Japan and the World Bank have teamed up in a sh252 million programme to help vulnerable women farmers improve their livelihoods.
About 3,400 women farmers in Kitui and Molo districts will benefit from the Japanese grant, the World Bank administers.
World Bank senior operations officer for Kenya, Rajashree Paralkar said the women would improve farm production capacity, strengthen collective organization and develop skills to penetrate markets for their produce.
“Empowering women by enhancing their economic opportunities and giving them stronger voice, accountability, and decision making responsibilities will play a significant role in bringing about social and economic development in Kenya,” said Paralkar.
The japan social development fund grant programme launched in Elburgon, Rift Valley, will support women projects in dairy and horticulture in Molo and indigenous poultry farming and horticulture in Kitui.
The programme is being implemented by Groots Kenya, a network of women-led community based organizations and self-help groups working in eight counties. The bank explained that it addresses the constraints that rural women face in accessing markets and trade, and has been informed by extensive participatory dialogue in the target communities in the past two years.
The task team leader of the programme, Asa Torkelsson, said this initiative demonstrates the bank’s commitment to integrating gender in its operations to promote women’s economic and social status.
“it will help the beneficiaries strengthen their business skills and participate more effectively in the agricultural markets value chain,” added Torkelsson.
The bank said the two areas were selected due to high concentration of poverty and vulnerability. Kitui has an estimated poverty level of 63.7 per cent, well above the national average.
BY JOHN OYUKE
AUGUST 12, 2012 STANDARD ON SUNDAY