The Young African Women Initiative (YAWI) in Nakuru wants the government to scale down importation of reusable carrier bags and empower local women use locally available material to make bags for a sustainable livelihood.
YAWI Chief Executive Officer Fidelis Karanja says this will help in creating pathways to self reliance among skilled but unemployed women who she says struggle to run their households.
Speaking during a tree planting drive to mark the International women’s day in Nakuru, Karanja observed that women with weaving skills in rural areas and low income urban areas have a potential to meet half of the estimated 40 million annual demand locally for reusable bags and ornaments.
She says this is a sub-sector that can provide sustainable income to many such women that are also survivors of various forms of Gender Based Violence.
The gender activist says deliberate empowerment models premised of the principles of equity are significant in preventing women objectification in the largely patriarchal society.
Karanja noted that if local women will be empowered to drive the subsector consumers will be guaranteed of quality products that meet local demands that conform to standards that are stipulated in the public health and environment laws.
She used the occasion to appeal to the private sector and religious entities in the country with the assistance of law enforcers to set up fully fledged gender desks to help address cases of gender violence that have become common in society.
The CEO noted that a considerable number of gender based violence is reluctant to report their cases at conventional police stations but would readily seek assistance at alternative places like religious institutions.
During the celebrations, 50 women affiliated to the organization held a Gender equality awareness procession within Free Area estate where cases of violence against women and children are regularly reported.
Administration officials in downtown Nakuru say an unabated culture of machismo and male chauvinism leads to violence and women are particularly victims.
The women and residents of the informal settlement often plagued by drugs and crime planted 1,000 trees along the Nakuru-Nairobi Highway to mark the international women`s day with calls for respect for women , their inclusivity in public governance and environmental conservation.
Hope Kenya Coordinator Cosmas Mutua called on members of the public to foster partnerships with Gender violence recovery centers across the country to help victims of violence heal and become active participants in nation building activities.