Kenya Women Parliamentary Organisation (KEWOPA) is the secretariat for all women legislatures. The organisation’s mandate is to strengthen women leadership in a democratic manner. The organization is supported by women legislatures as well as partners in diverse fields. After every election year, the organization invites new and repeat women legislatures for an induction meeting that serves as an experience sharing platform for leaders, agenda setting as well as networking. This year’s theme was: Driving change: The value of women in leadership.
During the meeting, the member had several sessions that highlighted different aspects of their legislative work and personal life. Starting off was the analysis on the legislative gaps and opportunities available in order to serve citizens better. This session gave members a chance to air gaps in their respective offices such as policy frameworks and development.
Hon. Aisha Jumwa, Cabinet secretary of Gender, talked on the need for women to work in unison. She noted that many at times issues affecting women can only be tabled and lobbied by women and if they are united in the respective houses than it is easier to get other members’ support. In her speech, she also delved on the need for members to have a niche. “ You cannot be conversant with every topic. Choose your niche and extensively research on it so that when motions come, you are well equipped,” she said.
The speaker of the national assembly, Hon. Moses Wetangula and speaker of senate, Hon Amason Kingi joined the induction meeting, an act that hasn’t been seen before. This offered women leaders a chance to engage the two speakers on different issues. This included but not limited to policies such as the sexual harassment policy, the two thirds gender principle a matter that has had challenges in the houses, delegation of finances as well as support during formulation and passing of bills funded by women.
In his speech, Hon Moses Wetangula encouraged women to speak out in parliament in numbers and exercise their mandate and rights as stipulated in the constitution. Both promised support to women in their respective houses especially on issues that bring equality.
Her excellency Cecily Mbarire, Governor Embu county also shared on her prowess having served as a member of parliament before becoming governor. He message was clear; take care of your self before taking care of others.
The induction also served as a space for the legislatures to gain knowledge from private stakeholders in the civil society space, development, finance, communication and innovation. Speakers from banks, media houses and developers such as google were present offering members a chance to tap into their knowledge on issues financial health and safe practices on social media.