Born 74 years ago Zipporah Kittony would make her mark in Kenya’s history by supporting women and youth.
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Her achievements in promoting women and youth affairs cannot be measured, only seen in her several awards including the Order of the Grand Warrior in 1998 and the American Biographical Institute Women of the Year Award in 1999.
Her 11-year tenure as chairperson of Maendeleo Ya Wanawake, then the largest and most influential women’s organisation in the country, has over time contributed to increased number of women taking up leadership positions.
She held the title between 1996 and 2006 where she prioritised promoting economic empowerment for women and leadership training with women.
She also worked on a programme to eradicate female genital mutilation (FGM) and improve maternal services in various parts of the country.
Mrs Zipporah Kittony was born to Isaiah and Elizabeth Chesire, a privileged family from Baringo County in Kasoyo Village, Kabarnet town.
She attended Kapropita Primary School before proceeding to Kapsabet Girls High School, and later did her “O” levels at Kapropita Girls High School.
Prior to her marriage to Paul Kittony in 1962 and relocating to Kericho, she taught at her old primary school, Kapropita, as an untrained teacher.
Between 1966 and 1970 she joined the Family Planning Association of Kenya as an educator in Kericho.
Her dedicated service to the women and youth of the country began in 1970s where she was appointed East and Central Africa Senior Programmes Officer of the World Assembly of Youth.
She taught young people discipline and how to be self-sufficient and organised workshops and seminars for the youth.
Kittony resigned in 1976 to join her family and focus on farming in Kitale, a move that would later see her become the first female chairperson of Agricultural Society of Kenya (ASK), Kitale, in 1979.
She steered the Kitale District show leading to its expansion and diversification and also served as a nominated councillor of Nzoia County Council.
In 1988, retired President Daniel arap Moi nominated her as a Member of Parliament. She was also presented with the Order of the Grand Warrior award for her exemplary work.
After her stint as a nominated MP in the Moi Government, she sought an elective seat for Cherangani MP in 2007 and lost but was again nominated by Kanu as a senator during the 2013 General Election.
Kittony announced her retirement from active politics early this year to give room to other people and especially the younger generation to demonstrate their leadership capabilities.
She, however, assured the country of her commitment to supporting women and children in her private capacity. She is still a keen supporter of the former President and a staunch Kanu member.
The proud mother of three children - two boys and a daughter - and several grandchildren and great-grandchildren says she takes great pride in her family which meets at least three times a year.
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