First Ladies root for women empowerment


First Lady Margaret Kenyatta Monday at State House, Nairobi, held talks with the First Lady of Central African Republic Madam Brigitte Toudore and agreed to scale up programs aimed at empowering women in Africa.

The Kenyan First Lady – who was briefed by her Central African Republic counterpart on the projects she is implementing to address challenges facing women – expressed the need to facilitate women to play an active role in nation building.

On her part, Madam Brigitte commended the Kenyan First Lady for spearheading the Beyond zero campaign to reduce maternal and child mortality, saying she is a true model of African motherhood.

The Central African Republic First Lady is a champion of Merc More than a Mother, an organization which supports women facing stigma because of infertility.

The organization helps women who have been stigmatized by initiating projects that enables them to restart and continue with their normal lives.

The Chief Executive of the organization Dr Belen Garijo, who accompanied the Central African Republic First Lady, briefed First Lady Margaret Kenyatta on the projects the organization has been undertaking to help women.

“We are actively involved in efforts to support infertile women in Africa,” Dr Garijo said, pointing out that recently the organization put up a house for one of the victims of stigmatization in Kenya, whose two hands were chopped off by her husband.

“Not only do we support the victims but we are also helping communities change their mind-set concerning infertility,” said Dr Garijo.

Dr Garijo also talked about an initiative geared towards empowering the girl child by encouraging them to take up science and technology subjects.

Through a program known as STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), Dr Garijo said her organization was looking forward to working with the Kenyan First Lady in encouraging girls to pursue science subjects.

In her response, the First Lady assured her Central African Republic counterpart that she was ready to partner with her in all activities aimed at empowering African women.

At another meeting, First Lady Margaret Kenyatta received a detailed progress report on the preparations for the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World under 18 championships scheduled to take place in Kenya in July this year.

The First Lady is the patron of the event which is expected to attract close to 2000 athletes from 160 countries.

The championships will involve 24 girls’ events and 21 boys’ events with over 100,000 spectators expected to grace the international event being held for the first time in Kenya.

Led by Sports, Culture and Arts Cabinet Secretary Hassan Wario, the steering committee said it has covered a lot of ground and preparations are on top gear.

The committee intends to activate the website for the 10th Edition of the IAAF under 18 championship before the end of this month.

Meanwhile, the First Lady Margaret Kenyatta received 3 million shillings in support of drought mitigation initiatives championed by the Kenya Red Cross.

The funds were donated by Savannah Cement Company which, through its Managing Director Ronald Ndegwa, presented a cheque of 2 million shillings, while Rotary Club donated a cheque of 1 million shillings.

Tatu City Company pledged to drill a borehole in one of the counties perennially affected by drought. The First Lady thanked the well-wishers, saying their donations will go a long way in complementing mitigation programs by the government.

She appealed to more Kenyans of goodwill to turn out in large numbers and support those who have been affected by the current drought.

The First Lady assured the Kenya Red Cross of her support, saying there was need for sustainable measures to ensure availability of food and water for Kenyans living in arid and semi-arid areas.

Kenya Red Cross Secretary General Abbas Gullet commended the First Lady’s commitment to addressing the challenges facing the needy including those in the drought ravaged parts of the country.


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