President Uhuru encourages women on table banking

Predident Uhuru Kenyatta cuts cake to celebrate JOYWO'S 5th anniversary

resident Uhuru Kenyatta has called for the acceleration of women’s empowerment and urged women to be at the forefront in advancing economic empowerment and peace.

The President pointed out that the active involvement of women in the socio-economic activities of their country and families is crucial to the realisation of sustainable development.

Speaking during the fifth anniversary of the Joyful Women Organisation (JOYWO) at Kasarani Stadium in Nairobi, the Head of State reaffirmed his government’s commitment to addressing women’s issues and creating an environment favourable to women’s development.

“If you empower a mother, then you are empowering a whole community. If we support such initiatives, within a short time, we will see prosperity in Kenya.

“Women have the power to change and unite Kenya, therefore the need to improve their welfare. Every Kenyan has a role to play in transforming our country,” he said.

The President promised Sh5 million to the JOYWO women’s group with the highest contributions next year.

Although women constitute 51 per cent of Kenya’s population, economic disparities between men and women remain considerably high.

JOYWO is a transformative organisation dedicated to the holistic empowerment of Kenyan women economically.

It aims to enhance household food security, among other factors, through supporting women’s involvement in income generating projects.

The group has grown steadily to support the welfare of women countrywide in the fight against poverty. It has an active membership in 39 counties where it is so far benefiting more than 170,000 women who are revolving more than Sh1.2 billion as of the beginning of November 2014 compared to last year’s Sh500 million.

Business proposals

Over the last five years that JOYWO has been in existence, it has reached hundreds of thousands of women across rural Kenya through its flagship projects.

Deputy President William Ruto’s wife, Rachel, who is the JOYWO founder and patron, yesterday said table banking helps women to fight poverty by providing them with funds to set up businesses.

She pointed out that in January 2015, the organisation will be sharing Sh130 million in dividends compared to Sh80 million in 2013.

“This is money that is in women’s pockets. Table banking is bringing money to women at the grassroots and enabling them to move from micro to small and medium- sized enterprises. We are touching the untouchable,” she said. “We are not only engaging in table banking and capacity building, but we are teaching women how to use their money productively.”

The organisation started with 1,000 members in Uasin Gishu County but has since spread to other regions, thanks to the table banking concept that allows members to save and access loans.

JOYWO has also assisted the women in making business proposals and drawing up investment plans to enable them access assistance from financial institutions.

The celebrations brought together members of the group as well as other parties in the women economic empowerment movement from various parts of the country and beyond.

The gathering reflected on the successes of the group as well as how to address its challenges, and networked with each other and with industry leaders from various sectors.