Talking notes by His Excellency Hon. Wycliffe Ambetsa Oparanya, E.C.G., Governor of Kakamega County on the launch of Kakamega Governor’s gender round table at Bukhungu Stadium, Kakamega on 20th April 2017.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
- I am glad to join you and preside over the launch of Kakamega County Governors Gender Round table platform. This event affords us a special opportunity to focus and reflect on women’s contributions and achievements as we assess our effort of gender mainstreaming and call for greater equality in society.
- It is indeed our responsibility both individually and collectively to do all that is within our capability to push for women’s empowerment and overall gender equality in our communities and across the globe.
- We in Kakamega County are proud of our women, and cherish their role as home makers, farmers, professionals, entrepreneurs and leaders in diverse spheres of our County’s economy, working tirelessly to make Kakamega County a better and decent place to live. We applaud and recognize the work of those gallant women who have pioneered the women’s socio-economic and political empowerment agenda in the County and nationally.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
- Our Communities still experience unacceptable levels of gender inequalities, negative attitudes and rigid mindsets toward women and youth empowerment as well as non progressive cultural practice which include violence against women.
My Government has addressed this issue by;
- Allocating funds to construct a Gender Based Violence Rescue Centre where the gender violence victims will seek a safe haven before their cases are handled. The first phase will see the construction of and Gender Based Violence Rescue Centre in Shinyalu then followed by another two in Matungu and Lugari respectively.
- Empowerment of Youth, women and Person’s living with Disabilities is a key strategy in our development agenda. To date my Government has made tremendous steps towards youth empowerment. The youth have received Money maker irrigation pumps to engage in horticultural activities and car wash machines to engage in income generating activities.
- The youth engaged in Boda boda activities have also been trained on road safety and issued with driving licenses.
- No community can prosper without mainstreaming the welfare, contribution and participation of the special category of people in development programmes. My Government through the Ministry of Social Services, Youth and Sports is in the process of acquiring wheel chairs and other assistive devices for persons living with disabilities.
- The County Government of Kakamega has put in place deliberate steps and programmes to achieve gender parity and an all inclusive society. All our recruitment and formations, both in the executive and legislative arms of Government have ensured compliance to constitutional provisions on gender parity.
- The County Executive Committee comprises of four female members out of the membership of ten, the head of Public Service and Secretary to the Cabinet is a lady.
- In addition, two out of the five county public service board members are female while thirty out of the eighty seven County Assembly positions are women.
- Besides, women representation is adequately reflected in the mainstream civil service with a number of Chief Officers as well as Sub County Administrators and Ward Administrators’ appointments being women.
- This is also reflected in the recruitment of Early Child Development teachers where 90% of those employed are female.
- Further to this, my government has created special advisory positions in charge of gender and youth affairs that are held by women and youth which champion the welfare of the youth, women and people living with Disabilities (PWDs). The Ministry of Social Services, Youth and Sports has also formed a County Youth Committee to advance Youth issues.
- All in all the County Government of Kakamega has a total staff establishment of 6,161 (2,957 male and 3,205 female). Of these total 3,472 are new staff hired while 2,689 were inherited from the defunct local authority and also seconded by National Government. This translates to 57.5% female and 42.5% male hired. The total number of youth hired (18-35 years) is 76.2% against 23.8% who are above the youth age bracket.
- Kakamega County has one of the largest County Assemblies in Kenya; at 87 members with 60 elected and 27 nominated. 26 out of the 27 nominated members of County Assembly are female while only one is a male representing the youth.
- My Government is keen to see youth; women and persons living with disabilities participate fully in business and entrepreneurship.
- We continue to dedicate and reserve at least 30% of all public procurement for Youth, women and PWDs. In fact certain categories of business such as catering, supply of General Office Supply, cleaning and maintenance of the town and urban centers, tree planting and maintenance of roads have been reserved for women, youth and PWDs.
- Besides this my Government has initiated easy access to credit by establishing a County fund Called ‘Mikopo Mashinani’ to afford this special group loans without interests with almost 80% of beneficiaries being women, youth or Persons Living with Disabilities (PWDs).
- When we empower a woman we empower an entire society and a generation. My government has made deliberate efforts to empower women in the society by giving them cattle under the ‘one cow initiative’ a programme focused towards improving the livelihood of our women for it cushions them against hunger in addition to boosting their income through sale of milk.
- As one of the strategies to improve the lives of women in the County, the County Government has a programme aimed at reversing the deplorable mother and child mortality rates.
- The Oparanya Care programme targets poor mothers and their new born babies for nutritional support for one and a half years. The programme was initiated in 2014 and it targets to support 33,000 mothers at a cost of 270 Million.
- Finally, I thank all youth, women and PWDs groups, faith based organizations, Non-governmental organizations, Community Based Organizations and other stakeholders including the corporate sector who continue to contribute immensely towards women development and urge all of us to continue working together so that collectively we can deliver on our common agenda of advancing gender equality in the County.
It is now my pleasure to declare The Kakamega County Governors’ Round Table Platform officially launched.
Thank you and God bless you all.
INAUGURAL SPEECHES BOOK FOR PIONEER GOVERNORS OF THE REPUBLIC OF KENYA, 2013-2017 VOLUME 1
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