KAM kicks off county focused drive for women in manufacturing

Friday, 26th April 2024, Nakuru. Women manufacturers have today called for more opportunities in the value chains. This was during the launch of Kenya Association of Manufacturers’ (KAM’s) county-focused drive to increase the participation of women in industry, through its Women in Manufacturing (WIM) Programme.

The WIM South Rift Forum, held in Nakuru, marks the beginning of a nationwide series of events, geared towards enhancing the participation and inclusivity of women in manufacturing sector.

Speaking at the forum, Nakuru County Deputy Governor, Hon David Kones acknowledged the critical role that women play in the economy, noting “Many outstanding women leaders are making strides in building and promoting the manufacturing industry and are demonstrating what modern manufacturing offers – rewarding and fulfilling careers with limitless opportunities for growth. Empowering women in manufacturing is not just about levelling the playing field, it is about embracing the wealth of talent and potential that women bring to the table.

The Deputy Governor further elaborated that Nakuru County has immense opportunities for manufacturing and value addition that women can take up. “We have taken deliberate decision to encourage the participation of women in manufacturing sector as part of our drive to industrialize for a stable and sustainable economic future of the country. Nakuru County offers opportunities for value addition in cotton, pyrethrum, dairy and honey among other agricultural products,” expounded Hon Kones.

KAM South Rift Region Chair and WIM Steering Committee Member, Ms Peris Mbuthia, explained why it is critical to have women actively participate in the manufacturing sector.As KAM, we aim to create sustainable backward linkages in the country to supplement shortages that may arise out of global logistics network. This is also linked to some of the economic learnings from COVID-19 pandemic, and specifically on the need to prioritize being a self-sufficient nation. Herein lies opportunities for women in value chain integration,” added Ms Mbuthia.

The county editions have been supported by the Gesellschaft fuer Internationale Zusammenarbeit’s (GIZ’s) programme, Agency for Business and Economic Development, which is commissioned by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.

The Kenya Chapter Programme Advisor, Ms Edda Otieno noted that it is imperative to recognize the pivotal role that women play in driving innovation, productivity, and sustainability in manufacturing. “Despite their significant contributions, women continue to face formidable barriers that hinder their full participation and advancement within the industry. Today, we come together to address these challenges head-on and chart a path towards a more inclusive and equitable future. By amplifying the voices of women, breaking down systemic barriers, and creating supportive environments, we can unlock the immense potential of female talent and propel the manufacturing sector to new heights of success,” she explained.

KAM envisions a manufacturing sector where women have equal opportunities for employment, leadership, and entrepreneurship, and where their contributions are recognized and valued. This is why the Association launched the Women in Manufacturing Programme in 2017, to enhance market access for women industrialists in Kenya, provide an enabling environment for them and improve their competitiveness locally, regionally, and globally.

The next county edition shall take place in Kisumu County.

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