Young women and persons with disabilities (PLWDs) from marginalised communities of Baringo have been challenged to take up leadership and be champions of change by voicing challenges in order to improve their livelihoods.
Director of the Endorois Indigenous Women Empowerment Network (EIWEN) Christine Kandie urged the marginalised communities to come out and fight for their rights and take up leadership positions and government employment opportunities.
Kandie was speaking to KNA on Monday during a mentorship and capacity building programme that trained 28 young women at Marigat town Baringo South Sub-County.
“Lack of information on various available opportunities has locked out special interest groups and dissemination of this knowledge helps empower communities and I want to urge you who have been trained to trickle down this information,” Kandie said.
Kandie further said leadership opportunities were available in local levels including school boards, churches, health centers, nyumba kumi, villages, women groups and constituency development boards (CDF) and taking up these positions would enlighten them and develop problem solving skills that were important for future leaders.
“Women go to health centres for maternity services and child welfare clinics therefore taking up leadership roles in these committees will help improve services as your voice would make an impact,” she added.
Climate change, she said, was also a major challenge in the county as the pastoralists communities were grappling with drought rendering them vulnerable to poverty thus women were urged to develop resilience by venturing into business and developing a savings habit for rainy days.
Kandie noted that the barriers to equality included corruption, poverty, lack of equal access to education and healthcare plus negative cultural practices including early marriages, female genital mutilation (FGM), disabilities and language barriers affects the residents of the area.
Gladys Chepyegon a participant and a PWD said they faced discrimination when running for leadership positions hence become demoralized plus lack of resources citing lack of funds to pay for registration fees to run for all elective positions.
“Physically challenged children are locked out of school as lack of schools that enroll them are available in neighbouring counties like Nakuru, Nyeri, Kisumu and the fees charged is not affordable,” Chepyegon said.
Joseph Chepkonga, another participant and a PWD said that in order for one to be a leader they ought to be transparent, trustworthy, accountable, fearless, have wisdom, honesty, being a people’s person and knowledge of the rights.
EIWEN is a community based organisation (CBO) that was founded in the year 2016 to raise voice and status of marginalised women, PWds and girls in her Endorois indigenous community to achieve economic, social and political self-sufficiency and for women and girls to thrive.
By Caroline Cherono