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Monday, 29 February 2016

Empowering women through social protection

By Bob Aston
The Agricultural Sector Development Support Programme (ASDSP) on February 24-25, 2016 at Nyaki Hotel in Nyahururu, Laikipia West Sub County held a Social protection linkage forum between financial service providers and 60 women groups drawn from maize, dairy, sheep, and goat value chains.
Among the financial institutions present included Women Enterprise Fund, Uwezo Fund, Equity Bank, Laikipia County Enterprise Fund, and Faulu Bank.
Speaking while opening the forum, Hon. Anne Chumo, Laikipia CEC Trade, Tourism and Enterprise Development thanked the financial institutions and ASDSP for organizing the forum.
Hon. Anne Chumo addressing the women drawn from various farmer groups
She noted that the forum would come up with various interventions that would overcome the challenges faced by women farmers. She called on financial institutions to come up with services that are easily accessible to women.
“As women we should stop fearing applying for loans. We can only prosper when we seek for financial services without fear of defaulting,” said Hon. Chumo.
She urged women to avoid procrastinating but instead seek for timely interventions when faced with challenges. She said that the County government is working towards empowering women by ensuring that they benefit through the County Enterprise Fund.
Mr. Nyapola Atenya, ASDSP-Laikipia Environmental Resilience and Social Inclusion officer noted that social protection aims at ensuring that all communities live in dignity and are able to use their capabilities for their own social and economic development.
He noted that social protection services reduce risks and vulnerability and can improve productivity. He said that few women are involved in decision making in the three prioritized ASDSP value chains.
The workshop looked at financial products accessible to women and major investment opportunities along the maize, dairy, sheep, and goat value chains.
“Helping women to invest in production, processing, mechanization, input supplies, research, and extension can ensure that women play an active role in the three value chains,” said Mr. Nyapola.

The women noted that inadequate knowledge, lack of access to information, inadequate capital, lack of access to market, fear of defaulting, low confidence, and lack of surety are major constraints affecting them in the County.
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