Mama Graca Machel inspires Kenya

Kenya-NFNV-team-400x266The month of March 2015 brought with it inspiration, a message of hope and encouragement for Kenya thanks to the gracious visit by New Faces New Voices Founder and Patron Mama Graça Machel.

The visit started with a high note on Monday, March 2rd when Mama Graça Machel graced the women’s movement meeting held at the Louis Leakey Auditorium. Held under the theme ‘Beyond the Barriers – Kenyan Women Unbowed’, the meeting brought together over 200 women of diverse backgrounds from across the country. They explored the gains that have been made by the women’s movement and the challenges that are yet to be overcome. This also marked the launch of a “Billion Reasons’ campaign spearheaded by the Center for Rights Education and Awareness (CREAW).

Mama Graça urged the women in Kenya to be more organised and have a common objective and strategy that will oblige the government and judiciary to change the structural barriers blocking them from realizing gender equality in the country.

“Privilege comes with responsibility. We have women professionals in all sectors; the issue is that we are so fragmented in the way we work. We need to sit together and find out the priorities and issues. Everything is important, but not everything is a priority. Kenyan women have a responsibility to build a strong Kenyan movement,” said Mama Graça amidst cheers.

Later that day, Mama Graça and the NFNV team paid a courtesy call to Hon. Anne Waiguru, the Cabinet Secretary in charge of Devolution and Planning – one of the leading women in government.

On Tuesday, March 3rd it was Mama Graça Machel’s day with leaders in the corporate circles. She was hosted by Barclays Bank of Kenya and the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) at a breakfast meeting attended by more than 100 chairmen, board members and CEOs of NSE listed companies. This was the climax of the NSE Leadership and Diversity Dialogue series that was initiated by NFNV – Kenya Chapter to encourage the corporate leaders to embrace board diversity.

The breakfast marked a major step in the right direction when the NSE listed companies adopted a charter to embrace age, professional and gender diversity in their boards. The occasion also saw Mama Graça Machel present awards to five top companies that led the way in board diversity in 2014. They included Trancentury Limited, BAT, Barclays Bank, TPS Serena, Liberty Holdings and Homes Afrika. This also marked the 1st edition of the NFNV Diversity Awards.

On Wednesday, March 4th, Mama Graca Machel graced a ‘Women in Agribusiness’ forum at Strathmore University. Held under the theme ‘New Faces of Agriculture’ and sponsored by CFC Stanbic Bank, the forum brought together women’s groups, women farmers, financiers and other stakeholders in the agribusiness sector.

On Thursday, March 5th it was all about the youth who are the future of the continent. Mama Graça lent an ear about the concerns of youth and later spoke candidly inspiring more than 500 young people to take the mantle and steer the Africa to prosperity shedding the title ‘the dark continent’. She encouraged education, innovation and entrepreneurship as the tools they needed. This meeting was held at the Riara University under the theme ‘Investing in the Youth – Creating a Brighter Future’.