Ambitious professional women from the Nyanza region have been urged to mentor and empower the female folk to occupy equal space in the nation’s economic development.
Information, Communications and the Digital Economy Cabinet Secretary (CS) Eliud Owalo appealed when he officiated the launch of the Professional Association of Nyanza (PANY) Women in Kisumu County on Friday.
Owalo who is also the PANY Women patron, challenged the group of elite women to stand up and be counted in the journey towards creating sustainable economic development, and for the prosperity of the Nyanza region.
“The women professionals from this region are telling us that it is time to put lamentations behind us, and to begin walking the talk and path of development and lead in improving the economy of the Nyanza Region,” Owalo noted.
He told the professionals to leverage the diverse knowledge and experiences of the members to sensitize fellow women to the available opportunities that can be tapped.
“As women professionals and leaders, members of PANY are well suited for reaching out to other women from the region and leading them in forming cooperative savings and credit societies,” stated the CS
The association, Owalo added, would ensure an organized and structured leadership to provide guidance and help the grassroots women develop viable business plans and link them to financiers and markets.
Additionally, he urged the professionals to help break down the complex aspects of the regulatory, legal and legislative requirements in various sectors to enable women to establish micro, small and medium enterprises.
Betty Adera, Chairperson of PANY Women in her remarks, stated that the Association which was formed in February 2023, envisions galvanizing Nyanza women professionals for sustainable economic development, and the prosperity of the Nyanza region.
“The association recognizes fully that the contribution of women professionals in the region’s development discourse has so far remained minimal. Yet, it is widely acknowledged that if women will play a central role in society, they will bring about social and economic stability, progress and long-term development,” she pointed out.
So far, over 500 professional women from the Nyanza region have registered in the new formation. The membership consists of diverse professional backgrounds including women in academia, health, education, legal, entrepreneurs, women in diaspora as well as young women in their early careers.
She reiterated that the association would leverage members’ vast skills, experiences and extensive networks to roll out tangible programs and projects that will transform the region as a way of giving back to communities of their origin.
“We plan to build the capacity of women and youth groups in the region, in the areas of financial inclusion, improving climate-smart agricultural and fisheries production and value chain systems, providing linkages to local enterprises for enhanced growth, and enhancing public, and reproductive health interventions,” she noted.
The event was also graced by the Ambassador of the United States to Kenya Meg Whitman, High Commissioner of India to Kenya Ms. Namgya Khampa, Cabinet Secretaries Susan Nakhumicha for Health, and Florence Bore for Labour and Social Protection. Also in attendance were Ms. Harriette Chiggai, the President’s Advisor on Gender Affairs and Gladys Boss, the Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly.