Pastoral communities still stuck in retrogressive cultural practices that undermine women and youth have been urged to shun them as they inhibit on their socio-economic development.
Tangulbei Women Network chairlady, Mary Kukat addressing women drawn from Pokot, Tugen, Ilchamus, Turkana and Samburu communities said for many years women in pastoral areas have lagged behind in all spheres of development, because they still take leadership as a preserve of men, thus limiting their roles to only household chores.
Kukat lamented that women and youth from pastoral regions, including those in Baringo County were continually curtailed from ascending to key leadership positions in their respective communities because of outdated cultures that regarded them as children.
She noted that despite women being the most productive members of the society, they are overly sidelined when it comes to time of rewards in some of the communities that have refused to embrace modern changes.
Noting that women can be better managers if given the opportunity to serve because they are all inclusive when it comes to resource utilization and distribution, the chairlady urged women and youth from pastoral areas to rise up to the occasion and champion for their rights as enshrined in the constitution, since they are the most susceptible group to discrimination.
“If young women can claim their rightful position and the society comes to terms with the fact, then our lives will be transformed,” she stated.
The chairperson cited Baringo county with 30 wards, but where only two women, Loyamorock ward representative (MCA) Maria Losile and her Kapropita counterpart, Jenipher Kabon were elected during the 2017 general elections, a scenario she says paints a clear picture that the communities in the region were far from embracing women leadership.
Janet Ngurakin, one of the young women from Pokot community who recently joined the women network said the reason behind her desire to join the organization was passion to get empowered, through capacity building on women rights.
“Despite having undergone through college education, my community does not recognize me since I have not heeded to their call to undergo Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) to prepare me to be married off,” she said.
Ngurakin added that the community expects women to comply with their outdated cultural norms and turn a blind eye on the economic value they get, after successfully completing their education careers.
She is now appealing to the concerned communities to change their attitude and perception on how they view young women and youth in general, by according them opportunity to serve the society in various capacities.