First Lady urges women to pool resources for faster economic empowerment

First Lady Margaret Kenyatta has expressed the need for more women initiatives that will enable them to pool resources and consolidate their financial strength.

The First Lady singled out table banking as one of the initiatives that women could use to empower themselves.

She commended Deputy President William Ruto’s spouse, Mrs Rachel Ruto, for establishing the Joyful Women, a non-governmental entity that has for the last 10 years operated to empower Kenyan women economically.

“We need more initiatives like JOYWO that will offer women financial options that will unlock their potential and provide the necessary support they require to become active citizens, contributing to the development of their communities and our country at large,” the First Lady said.

First Lady Margaret Kenyatta spoke Friday at the Moi International Sports Centre in Kasarani, Nairobi County during celebrations to mark the 10th anniversary of Joyful Women.

She thanked Mrs Ruto for her visionary leadership that has continued to inspire Joyful Women members to form over 6,000 table banking groups with a revolving fund estimated at Shs 3.5 billion.

Joyful Women was founded in 2009 and has a membership of over 200,000 women drawn from all the 47 counties.

The First Lady applauded Kenyan women saying they’ve excelled in balancing their pursuit for economic empowerment with the responsibility of nurturing their children into responsible citizens.

“God has given us a responsibility to transform the lives of our children, our families and our communities. We are responsible for ensuring good health, education, good nutrition and peace in our families,” said the First Lady.

Deputy President Dr William Ruto and Mrs Oludolapo Osinbajo, the spouse of the Nigerian Vice President Yemi Osinabjo, also attended the celebration.

The First Lady congratulated members of Joyful Women for pursuing their passion with courage and strength, saying the organization has continued to reach out to many women at the grassroots and boosted their economic wellbeing.

“Every year I have come to celebrate with you, I am humbled by the experiences, the commitment and the determination I see from women  – mothers, wives, sisters – whose lives have changed through this innovative empowerment program,” the First Lady said.

DP Ruto said Joyful Women is complimenting government’s efforts to fight poverty through women empowerment.

He said the table banking strategy has enabled women to raise resources for investments in projects that support the governments Big 4 development agenda especially in the agricultural sector.

Dr Ruto said the country will witness tremendous transformation if women are fully immersed in the country’s development agenda.

“Economic empowerment of women at the grassroots enables them to take their rightful place in our economy, in our social lives and the transformation of Kenya.

“We are very proud of what Joywo is doing in matters capacity building for our women to be able to engage meaningfully in many areas of our economy including agriculture,” the Deputy President said.

Mrs Osinbajo commended the patron and founder of Joyful Women organization Mrs Rachel Ruto for her visionary leadership saying her interaction and friendship has been key to attracting more members to the organization.

Mrs. Ruto expressed gratitude to all partners who have been supporting her initiative noting that since its inception it has been able to empower thousands of women across the country by transforming them economically.

“The lives of these women have been transformed. These women did not know what it meant to go to any commercial bank. Many of them had not even known what it meant to hold a thousand Kenya shilling that belonged to them.

“Many are the times a thousand shillings they held was either given to them to go buy something or to pay school fees for their children. In other words, it was not theirs, somebody else gave them. But today seated here are millionaires of our Republic of Kenya,” Mrs Ruto said.

At Friday’s event, the First Lady also launched Joyful Women’s digital platform which will be used to render services effectively to its members.

Public Service, Youth and Gender CS Prof Margaret Kobia also spoke at the event attended by several Members of Parliament led by Nairobi County MP Esther Passaris.


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