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Friday, 12 December 2014

Woman artisan championing women leadership

By Jane Winnie and Joseph Muriithi
Margaret Wanjiku Mwangi remains a remarkable woman known as Wa Matangi in   Ol-Moran Ward in Laikipia County. Due to her passion in community Development, she has initiated many women groups in her area and outside. For example in 1985, Public Health Technicians (PHTs) visited one of her group Urumwe Usafi Self help group, and requested to work with them.
The group had a positive response and through trainings, they were provided with skills, attitude and knowledge of constructing FERRO CEMENT TANKS as part of the water and sanitation initiative in the county. At almost sixty years Margaret is a qualified artisan and this is despite the gender perception of the trade which is dominated by men. This has encouraged many grassroots women in her community to take up the initiative of building tanks.
Margaret addressing participants during a GROOTS Kenya meeting
 This opportunity also created a platform for her to train other grassroots women groups in counties like Makueni, Nyandarua, Kisumu, and Kiambu. She also got the privilege of demonstrating Ferro Cement Tank initiative at the Kenya National Museum. She has continued to empower grassroots women across the Kenyan border in countries like Uganda, Tanzania and Zambia among others.
In 2004, she joined a program on Poverty Eradication Education (PEE) which was targeting grassroots women. The program focused on educating these women on leadership and poverty eradication through agriculture. This exercise has helped develop her expertise in agricultural training. In 2010, she was invited to Kawa Falls, Nyahururu, by a fellow grassroots women leader to attend a women empowerment workshop. This connected her to her life dream of being a champion for transformative leadership.
In this workshop, Margaret interacted with other women from Laikipia East and Jael Amati from Groots Kenya who requested her to be the coordinator for Laikipia West constituency.
She devotedly sacrificed herself to create awareness through public forums, chief’s Barazas and individual campaigns to gain more champions in support of women in leadership. Through her effort and other champions, they identified Virginia Wambui who vied for Laikipia county women representative and though she did not succeed, Wambui was appointed the minister for land and physical planning in Laikipia county Government.
Margaret’s husband is now a champion and together with their children give her support through moral, finance and time to serve the community which makes her remain a remarkable champion.

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