Why must we empower women?

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women empowerment jitokeze wamama wafrika imaan jemimah

women empowerment
jitokeze wamama wafrika

“All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights” – Hillary Clinton

Women are much more than fashion, children and love lives. They are forces of nature, pillars of communities and they hold the key to a prosperous future in their hands.

Women in west Pokot bear the brunt of poverty; they are denied the right to own land and being a farming economy, they are left struggling for food and upkeep.

Women are compassionate and more interested in the health and wellbeing of communities than in war for territory. No woman would start a genocide. Desmond Tutu once said that the way to end wars is to let women take over because they are more inclined towards compassion than violence. They are life giving and life affirming which makes them natural peace keepers. Statistics have shown that the more women are elected in government office the more democratic the county gets. For instance, Rwanda is one of the most fastest growing economies in Africa and the African country with the largest share of women in government.

It’s important to empower women because women are more social compared to men and they naturally work together as opposed to working against each other. This means that economic ideas, opportunities and knowledge are easily shared within the community when a woman is empowered with said skill.

Empowering women through income security is one step towards global transformation. When women are empowered economically, more money goes to their children, their wellbeing and communities. Empowering them is a self-sustaining cycle, by helping women stand in their own right we are including them in the economic scene and ultimately creating a stable economic structure.

Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for your continued support of the Jitokeze Wamama Wafrika organization because you are in one way changing individual lives and the rural society as a whole.

Nancy’s Success Story with the Jitokeze Wamama Wafrika Food Security Program

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Nancy, a middle aged Pokot woman narrates her story in a small, dimly lit hut in a rural Pokot village. The lines on her face tell a story of frustration, despair and above all else – determination. Robbed off her innocence at the tender age of 14, she was betrothed to a 40 year old polygamous man with 3 other wives. Being the youngest of them, she was subjected to suffering and hardship but still managed to put the future of her children above all else. She was initiated into marriage with what can be described in the modern society as child molestation.

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“I was sent to my hut without food on the day I arrived at the homestead and then that night he came into my room, had his way with me and when I cried he hit me”

She narrates.

You can see her eyes slowly drifting into her cold dark past. She immediately became pregnant and soon realized that she was on her own.

“My husband never brought food, rarely visited and when he did, it was for sexual intercourse and senseless beatings”

Against the difficulty she endured, she raised three children all before the age of 20. Frustrated she tried running back to her parent’s home but her brothers would hear none of it, they could not stomach the thought of returning the dowry that was paid to them and the shame that their family would endure. For these reasons, accused of being a bad wife, beaten and sent back. On returning to her matrimonial home, she was given another beating by her husband while her children watched helplessly and punished when they tried to intervene.

Relief came when her husband died of malaria and then it was every wife for herself and her children. Having sold most of his land to finance his alcoholic habits, there was nothing left to inherit. Since Nancy had nothing tying her to her matrimonial home, she made her way to another village with her children looking for a fresh start. In this new village she started working as a casual laborer and enrolled her children in a public school.

“My biggest challenge is buying them school uniforms and paying the sh. 800 ($10) they need for break time porridge every term”

She says.

Nancy is one of the women in the Jitokeze food security program. She was a beneficiary of week old chicks that were given to her group members under the indigenous Poultry value chain project. She reared her two chicks zealously and now has a total of 46 chicken. She sells some of these chicken whenever she needs school fees or books for her children.

“These chicken have been a blessing for me and without Jitokeze Wamama Wafrika, I may have not been able to provide these necessities for my children”

She asserts.

She admits that her life has taken a better direction since she joined the Jitokeze Wamama Wafrika group and it is even better compared to her days married to her deceased husband.

Nancy is one in thousands (If not millions) of women in the rural African society carrying the weight of the rural economy on their shoulders. Ask any rural African which parent was responsible for putting food on the table, clothes on their backs and constantly badgering them to go to school- chances are that it’s the mother.

In a society where men have resigned to drinking themselves out of consciousness, women have taken up the role of both the father and mother in the family. Helping women like Nancy by providing economic resources, skills or knowledge is ultimately building an entire economic system in the rural African society.

Three cheers to Jitokeze Wamama Wafrika!