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FIDA to empower female leaders and MCAs in Machakos

The Federation of Women Lawyers in Kenya (FIDA) has launched the women inclusive, governance, accountability, performance and participation programme for women leaders and Members of Machakos County Assembly to empower and increase peer support among women leaders.

FIDA vice Chair Christine Kungu while speaking during a two day Women Leaders’ Mentorship workshop at Kyaka hotel in Machakos town on Thursday, said they were empowering women leaders to encourage them to be confident as they do their job of passing legislation.

Kungu added that they wanted to help women leaders in Machakos to know their roles as leaders and to help them brand themselves as they find out the challenges they faced in their line of work.

The FIDA Vice chair said they wanted the women leaders to know what the gender agenda is all about in terms of policies and legislation which would help women in Machakos County.

She said they have realized if they don’t walk with the women leaders, their five years would be over and they would not have done their part to uplift and push policies that would empower other women in the county.

“We are here to hold their hands and for them to tell us the challenges they are facing and to give them skills and see what they can do better because we want them to retain their positions after the five years,” added Kungu.

Kungu added that in the 38 years that FIDA has been operating, it has fought for women’s rights and their access to justice helping over 4 million women and girls through their legal aid programme and through policies and legislative lobbying.

Machakos County Assembly Speaker Ann Kiusya speaking at Kyaka hotel during a two day workshop by FIDA on empowering female leaders and Members of County Assembly in Machakos. Photo by Anne Kangero

“FIDA Kenya is dedicated to fostering a culture that maintains and respects women’s rights and its objective is to advance individual and collective strength in all areas,” added Kungu.

She further noted that they planned to work with other partners such as the Council of Governors and mobilize more than 100 women for political seats to discuss shortcomings such lack of inclusivity in making of decisions and how to deal with social barriers that affect women in leadership.

Machakos County Assembly Speaker Ann Kiusya pointed out that without a critical mass of women in the Parliament, boardrooms and County Assembly, women voices were still absent from the major decision making in the country.

Kiusya, who is the only female Speaker in the country, added that there is need for enhanced gender mainstreaming as a strategy towards realizing gender equality.

“Empowering women has benefits for everyone and helps to build healthier lives and a strong economy because we all gain when women actively engage in all aspects of society,” added Kiusya.

She lamented that in Machakos County Assembly, out of 40 MCAs, only two were elected female MCAs yet last year, there were four women elected.

“In almost all other Counties in Kenya, there is either one elected MCA or none and I am worried that if we don’t seriously fight for these positions, we may end up with no elected woman MCA in the near future,” decried the Machakos Speaker.

Kiusya called upon her colleagues in Government, Non-Governmental Organizations and the private sector to collaborate on policies and resources aimed at making work safer, more inclusive and more equitable for women.

She further urged women to step up and take on leadership roles in order to fight against inequalities and to remove obstacles that prevent women from achieving their full potential.

Machakos Deputy Governor Francis Mwangangi, who represented the Governor, was also present and emphasized on the need to expose women to superior positions in Government which would make them bolder and more empowered to take up leadership roles.

He motivated women to fight for the top positions and not expect anyone to hand it to them because that is the root to economic empowerment.

“You should aspire to be elected in the next elections or get someone elected which will increase representation that is inclusive and balanced,” added Mwangangi.

He pledged that he would offer support to women and urged them to invest in educating girl child and not to discriminate when it comes to empowering the youth so as to achieve gender mainstreaming.

By Anne Kangero

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