On the 14th of September 2019, Taita Taveta Professional Women Association held their first women empowerment forum in Voi at the Dan Mwazo hall. The event was graced by the women representative Hon. Lydia Haika and the MP of Taveta Hon. Dr. Naomi Shaban who also doubles as the patron of the association. Entrepreneurs were also welcome to the event to show case and sell their merchandise to the attendees. The MC of the day Jackline Mnjala thanked everyone for showing up to this event and called one of the ladies to start it off with a word of prayer.
Mchikirwa Ndelejai, the acting chair-lady of the association was the first to take the stand. She started off by thanking everyone present and went straight to informing everyone when the organization saw its birth. She went ahead to brief us on some of the projects the organization has participated on like creating the awareness on breast cancer, holding financial literacy training, mentor-ship programs, the awarding of county women and girls who have done tremendous jobs, as well as supporting some students through school.
It being an empowerment forum for women, there were a number of key speakers present. The first speaker was Regina Kariuki, a counselling psychologist from Voi Wellness Center who touched on the topic of depression and anxiety and how many people have lost their lives due to depression. She went ahead to talk about the different types of depression i.e. baby blues (after a woman gives birth), bipolar and psychosis. Additionally, she talked on the symptoms of depression and went ahead to urge people to be quite keen not only on themselves but with their kids and friends as well. “Be a friend,” was what she urged us all to be to one another. The other speaker from Voi Wellness Center talked on the balance of family life, careers and social interaction and know which should always be prioritized.
Juliet Shali Shambi from SAP touched on women daring to lead and taking seats amongst men. She also gave some tips on pursuing what you might be afraid of and urged women to take care of their image and build their brands because it is what people talk about when you are not around. She put much emphasize on passing on the mike to the younger generations to keep on the chain of empowerment strong.
Emily Mcharo from Tsavo Investments, a real estate company, talked about passive sources of income. She went ahead and talked about the little knowledge women have on finances and urged everyone present to learn about finances and ensure they have another source of income other than their normal jobs.
Laban Mwashighadi, the county manager from the senator’s office and a representative from the Johnnes Mwarume Foundation and the CCO youth Reverend Silvanus spoke on how important it is to empower a woman since a woman is the only being that is capable of taking care of an entire community. They all reminded us that women are the backbones of the society and that we should always support each other where we can. Mrs. Mwakio challenged us all to think of better ways women can grow. She reminded us that women are powerful beings and whenever they come together it is a sure bet that great things must happen.
Hon Naomi Shaban took the stand and narrated to us how far she has come as a woman and how her growth is attributed to a fellow woman. She went ahead to urge us all not to be scared of investing and saving and insisted on how important it is to teach our children to adopt the culture of good saving.
Hon Lydia Haika the main guest of the event started off by thanking all the women for attending the forum. She congratulated TTPWA for organizing this event for the Taita women and went on to congratulate them for not allowing politics or politicians corrupt them. She added that letting politics in the association will do it more harm than good. She stated the challenges facing women is the lack of enough resources to grow and it ends up forcing them to seek help from sponsors. Additionally, the women representative talked on coming up with agendas aimed at empowering women as well as plan harambees to raise funds which will be used to help people in need. Lastly, she urged us all to mentor and help each other where we can.
Jackline Mnjala finished off the event by thanking everyone once again for showing up, thanked the sponsors of the organization, Equity bank, KCB bank, Forever Living, Aga Khan Hospital, Johnnes Mwarume Foundation, Tsavo Investment, ICEA Lion, County Government of Taita Taveta and World Heroes Foundation for their support in organizing the event. The event ended with a word of prayer after which attendees had lunch as they explored the merchnadice brought by entrepreneurs. Guests were then allowed to leave at their own leisure.
-Photo credits: Maureen Kirigha
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