Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru has been nominated among the top 100 most influential women in Africa.
The ranking was done by Avance Media, a PR and Rating firm that has been engaged in changing the narrative about Africans through rating and ranking publications.
The nomination highlights and celebrates the astounding accomplishments of top 100 women from Africa.
Waiguru was nominated along with other accomplished African leaders including H.E. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf- Former President of Liberia, H.E. Sahle-Work Zedwe- Ethiopian President, H.E. Samia Suluhu Hassan- President Republic of Tanzania, Angele Makombo- President, League of Congolese Democrats, Aja Fatouma Tambjang, Former Vice President of Gambia, Amina J Mohamed- United Nations Deputy Secretary General, Lady Justice Martha Koome, Chief Justice of Kenya, and Charity Ngilu, Governor of Kitui County-Kenya.
The selection criteria included excellence in leadership and performance, personal accomplishments, commitment to sharing knowledge, breaking the status quo and being an accomplished African Woman.
Avance Media has indicated that the nominees will be expected to offer mentorship to selected young women leaders through the firm’s ‘Be a Girl’ mentorship program. The publication also presents a key opportunity for the nominees to be inspired and also, continue in their strides of setting global standards and records.
Governor Waiguru was elected in 2017, becoming one of the only three women to have ever been elected as governors in Kenya. Later in the same year, she was elected as the Vice-Chair of Council of Governors also becoming the first woman to ever hold such a position.
Before her election, she served in the National government as the Cabinet Secretary for Devolution and Planning during which time she transformed public service delivery through her award-winning concept of ‘Huduma Centre’; a one-stop-shop for government services which has to date been hailed as one of the best concepts in service delivery as it makes for faster access to government services.
During the time, she also spearheaded the most transformative youth empowerment program in Kibera Slum, the biggest informal settlement in Kenya. The ambitious program involved massive, dynamic, and unprecedented multilevel program that changed the face of the settlement and brought dignity to the lives of its residents.
The program saw to a major clean up and construction exercise in the slum which included; building roads and pavements, construction of community ablution blocks, affordable housing units and clinics as well as installation of street lighting system resulting in enhanced security and a significant reduction of crime in the area.
This project, which is a first of its kind in magnitude in a Kenyan slum, continues to be referenced especially due to the resultant contribution to youth and women employment in the country.
Her leadership and impactful governance skills are felt through the transformative economic empowerment projects she is currently implementing in Kirinyaga County.
Through an initiative called “Wezesha Kirinyaga”, the governor is supporting poor and vulnerable groups to undertake income-generating activities in agricultural value chains such as poultry keeping, tomato, avocado, dairy and fish farming, pig rearing and beekeeping among others.
The program, which incorporates over 9,000 households, is aimed at generating an extra income of at least Shs. 1,000 daily for each of the households involved.
She has also undertaken a major transformation of the county’s towns through various infrastructural development projects, the largest of them being the construction of a modern hospital complex that will make Kerugoya Hospital one of the biggest referral hospitals in the region and improve healthcare services in the county.
Waiguru has also been very instrumental in lobbying for gender equality in the country especially at the highest levels of the country’s leadership and has been in the forefront in lobbying for constitutional changes that will enable the legislation of women’s inclusion in various leadership positions.
The governor was also nominated to join the prestigious Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Presidential Center for Women in Leadership (EJS Center) as an Amujae Leader 2021 Cohort. The program is aimed at equipping women with tools and confidence required to seek the highest positions of public leadership.
By Irungu Mwangi