Inside Raila’s Azimio La Akina Mama Plan
What you need to know:
- The Azimio La Umoja-One Kenya Coalition manifesto will also focus on the true multipliers of wealth in Kenya; the women.
- Programme plans to unlock access to financing for women-led businesses.
- Azimio has also undertaken to facilitate local manufacture of sanitary towels for schoolgirls.
The Azimio La Umoja-One Kenya Coalition on Monday unveiled a manifesto as it readies itself for the August 9, election.
The manifesto, launched at Nyayo Stadium Nairobi, contains a 10-point plan of things the coalition seeks to implement if elected into office. One of the plans is the Azimio La Akina Mama, which commits to enhance gender equality.
Under this agenda, Azimio indicates it will focus on the true multipliers of wealth in the Kenyan community; the women.
The programme plans to unlock access to financing for women-led businesses, and provide support for women on other enabling factors such as access to assets for production, land tenure and proportional representation at all levels of government.
To achieve this, the coalition has come up with 13 commitments.
They include increasing demand for affordable and accessible credit and procurement facilities for women and girls, addressing the plight of widows, and assisting single mothers through financial literacy programs, reduction in the cost of healthcare and education.
Affirmative Action Fund
Easing access to government guaranteed funds and affordable credit to women also features in the commitments. Some of the government guaranteed funds include Women Enterprise Fund, Uwezo Fund and National Government Affirmative Action Fund (NGAAF).
The coalition has also committed to enhance the capacity of young women in entrepreneurship, credit management, digital skills, mentorship, marketing and record keeping.
Azimio has also undertaken to facilitate local manufacture of sanitary towels for schoolgirls that will see every public school provided with sanitary towels.
It has also promised to enforce the two-thirds gender rule in elective and appointive bodies as provided for in the constitution.
The alliance has also promised to institute programs such as science, technology, engineering and math (Stem) girls’ clubs to encourage participation of girls and young women in science and technology.
Women in science
The Azimio government will also increase the uptake of technical and vocational education and training authority (TVET) by young women in informal settlement and rural areas.
In 2020, the Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Service (KUCCPS), raised the red flag over failure by girls to pick science courses like medicine, engineering, pharmacy and architecture in the university.
The report indicated that between 2014 and 2019, male students taking engineering courses ranged between 76 and 82 per cent. This is compared to the admission of girls in the same courses, which partly rose from 18 to 24 per cent in the same period.
The Raila Odinga-led coalition has also pledged to establish incubation centres for businesses targeting women in rural areas and enhance security and street lighting around the country to provide a safe environment and strive to end FGM and gender-based violence (GBV).
Victims and survivors of GBV have something to look up to in the Azimio government, should they win, as they will come up with integrated one-stop SGBV response centres in all healthcare facilities.
The centres will offer medical, legal, psychosocial and security services to encourage women to feel safe in reporting crime and violence against children.
Last year, the government launched Policare, a one-stop centre offering integrated services to victims and offenders SGBV.
It will host victims' interview rooms for women and children, crime records room, a triage, forensic evidence storage room, trauma centres, a room for medical examination and P3 issuance and male and female holding cells.
Policare, which is being implemented by the National Police Service (NPS), will come complete with a 24-hour toll-free service for SGBV victims.
Through BabaCare, Azimio seeks to address matters of health to ensure access to quality healthcare services by all Kenyans as per need and, provided by motivated health professionals.
Women in the country are also set to benefit under the Azimio’s Maji Kwa Kila Boma programme that is aimed to radically reverse the shortages and high cost of water, and ensure access by all, particularly for the poor.
Data by Unicef shows only 58 per cent of Kenyans have access to basic drinking water. The burden of looking for water is usually bestowed on women and girls who are at times forced to walk for long distances to look for the precious commodities.
Speaking during the launch of the manifesto, Azimio La Umoja-One Kenya Coalition presidential candidate Raila Odinga said the ‘Azimio la Kina Mama’ will focus on the multipliers of wealth in the country, who are women, arguing that the programme will unlock access to financing for women-led businesses.
“Women constitute more than half of the country’s population, their potential contribution to the economy is therefore enormous. Gender equality and empowerment have received increased attention in recent years. However, despite a progressive constitution that promotes gender equality and women’s empowerment, gender equality remains elusive,” said Mr Odinga.
Nyeri Deputy Governor Dr Caroline Karugu who also spoke at the launch said this is the first time in Kenya’s history that women's agenda is genuinely being put on the table.
“We now know this for a fact because a few days ago, Mr Odinga nominated Martha Karua as her running mate, the first woman in the history of Kenya to occupy such a position,” said Dr Karugu.
She paid tribute to the women of this country who she noted have been part of the struggle from pre-independence.
The deputy governor rallied women to support the Azimio La Umoja in the forthcoming elections saying the coalition will ensure the interests of women are well taken care of.
“The issues of women in the grassroots will be at the centre of the Azimio government. The government will ensure women and girls have access to healthcare, clean water and education since denying them such is discriminating against them,” she added.
Martha Karua, the Azimio La Umoja presidential candidate running mate said she is elated with the manifesto, which she noted contains a solid empowerment plan for women.
“When women work and do business, the economy is more productive and diverse. Azimio will achieve this by ensuring women are equal players in the markets, have access to decent work and productive resources, and participate in decision making," said Ms Karua.