#ChooseToChallenge: Meet three manufacturing professionals who have found passion in supporting women and girls
Sponsored by BAT Kenya
Zipporah Kuria, Corporate Tax Manager, BAT Kenya
"The complexities of the current world have made it difficult for young people to thrive, especially when they lack an adequate support system. With pressure coming from all angles – especially social media – we are seeing many cases of youth depression and general hopelessness in life.
Due to this state of affairs, I felt compelled to extend my support to the youth in my community, to hold their hand as they navigate through life. Through the Mpesa Foundation Academy, I mentor teenage girls as they transition through
high school and into early adulthood. My role as a mentor is to encourage them to stand up and rise above challenges.
In the programme, we discuss school-life balance. I also share my experiences with them in hopes that they can learn from the positives of my story."
Anne-Marie Kinuthia, Supply Chain Development Manager, BAT Kenya
"I am passionate about science and empowering the girl child. I Am Science is an initiative of the Digital Access to Knowledge Project by the Goethe-Institute South Africa and is supported by the German Federal Ministry for Economic
Cooperation and Development (BMZ). The initiative contributes towards the #eskills4girls initiative, which has been identified as one of the G20 deliverables and seeks to empower girls for the global digital transformation.
In March 2018, I was part of the team that piloted the I Am Science - Coding Program in Kenya at Shadrack Kimalel Primary School in Ngumo, Nairobi. The goal of the initiative is to expose the girls to basic programming skills which they
can use to relate to objects and situations encountered in their daily lives, such as mobile phones and how traffic lights work. Effectively, this would then spur their interest in the STEM industry.
Being a part of this initiative was a very fulfilling opportunity. Not only was I part of efforts to embed the desire for coding amongst these ambitious girls, I also got the chance to mentor and connect with them on a personal level and make a difference in their lives."
Mark Kibet, Leaf Sustainability Manager, BAT Kenya
"Women play a critical role in community wellbeing. In the world of agriculture which I am passionate about, both personally and professionally, over 50 percent of the work is done by women. Yet, their efforts do not receive due acknowledgement and appreciation. This puts them at a disadvantage within the land holding chain, which is predominantly owned by men.
I am therefore proud to lead a programme that empowers women in BAT Kenya’s tobacco farming communities. Our efforts have yielded encouraging results, recording an increase in women seeking to be contracted by the Company’s tobacco farming operation. Women now comprise 22 percent of the total BAT-contracted farmer population.
We have also seen more women saving with the farmer Saccos and seeking elective posts, e.g. Sacco leadership and several as farmer leaders.
With a view to expanding their horizons, I plan to enhance our initiatives to include diversification and additional entrepreneurial programmes, such as Kitchen gardens, water harvesting and chicken farming."
As a leading manufacturer in Kenya and East Africa, BAT has over the years consciously challenged various stereotypes and antiquated beliefs to champion and support gender equity. Click here for more information on this.