, NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 11 – The Joyful Women Organisation (JOYWO) which has mobilised over 150,000 women to participate in economic activities in excess of Sh1.1 billion under the table banking concept is commemorating its fifth anniversary next month.
Deputy President William Ruto’s wife, Rachel, who is the patron of JOYWO, says the organisation has been able to contribute to the improvement of household incomes in over 200,000 households across Kenya.
“Under the theme ‘Joyful Women Transforming Lives’ this year’s thanksgiving will bring together over 6,000 women from across the 47 counties with the aim of profiling the economic contribution of table banking among Kenyan women,” Mrs Ruto said at a meeting with News Editors on Thursday.
She said the media including social media platforms have continued to grow and become more sophisticated and influential saying such forums were well placed to educate women on development matters.
She said it was good that the media has taken a leading role in highlighting issues pertaining to the table banking concept, where members save and borrow loans from their savings noting that the programme was now popular among rural women thanks to the work of the media in dissemination of information.
“I must thank you for highlighting issues of table banking in this country and I am sure without your support we would not have gone the far we have on matters of women empowerment,” she said.
The editors who were shown some video clips of some of the success stories of Joyful Women Organisation (JOYWO) members embracing table banking saying women empowerment remains the key to the development of the country.
Mrs Ruto said JOYWO and partners will continue to educate women across the country on empowerment opportunities so that they can improve their economic status.
“Women who have formed groups and embraced table banking no longer wait for handouts from their husbands because they have money from the projects they have initiated,” she said.
She said although the organisation was largely for women, membership was not restricted to them adding that some men, too, register albeit with limited privileges.
She said that men should not be more than a third of the total membership of a given group and that are also not allowed to hold any official positions in the group leadership.
She noted that it is through the formation of women groups that represent the interest for women in both rural and town areas and assist them make proposals and draw business plans that they can benefit from emerging financial institutions.
She said the organisation has covered over 33 counties so far, saying efforts were being made to ensure all counties benefit from table banking concept by March next year.
Mrs Ruto said it was impressing that in all the areas they have launched table banking, there were no cases of money defaulters noting that confidentiality among women was key to in curbing defaulters.
Mrs Ruto said they were working together with Women MPs to ensure women in rural areas benefitted from the programme.
“Women MPs well understand the problems facing women and are well placed to educate them on the importance of embracing table banking to initiate development projects to improve their living standards,” said Mrs Ruto.