As we celebrate mother’s day 2018, we highlight the role of women in leadership through Merceline Anyango Okech, a young woman aged 24 who is one of the beneficiaries of the DREAMS CORE project. The woman, a resident of Gem constituency in Siaya County (Kenya) narrates that her father died when she was in class 4 and left behind 5 children (3 girls & 2 boys). She narrates that her mother struggled raising them and managed to educate her to form four as the first-born.
Upon being enrolled to the DREAMS CORE project, Merceline joined a safe space and was elected the Chairperson of Achievers club youth group. She mobilized the group members to start an income generating activity to improve their livelihood. During sensitization on our ‘Nitunze’ Project, the program officer visited the safe space group to sensitize members on the DREAMS IC interventions. Members shared their expectations and agreed on specific issues and interventions to address and complement the overall objectives of DREAMS in a sustainable manner in collaboration with government agencies at both County and National level.
The program has had a great impact on adolescent girls and young women. Under Merceline’s leadership, the group started table banking and making liquid soap to generate income. Following Merceline’s good leadership, her group members have made remarkable gains by selling their products collectively and sharing the profits. Upon realizing the benefits of the program on group members, many girls who dropped out of school are now joining the group and participating actively. Husbands to the young women have become very supportive as they encourage the women to participate in the project.
Merceline is a clear illustration of the power of women in enhancing development. She clearly confirms that women have the capacity to positively influence their own economic empowerment initiatives. If empowered and allowed to play leading roles, women can give vital contributions to the efforts aimed at realizing the Sustainable Development Goals.
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