Empowering Women Leaders: A Transformative Training for Elected Women MCAs

In a groundbreaking initiative aimed at bolstering the capacities of elected women leaders, a comprehensive training session was held from June 14th-16th, 2024. This event marked a significant milestone in the journey towards effective governance and impactful leadership, bringing together women Members of County Assemblies (MCAs) and providing them with invaluable insights and skills essential for their roles.

The event commenced with an inspiring talk from Honorable Sasha Wamae from Nyandarua, who introduced the participants to the “3Ps”: Presence, Publicity, and Positioning. She emphasized the importance of being visible and active in their roles, ensuring they are well-known in their communities and effectively positioning themselves to influence policy and drive development. She stated, “As we move towards 2027, observing the 3Ps—Publicity, Positioning, and Presence—is crucial. This caucus within KYMCA (Kenya Young Members of County Assemblies) will see many women leaders emerging to clinch positions like Women Representative and Governor. Nominated women should focus on their nominations to get elected, while elected leaders should work on their development plans.”

The training delved deep into policy strategies. A key session on policy dialogues was conducted by policy analyst Joylisa Njagi, who underscored the significance of involving stakeholders in policy analysis and formulation to ensure sustainable and effective solutions. Her insights on creating inclusive and participatory policy processes resonated deeply with the attendees, highlighting the need for collaboration and comprehensive analysis in policymaking. Njagi emphasized, “Involving all stakeholders in policy analysis and formulation gives lasting solutions,” She elaborated on how inclusive policymaking can address diverse needs and create more robust, effective policies that stand the test of time. Some participants shared their views on legislative laws and bills, stating, “Bills involving equality and equity in both women and men,” and another added, “These are laws that reduce gender bias and enhance gender equity.”

Ms. Chepkoech Towett led an engaging session on media and personal branding, where she stressed the importance of content clarity in all engagements. She advised the MCAs to maintain positive body language and avoid phrases like “let me add on” or “in addition.” They were encouraged to present their unique perspectives confidently, emphasizing the importance of content clarity to prevent misunderstandings in political settings. One participant noted, “It is important to have content clarity when speaking in any space.” Another emphasized the value of preparation, stating, “Always have a brief written speech, maintain eye contact, utilize both traditional and modern media, and incorporate storytelling for effective communication”

The interactive nature of the training was maintained throughout, with Milicent Mugguna serving as the moderator. Her efforts ensured that all participants felt comfortable and engaged. A highlight of the event was the “secret sister” activity initiated on the first day, where participants chose a secret sister and revealed themselves at the end of the meeting. This activity fostered a sense of camaraderie and helped the MCAs get to know each other better.

In an unexpected turn of events, members of parliament, including Hon. Kuria Kimani, Hon. Umulkheir Kassim, Women Rep. Mandera, Hon. Sunkuya George, and Hon. Macele Mohamed, made a surprise appearance. They offered words of encouragement and support to the MCAs, adding a motivational boost and a touch of excitement. Hon. Kuria Kimani emphasized the importance of good leaders, stating, “Kenyans do not want young leaders; they want good leaders.” Hon. Umulkheir Kassim, reflecting on her unique position as the only woman in the finance committee, stated, “Women should join these spaces that are considered for only males and make a difference.”

The program concluded with encouraging words from representatives and organizers of the training. Michael Ongus from International IDEA emphasized, “The importance of closing the gap and promoting intergenerational mentorship. Older women are leading in their spaces, but some of the young leaders are struggling to get opportunities.” Carole Gatoto from FEMNET highlighted, “The world needs strong and capable women leaders now more than ever. You are breaking barriers, shaping industries, and inspiring future generations.” Chris Said from KYMCA noted the organization’s commitment, stating, “We are intentional in ensuring that young women have access to platforms that will help them connect with their constituents.”

This training was a resounding success, providing the elected women leaders with essential skills and knowledge to navigate their roles effectively. It set a new precedent for capacity-building initiatives, highlighting the power of well-structured programs in transforming leadership. As they return to their respective fields, they carry with them the knowledge and confidence to lead and inspire others.

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