Rachel Ruto: How I will transform Kenya through faith diplomacy, women empowerment and climate action
Speaking during the 27th Ordinary General Assembly of the Organization of African First Ladies for Development (OAFLAD) on Sunday, Mama Rachel stated that under her stewardship, she will be working to bring transformation to the nation through empowering women economically, combating climate change and faith diplomacy.
She further disclosed that through women's economic empowerment, her first pillar, she will be seeking to help Kenyan women build their livelihoods and businesses and be included in the economic transformation.
This she said will be realized through her flagship programme Joyful Women Organisation, which offers table banking for women across the nation. So far the organisation has 150,000 members and revolves around Ksh.2.5 Billion ($20 million) every month.
"First pillar is the women economic empowerment and in that, we have included financial health and financial inclusion. Our aim is to empower women and ensure they are financially included," she said.
She added: "We have had the opportunity to work with women in our nation to financially include them. It also included credit and MSMEs, capacity building and livelihoods, trade and market access."
"Under the women empowerment through the table banking, members save and borrow directly for their savings for short and long-term loans."
The First Lady went on to add that her second pillar, environment and climate action, will be seeking to address the challenges faced in the green and blue economy as well as the health and wellness of communities.
Attributing to the perennial drought experienced in the nation, Mama Rachel stated that she will combat the menace by planting 500 million trees by 2032 all undertaken by women.
This she said is in harmony with President William Ruto's plan to plant 15 billion trees by 2032.
"Africa is experiencing the worst drought in 40 years and it has affected productivity resulting to food insecurity. Over 80% of women are in agriculture and make up to 75% of the agriculture labour force," she noted.
"Our main initiative is participating in the national tree-growing campaign to plant and grow 15 billion trees by 2032 and the office of the first lady has planned to planned 500 million trees by 2032. We are working with women to grow indigenous and fruit trees."
In what she termed as Faith Diplomacy, her third pillar, the first lady said that she seeks to address the family and national values in communities across the nation.
She intimated that she will be working with Faith-based organisations to streamline family and community-based values which gravely affect children across the nation.
"Women and children bear the brunt of war and unstable conditions. GBV and other social hills contribute to unstable families. Despite government's free education programme some children in urban settlements are not in school due to family responsibilities," she noted.
"We are partnering with faith-based organisations to incorporate family value-based teachings, keeping children in schools through Mama feeding programme (Mama Doing Good) which feeds children in informal settlements, using Faith as a tool for promoting cohesion, peace and development."
First Lady Rachel Ruto had previously, on her social media platforms, emphasized the importance of incorporating church leaders and elders in positively impacting communities through Faith diplomacy.
"Faith diplomacy is a powerful tool for a cohesive nation. Opinion leaders like pastors, church elders and church leadership if well equipped, can have significant positive impact as peace agents," she wrote on Twitter.
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