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Women have capacity to transform communities



First Lady Margaret Kenyatta Friday joined thousands of women from across the country to mark the Joyful Women Organization’s (JOYWO) 9th annual celebrations.

Joywo is a women empowerment Non-Governmental Organization under the patronage of Mrs Rachel Ruto which focuses on supporting women initiatives through the power of table banking.

The Joywo thanksgiving celebrations were held at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani’s indoor arena and brought together thousands of women groups from over 45 counties.

The First Lady reaffirmed the important role played by Kenyan women, not just as influencers, but also as central pillars of their families, communities and the society.

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“We have the power to transform the lives of our children, our families and our communities,” said the First Lady during the event also attended by Deputy President William Ruto.

She said every woman raises her children in the hope that they will live to their full potential adding that it saddens the mothers when this promise is broken for lack of finances.

“We raise our children in the hope that they will live to their full potential and it is sad when this promise is broken,” she said

The First Lady also underscored the importance of stable family units as the foundation of a prosperous Kenyan society.

She applauded Joywo as an innovative empowerment program which has significantly changed the lives of millions of women across the country.

“It has offered hope to the woman who has refused to shy away from pursuing her passions, who, rather than resign herself to social realities that sometimes paralyze us, instead faces the future with courage and belief in God,” said the First Lady.

She thanked Mrs Ruto for coming up with Jowyo which has empowered thousands of women across the country.

“I see women who have chosen to believe that their lives can be transformed,” the First Lady said.

Deputy President William Ruto revisited debate on the gender parity legislation by giving an assurance that the government is determined to ensure it is passed into law.

“We will not rest. We will not relent. We shall not tire until women get their rightful leadership positions,” said the DP.

He said there is need to find a mechanism to ensure that the gender parity rule is appropriately anchored and respected as enshrined in the Kenyan constitution.

The DP said Kenyans must get right the constitutional requirement over gender legislation so that the country can benefit from the huge experiences of women leaders.

“Those in doubt of what women leaders can do should look at the First Lady of Kenya and her achievements under the innovative Beyond Zero initiative,” the DP said after highlighting the various achievements by the First Lady through her tireless efforts to improve the welfare of mothers , children and adolescents.

Mrs Ruto said Joywo was committed to progressively continue empowering women across the country.

She said in the last nine years, Joywo’s table-banking strategy has moved millions of shillings and in the process empowered many women who have all started income generating initiatives and improving their lives including putting up better houses.

“Women now have their own financial resources at their disposal,” said Mrs Ruto who encouraged Joywo members to continue taking more loans.

She said women had embraced the big 4 development agenda and are ready to make their contributions towards food security, affordable housing, Universal Health Coverage (UHC), and manufacturing.

Others at the celebrations included the Speaker of the Senate Ken Lusaka, Cabinet Secretary for Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs Prof. Margaret Kobia among other leaders.