Meru governor’s Wife Priscilla Murungi is spearheading an initiative known as ‘Twaweza’ aimed at addressing challenges facing women and young girls in the county.
Twaweza focuses on women empowerment and gender equality through enhanced maternal and child health care, provision of skills to teenagers, leadership training, cancer screening, imparting business skills, reducing gender based violence and promoting the welfare of the aged.
The activities of the initiative are being overseen by a board chaired by Josephine Mbaya.
The Twaweza initiative has kicked off with the launch of ‘Generation plus program as well as the launch of a menstrual hygiene management program.
Mrs Kiraitu said the menstrual hygiene management program would focus on keeping girls in school.
“We want to break the silence and demystify the taboos surrounding the use of sanitary pads. The program will focus on menstrual hygiene management, adolescent sexual and reproduction health education, nutrition education and policy among others,” she said
The county first lady said the Twaweza program will go a long way in eradicating ignorance among women.
“Majority of women live in rural areas and go through most of the challenges. The government has come up with several legislative attempts to ensure equitable distribution of wealth, jobs, political participation and leadership but there is a lot of ignorance among women,” Mrs Murungi said.
She said Twaweza will give women basic knowledge on their rights and access to government opportunities.
“Women make up 50.2% of Kenya’s total population. This makes them one of the largest, untapped participants of economic and social growth.
The Twaweza program seeks to remedy the situation by reducing women exclusion and promote their involvement in every aspect of growth and development,” she stated.
Twaweza also seeks to enlighten on the women rights against cultural biases resulting from women’s rights and their political participation, education, socio-economic status, legal rights related to land inheritance, health and welfare.
Education executive Linner Nkirote said the programme will promote nutrition among children helping end stunted growth in the county.
“We are looking at the whole scope of nutrition including feeding, deworming and provision of vitamins to early childhood learners. Teenage pregnancies, early marriages, HIV, FGM and school dropout rates will be addressed. We want to build the youth of tomorrow today,” Ms Nkirote said.
Under the program, women will be trained in entrepreneurial skills to empower them to engaging in businesses, profitable farming and economic activities.
The initiative will partner with the Meru County Microfinance Corporation to enable women access cheap loans and promote a saving and investment culture.
“The Department of Agriculture and Trade will also engage women in economic activities. We will ensure that funds are set aside to train women to gain efficiency in their economic undertakings and ensure that women benefit from 30 per cent allocation in tenders and appointments,” the first lady said.