The Assistant Minister for Youth Affairs and Kathiani Legislator Hon. Wavinya Ndeti has hailed the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT), Japanese International Co-operation Agency (JICA) and Women Enterprise Fund for their partnership in empowering women in Kenya through financial and entrepreneurial skills development. The Assistant Minister said these while presiding over the official opening of the women’s In-country Training Programme that opened at JKUAT, Tuesday August 21, 2012. The training programme with the theme: Incubating Grassroots Women Capacity for Sustainable Socio-Economic Empowerment and Livelihoods Transformation, to run for 21 days has attracted over 50 women trainees drawn from different parts of the country.
In her address, Hon. Wavinya, appreciated the role that Women Enterprise Fund had played in adding value to the entrepreneurial training programmes and particularly acknowledged the organization’s expanded mandate of marketing, networking women entrepreneurs a move which she said, will help in fast-tracking the attainment of Kenya’s Vision 2030 through training of trainers.
The Assistant Minister, challenged the women trainees to take advantage of the programme to acquire necessary entrepreneurial skills that would enable them play a proactive role in enhancing social, economic development in their specific regions and country at large.
Commending JICA for a job well done in women’s capacity building, Hon. Wavinya pleaded with the Japanese Government through JICA, to increase the number of trainees in the In-country Training Programme and thanked the agency for continued support.
Vice Chancellor, Prof. Mabel Imbuga welcomed all the trainees to the programme and congratulated them for securing a place under the In-country Training Programme. The VC appealed to the trainees to “take their training seriously so as to acquire skills and knowledge which they could apply to empower other women at the grassroots.” She urged the trainees to use their vast God given gifts to capitalize on the expanded educational opportunities to enhance their academic qualifications.
Prof. Esther Kahangi, the JKUAT Deputy Vice Chancellor in charge of Research, Production and Extension Division (RPE) where the training programme is domiciled, was encouraged by the immense enthusiasm displayed by the previous women trainees whom she noted, “had been easy to train, appreciative and above all, willing to apply and implement what they had learnt in the programme since its inception”.
She further explained the introduction of a new concept of “incubation without borders” that would allow trainees to identify business enterprises of choice for investment and pledged JKUAT support in terms of technical and financial expertise to the women. She added that the university will enable them to partner with big buyers, through establishment of what she called, “Working Markets for Women.”
The Chief Executive Officer, Women Enterprise Fund, Mr. S. T. Wainaina, congratulated JKUAT and JICA for enhancing the capacity of women particularly the incubation programme. He reiterated the support of Women Enterprise Fund adding that “upon graduation, the trainees will be called upon to be mentors” once a mentorship policy that is being developed is put in place.
In addition, Mr. Wainaina said, Women Enterprise Fund will undertake to sensitize women on the formation of cooperative societies to address challenges that women face when dealing with mainstream banking institutions. He pledged to offer facilitation and education on the formation and operations of cooperative societies in the grassroots.
Mr. Kibe, who represented the Japanese International Co-operation Agency, characterized “education and training as key in economic empowerment” and appealed to all Kenyans to change their mindset and attitudes. He underscored the need to acquire requisite skills, experiences for social economic transformation as a means to minimize inequalities among communities.
He said that since year 2000, JICA had continued to modify the content in line with the needs of the grassroots women and was confident that the skills so learnt will contribute to the realization of Kenya Vision 2030. The content he said is aimed at equipping the trainees with knowledge and skills that are relevant in training others for sustainable community, and social economic empowerment while at the same time enabling the trainees become champions who will share and impart in others the lessons learnt at JKUAT.