The meeting was organized by the Chief Administrative Secretary Hon. Linah Kilimo. The two days sensitization meeting was to bring together widows of Elgeyo Marakwet, Baringo and West Pokot together. Reconcile and introduce them to income generating activities which will bring them together These are the women who have been widowhood as a result of cattle rustling.
Cattle rustling has claimed a lot of men in the region leaving behind many widows. The widows.
The meetings were attended by the following organizations;
- State department for gender county director.
- Anti FGM board
- Women enterprise fund
- Fin Church Aid
- Fida Kenya
- Come Together Widows and Orphans Organization.
- County commissioners of Baringo and Turkana.
State department for gender
The state department for gender was represented by Mr. John Ndonji. He talked how the government is mainstreaming widow’s agenda to ensure inclusivity. He talked about 50 million African Women Speak (50MAWS), a digital platform which is available via web and on mobile devices as an app. The platform is intended to empower millions of women in Africa to start, grow, and scale up businesses by providing a one-stop shop for their specific information needs.
The 50MAWS platform aims to facilitate a dynamic and engaging exchange of ideas among women entrepreneurs, using in-built social media functionality to connect them with one another in ways that will foster peer-to-peer learning, mentoring and the sharing of information and knowledge within communities, and access to financial services and market opportunities between urban and rural areas, and across borders and between countries.
Featuring information on doing business in 38 countries across the African continent, 50MAWS’ unique proposition is building a community of women entrepreneurs who will act as peers, mentors, advisors and financiers to each other. This social network is designed to help women to learn from each other, inspire each other and draw from the most comprehensive resource bank for information on various aspects of doing business.
It will also facilitate access to training, business management tools and financing options specifically targeted to women. The expected outcome is to directly impact 50 million African women and create fair waged jobs for young people from the increased business activities and capital flow. The widows were happy since the government is coming with programs targeting them hence enabling them to contribute to Sustainable Development Goals.
Anti FGM board
The board was represented by Director Lucy. She highlighted that the three counties are the hotspot of Female Genital Mutilation. She encouraged widows not to mutilate their girls instead take them to school and acquire quality education. She also urged the chiefs to be at the forefront in ensuring the Stop and end FGM by 2022 as it is the presidential directive.
Women Enterprise Fund
The woman enterprise fund was represented by Dorine Kawira, Regional Credit Officer.
She taught the widows about the new product which has been specifically designed by the Ministry of public service and gender to benefit the widows in Kenya. The product is called Thamini Fund. It is a financial loan product disbursed through widows led groups and it is a group-based loan facility that gives widows equal opportunity to access interest free group loans with no administrative loan.
The Thamini Fund provides specialized training, tailored support and interest free affordable capital to start/expand businesses. It also increases access to capital through innovative financing mechanisms, increase women entrepreneurs by use of holistic business development services and technological advancements with special focus on widows.
For the widows to access Thamini Fund must be in a registered self-help groups of ten members and must have been in existence for at least three months and comprising 100% women of which 70% are widows. All leadership position must be held by widows, have account in a Bank, trained on holistic business management skills by the WEF officers as a prerequisite for the loan application.
1-month grace period applies to the Thamini Loan cycles.
Fin Church Aid
Finn Church Aid (FCA) is Finland’s largest international aid organisation with more than 70 years of experience. They specialise in the world’s most fragile contexts and work with the most vulnerable people, regardless of their religious beliefs, ethnic background or political convictions.
FCA was founded in 1947 to coordinate international aid to Finland from the United States and Sweden after World War II. Finland turned into a provider of assistance in the 1960s, and FCA has grown ever since. FCA was a part of the Church of Finland’s international department until 1995 when FCA became an independent foundation.
They were represented by Aziza Maalim Peace Coordinator Nairobi they also provided food for the widows in Elgeyo Marakwet and Pokot.
Fida Kenya was represented by Ms. Wanjiru Kamanda. The challenges widows in these region faces is disinheritance, and psychological aid. This is brought by the killings men and raiding of cattle leaving these women a widow with nothing.
The Fida Kenya held psychological and legal aid which helped the widows great.
The widows suggested they needed an Fida Office in the region.
Come Together Widows and Orphans Organization
CTWOO was represented by Ms. Dianah Kamande. She highlighted the challenges widows face. She was moved by the stories of young women who have been widowed due to insecurity in the area. She urged the widows to form groups, register and apply for Government Affirmative Action Funds. She also thanked the Ministry of Public Service and Gender for ensuring widows are considered in their programs.
Spread truth Is a Christian organization which train local church communities around the world to engage in gospel outreach.
The team was led by Mr. Ken Lanyo and they provided food worthy 22tonnes.
COLLABORATIVE CENTRE FOR GENDER AND DEVELOPMENT
They were represented by Ms. Milkah. She explained their main mandate is domestication of the UN 1325 and ensuring gender equality is achieved. She urged widows to take the elective position that is the only way they can be in decision making table and their voices will be heard.
Present were county commissioner Elgeyo Marakwet county Dr. Omar and county commissioner Baringo county Mr. Wafula. They concurred with other leaders and promised to ensure they help widows in their capacities., they then welcomed Elgeyo Marakwet Governor, Mr. Alex Tolgos.
He thanked partners for remembering widows of Elgeyo Marakwet and urged widows to take interest free loans to empower themselves.
He also urged the widows to embrace diversification among the three counties and live together as sisters. He promised to talk to Ministry of Defense to consider buying livestock from the area to avoid selling them at a throw away prices