Women score highest in Obama’s visit

Emily Andika, a widow, was forced out of her house by relatives after her husband's death. She is now one of the beneficiaries of the African Women Entrepreneurship Programme's training
Emily Andika, a widow, was forced out of her house by relatives after her husband's death. She is now one of the beneficiaries of the African Women Entrepreneurship Programme's training

Women scored highest during the United States of America (USA) President Barrack Obama visit to Kenya.

Obama urged the government to consider empowering women by giving them chances to compete with men since they have potential to stir growth.

According to Emily Andika, 43, women have been marginalized at all levels including family circles, business and even corporate circles.

Andika, a widow and a mother of four says that not even the Kenyan new constitution has tried to look at women’s plight.

She narrates her life as an example of a woman who has been marginalized by her family members since the time her husband died.

“Before the death of my husband I was in good terms with my in laws but immediately after his death five years ago they started fighting me,” says Andika.

Andika says that her husband’s family went to the extent of evicting her from a city council house they were living in.

“Before my husband’s death we used to reside at the city council’s house in Jericho but after his death, his brother evicted me and my children. For now the son lives in the house,” narrates Andika.

Inaction

She says that she reported the matter to the Makadara police station but police failed to act.

“I reported the case at the Makadara police station but I think he had bribed the OCS who refused to resolve the matter and referred me to court,” says Andika.

For now Andika who depends on odd jobs to eke a living says that she can’t afford to pay a lawyer to help her in that case.

“I do casual jobs plus I cook fried potatoes in the afternoon. The business is yet to stabilize but at least I am able to generate profit of Ksh200 per day,” says Andika.

Andika appreciates the support she has gotten from African Women Entrepreneurship Progamme who has trained her on how to make detergents which she has been selling to friends and neighbours.

“We were a group of women and AWEP trained us on life skills. They later gave us loans to be able to venture into income generating activities,” says Andika.

For now Andika is keen on educating her daughter who finished her form four last year.

“I am looking for how I will get some cash to take her to college,” says Andika adding that her other child is at Jericho Primary school.

Andika urges the government to look at the needs of women since most of the times women suffer greatly when they divorce or even when the husband dies.

“As a woman you cannot abandon your children no matter the problems you face. I would like to urge the government to empower women by giving them loans to start or expand their business,” she says.

Delegates

Speaking to more than 4,500 delegates who had converged at the stadium and millions of Kenyans who were following the event, aired live on Television and radio, the US President urged Kenya Government to involve more women in the nation building activities.

Obama noted that excluding women in nation building is like having a sport team which you don’t want to give an opportunity to play.

“For any country to fulfill its full potential it must include more than a half of its population and that is why you can’t ignore the critical role played by women and girls,” said Obama.

At the same time Obama condemned female genital mutilation and asked local communities to shun it.

“You don’t have excuse for sexual violence. There is no reason why young girls would suffer genital mutilation. There is no place in civilized society where girls are forced to early marriages. This old age tradition has no place in 20th century,” said Obama.

He further said that any traditions that deny women their rights by beating them and mistreating them should not be entertained.

“Any nation that fails to educate its girls or employ its women and allow them to maximize their full potential is doomed to fall behind global economy,” said Obama.

“Just because something is part of your past doesn’t make you right. It doesn’t define you,” added Obama.

The youth were also top in his agenda noting that they have potential to take this nation forward.

“Connecting young people who are full of potential will take Africa in new heights,” said Obama amidst applause from delegates.