She spoke on policies such as domestic violence act and the 2016 bill that was taken to parliament. She spoke of the importance of women in leadership especially widows in leadership. She also gave her word that she would return to Gatanga to visit them in their individual groups.
Hon. Dr. Jebii Kilimo
She opened by introducing her staff and those from the Gender State Department then continued to deliver His Excellency Hon. Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta’s letter of well wishes. This touched on:
- FGM, which was followed by a warning to those that engage in such practices;
- Gender Based Violence she gave the toll number and spoke of what they do at the center;
- Equality and equal rights for all, widows included;
- Different government agencies and how they can help widows to move ahead in life;
- Commended the celebration of widows and their strength;
- She added to this by praising the strength and wisdom of a woman and urged women to take good care of their children.
She also pointed out on the government’s commitment towards supporting the plight of widows and called for awareness programs that will strive to cultivate a culture of understanding of those less fortunate in society. She signified the event by calling all also widows the heroine of the day and encouraged them to support one another.
This was commenced by Hon. Dr. Jebii Kilimo, she was assisted by other honored guests and after food distribution to the widows commenced and the event was officially closed.