Launch of the Nationwide Boda Boda Riders Training Programme

Cabinet Secretary, Prof. Margaret Kobia earlier today presided over the launch of a nationwide Boda Boda Riders Training Programme at People’s Park, Machakos County.

The Ministries of Public Service and Gender, Interior and Coordination of National Government and that of ICT, Innovation and Youth Affairs are spearheading the training Programme to address the increasing road safety challenge in the Motorcycle Public Transport (Boda Boda) Sector in Kenya.

The programme is targeting close to 1.4 million riders countrywide with the National Youth Service (NYS) in collaboration with the National Transport and Safety Association (NTSA) set to conduct the training beginning in February 2021.

In her keynote address, Prof. Kobia called on the riders to hold each other accountable to restore road safety citing that the training programme is expected to restore order and discipline. “The training we have launched today is important since the accidents happening on our roads is attributed to human error,” she said.

Prof. Kobia noted that with over 1500 lives being lost annually through Boda Boda accidents the Government has had to do something to save lives by introducing the new programme that will ensure all the Riders undergo a refresher course to restore sanity in the Boda Boda sector.

Prof. Kobia noted that the program would specifically change the lives of the youth. “This program will economically empower the youth in order for them to make independent choices and be able to build their own country,” she said.

She urged the riders to develop a saving culture in order to diversify their investments in the future and develop themselves for a better livelihoods and that of their dependants.

Machakos County Governor, Dr. Alfred Mutua in his remarks welcomed the programme and committed to subsidizing the fee charged for the training to ensure all the riders undergo the refresher training in Machakos County. “For those already with licenses we shall pay the Ksh 750 for each and the ones without licenses will pay a subsidized fee,” he said.

The programme will be piloted in three (3) counties namely; Kiambu, Kajiado and Machakos and thereon to be rolled out in the remaining Counties in the country.

Motorcycle rider fatalities in Kenya have been increasing from as low as 34 in 2006 to 1,575 deaths in 2020 as per statistics obtained from the NTSA and the Traffic Police.

It is estimated that the sector employs about 1.7 million riders in our country who earn between Kshs.500/- and Kshs 750/- per day translating into over Ksh.15000 in a month.

Also present at the event was the National Youth Service Director General, Ms. Matilda Sakwa, Machakos County Commissioner, Mr. Fredrick Ndunga among other National and County Government officials.

By Nelly Kosgey

Launch of Uwezo Fund PSIP Interns Induction Training

State Department for Gender Affairs Principal Secretary Prof. Collette Suda today officiated the opening of the Uwezo Fund Training Program, where the Public Service Internship program (PSIP) interns deployed to Uwezo Fund, were inducted.

The Fund in partnership with the UN Women will coordinate an empowerment program across the 47 counties field stations to create awareness and sensitize the Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities to increase uptake of Government Affirmative Funds.Over 120 interns who were deployed to the Fund through the PSIP are undergoing a two-day induction training before they are redeployed in the field stations.

In her remarks, Prof. Suda welcomed the interns and urged them to take the opportunity with a lot of keenness in order to acquire work experience in their respective field of study. She pointed that PSIP is a key pillar in the government’s wider strategy to mitigate youth unemployment by addressing the work experience demanded by prospective employers.

“This programme is designed to offer you industrial skills and learning opportunities to acquire and develop valuable technical and professional skills while gaining work experience and to certify the requirements for registration to various professional bodies,” she told the interns.

The Principal Secretary told them to make a difference in the lives of the vulnerable groups by giving them the necessary support as they apply for the funds.

UN Women Country Director, Ms. Anna Mutavati lauded the partnership between UN Women and Uwezo Fund noting that the Government’s agenda of Ending Gender Based Violence, Women’s Economic Empowerment and expanding women’s voices, leadership and participation shall be realized.

“We commit to offer financial and technical support for the betterment of the Fund and overall Women Economic Empowerment in Kenya.” She said in her address.

Uwezo Fund CEO, Mr. Peter Lengapiani pointed out that the interns will reduce employee work load as they will support the field stations in mobilizing and monitoring uptake of the Fund loans.

He expressed optimism on the conduct of the interns noting that the first and second cohorts finished their internship without any disciplinary cases. “We shall closely work with the 129 interns to ensure they get the necessary support in the work place and gain experience within the one year period,” Mr. Lengapiani said.

He added that much of the work for the interns is to create awareness and sensitize women, youth and Persons with Disabilities on economic empowerment programmes so that they can form and register their groups in order to access the Government interest-free loans.

Since its inception the Fund has cumulatively disbursed Kshs. 6.5 Billion to the 290 constituencies which have benefited 70,102 groups comprising of; 23,697 Youth, 44,599 Women and 1,806 Persons with Disabilities groups. This has directly benefited 1,034,743 individuals comprising of 712,960 Female and 321,783 Male.

Among those present at the event were Uwezo Fund Board Chairperson, Prof. Losenge Turoop, Board members, and the management team.

By Jacqueline Kirimi

Kenya – Uganda Signs Declaration To End Cross Border FGM

The International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation was marked today in Alale, West Pokot County with a landmark signing of an End Cross Border FGM declaration by the Pokot elders and Government Representatives from Kenya and Uganda.

Chief Administrative Secretary, Hon. Rachel Shebesh who presided over the event welcomed the declaration from both Countries that will see the elimination of FGM and protect the girls and women from the harmful practice.

Hon. Shebesh noted that women and girls have borne the brunt of the harmful consequences of FGM for a long time and said that the time for it’s elimination was long overdue.

She noted that involving the elders is a prerequisite in the fight against FGM given the significant role they play as the gate keepers of the culture in their communities. She urged the elders to utilize their power to influence the community positively.

“The cultural leaders are there to protect our women and girls from the harmful practices such as FGM. Their voice is the most respected in the society so they influence the community to choose a safer rite of passage for girls. As government and in partnership with our development partners and our neighboring Countries we are at hand to accord you all the required support,” said Hon. Shebesh.

She emphasized that the government was not fighting cultural practices but was fighting harmful cultural practices that infringe on the rights and well-being of girls and women.

The Chief Administrative Secretary also warned complacent Chiefs and Assistant Chiefs and told them that they risked arrest if the practice continued in their respective jurisdictions unabated.

“The Chiefs and the Assistant Chiefs with reported cases of FGM in their jurisdictions should come forward to seek for support to end FGM, ” she said.

She challenged practitioners of female circumcision who are carrying out the practice as a source of livelihood to seek alternative means of income through Government Affirmative Funds.

West Pokot County Governor, Hon. John Lonyangapuo urged parents to ensure their children are in school noting that the County Government had given allocation for education which is enough for every child in the County. “To eradicate FGM in West Pokot County we must invest in education being a marginalized region,” said Hon. Lonyangapuo.

The international theme for the day was “No Time for Global Inaction: Unite, Fund end Act to End FGM.”

The day was preceded by unveiling of the West Pokot County Anti-FGM Youth Chapter yesterday. Where Anti-FGM Youth Network drawn from the 22 hot spot counties in Kenya and from within West Pokot County met to share best practice on ways young people can end FGM. The Anti-FGM youth champions will be rolled out in the other Counties to spearhead dialogue and awareness campaigns at the community level. The youth network called for the nomination of a youth under 35 years of age into the Anti-FGM Board Committee to bring in the youth voice in the fight against FGM.

The delegation from the Ugandan Government called for increased allocation in the budget for education for the border counties which are practicing FGM in order to empower the girls through education.

Earlier on, Hon. Shebesh visited Alale Rescue Centre, near Uganda Border where she met with over 90 girls who have been rescued from FGM and early forced marriage who are are undergoing mentoring. She pledged to support the Centre with mattresses and other basic items.

Among those leaders who accompanied the Chief Administrative Secretary are Ministry of ICT, Innovation and Youth Affairs, Chief Administrative Secretary, Ms. Maureen Mbaka; Ugandan Government Representatives, Anti-FGM Board Chairperson and CEO Agnes Pareiyo and Bernadette Loloju respectively; the West Pokot County Anti-FGM Multi-Agency Committee and other National and County Government officials.

By Nelly Kosgey

FGM Spikes in West Pokot Due to COVID-19 Pandemic

West Pokot County leadership has today decried an increased number of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) cases in the County during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

During a meeting presided over by Chief Administrative Secretary, Hon. Rachel Shebesh ahead of the commemoration of the International Day of Zero Tolerance for FGM tomorrow in Alale, West Pokot County, the leaders called for accelerated efforts to eradicate the practice by 2022.

While addressing the County leaders, Hon. Shebesh pledged full support from the National Government. “One of the key interventions that has proven to be effective is the provision of Affirmative Action Funds loans to the women cutters which is an alternative source of income,” she said.

The Chief Administrative Secretary urged the leaders to support the National Government in the empowerment program which she noted will go a long way in ensuring the eradication of the outlawed practice.

West Pokot County Governor, Hon. John Lonyangapuo noted that the County Government had invested heavily in Education through the provision of Bursary Funds for over 53,000 students in the County up from 15,000 in the previous financial year. This, he pointed out, had seen an increase in the enrolment of girls in schools which ensures that girls are safe from FGM.

Hon. Lonyangapuo also expressed concern over the rise of teenage pregnancy and early child marriage in the county during the pandemic and called on for more efforts to protect girls from being exploited.

In another earlier event, the Chief Administrative Secretary unveiled the West Pokot Anti-FGM Youth Chapter, where she challenged the youth to have an open conversation on FGM. She challenged the youth to support the fight against FGM in all the 22 hot spot counties.

“We shall unveil Anti-FGM youth champions in all the 22 Counties who will be our ambassadors at the community level in championing for zero FGM by 2022,” she said.

Later, the Anti-FGM Multi-Agency Committee visited Nasokol Primary School Rescue Centre to check on its status and they addressed the pupils who are being mentored through education.

Hon. Shebesh was accompanied by the Chief Administrative Secretary, Ministry of ICT, Innovation and Youth Affairs, Ms. Maureen Mbaka; UNFPA Country Representative Kenya, Dr. Ademola Olajide; Anti-FGM Board Chairperson and CEO Agnes Pareiyo and Bernadette Loloju respectively, the West Pokot County Anti-FGM Multi-Agency Committee; and County and National Government officials.

By Catherine Kamau

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

FIRST ANNIVERSARY OF THE NAIROBI SUMMIT ON ICPD25

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

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, 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.


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