West Pokot and Elgeyo Marakwet leaders have asked the government to allocate funds to help women in marginalized pastoral areas to engage in business. The leaders said that the government should ensure that the funds allocated reach the target groups.
Speaking at Masol during a funds drive to help silk women groups, Sigor Member of Parliament Peter Lochakapong and his Marakwet East counterpart Kangoko Bowen said that there is a need to economically empower women in rural areas in order for them to access resources and to uplift their living standards.
Lochakapong said that many women in pastoral communities are disadvantaged and living under difficult socio-economic conditions and marginalized in arid and semi-arid areas. “This will help them to get a chance to engage in business and development. Women should not just sit home but look for wealth.”
He urged leaders in the region to unite and work for development to be realized. He urged women in the area to form groups, have micro finance institutions, self lending groups, engage in table banking initiatives and have savings.
Bowen said marginalized pastoral women have been sidelined in development issues and they will offer solutions by helping them to initiate development projects and income generating activities. “There is a need to educate women and offer them employment and business opportunities. Women and girls have been completely forgotten yet they are the secret weapon to fighting poverty,” said Bowen.
He called on residents in the region to shun animosity and conflict and embrace development. “Things of the past should be done away with. We as leaders, were elected to walk together,” he said, “We should unite people and engage in development and shun cattle rustling.” He further noted that when a woman is empowered the whole community is empowered. He pointed out that the youths in the region are not aware of the Youth Fund, Women Enterprise Fund, Uwezo Fund, adding that the funds should be channeled through constituencies.