Women Empowerment is Critical to Community Growth

Prof. Imbuga makes her remarks

Women empowerment and gender parity is at the helm of discussions across the globe as gender discrepancy is widespread in most cultures if not all. According to the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Mabel Imbuga, food security, poverty eradication, sustainable development and economic growth cannot be achieved without gender equality.

“When it comes to agriculture, women produce, process and prepare much of the food available in our societies thus making them critical to the food security and economical empowerment of our families and communities,” said Prof. Imbuga.

Prof. Imbuga was speaking during the opening ceremony of the Kiambu County Women In-Country training programme organised by Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) in conjunction with Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), October, 10, 2017.

The training, themed: Optimizing the capacity of grassroot women for enhanced livelihood improvement and rural entrepreneurship, has so far trained over 3500 women countrywide since inception in 2000. This year, the training targets to train at least 400 women, covering over 20 counties namely Kiambu, Murang’a Machakos, Kitui, Mwingi, Kisumu, Nyeri, Laikipia, and Migori among others.

A section of the women follow proceedings during the opening ceremony.

Lauding the sustainability of the training programme, the Vice Chancellor encouraged the women to share their experiences with fellow women in other counties and pick up the best practices to enhance their agricultural production capacity. She also urged them to embrace innovations such as the use of biogas which contributes to the conservation of trees and is beneficial to the environment.

The Deputy Vice Chancellor in-charge of Research, Production and Extension (RPE), Prof. Mary Abukutsa, acknowledged that women face myriads of challenges in accessing the resources for production despite contributing more to food production and rural farm labour.

“To empower our rural women, the training curriculum will focus on agricultural productivity skills, animal husbandry, agronomic, biogas production, making of detergents and shampoo, nutrition and entrepreneurial skill,” elucidated Prof. Abukutsa.

JICA Programme representative, Mr. Samuel Kibe, urged the training participants to go and impart the knowledge gained to other members of the community. “Do not light the lamp and keep it under the table. Kindly go out, share the knowledge and let your neighbours prosper,” said, Mr. Kibe.

Participants pose for a commemorative photo

Grace Kimani, one of the beneficiaries of the training, appreciated JKUAT and JICA for organizing the training and vowed to be an ambassador of women empowerment in the county especially in agriculture and entrepreneurship. “When you empower rural women, you have empowered the whole community.”

The function was also addressed by JICA Resident representative (Kenya Office), Ms. Shoko Isokawa, Deputy Vice Chancellor (Finance), Prof. Otoki Moirongo, Principal, College of Human Resource Development, Prof. Elegwa Mukuku, Registrar RPE, Mr. Cyrus Kamau, Finance Officer, Mr. Titus Wasike and Director, Extension and Technology Transfer, Mr. Jeremiah Mbugua.