For #InternationalWomansDay this year, we are celebrating the women who are critical to our work at Loisaba. Damaris, Leah, Rita, Doreen and Antonellah tell us about some of the issues women still face in Kenyan communities…

Damaris Jeruto, Operations

 Tell us a little bit about yourself:

“I am from Elgeyo Marakwet County. I have a bachelor’s degree in environmental science and a passion for conservation. I am a woman of substance, a go getter and am proud of the woman I am today because I went through hell to become her.”

Do you feel like women have disadvantages in Kenya?

“Yes. There are family and community obligations – women have no voice especially in the public forum and no authority within their homestead. Their main role is to do the house work and take care of the children. In the case of career women, I believe that whatever a man can do, a woman can do it better, but they are not given key positions in the workplace.”

What are the problems that women face in your community? Have you had to overcome any of them?

“One of the problems women face is lack of sanitary products. It kills a women’s confidence and lowers their self-esteem every month. Girls also end up not going to school during this time. Lack of products forces women and girls to use other alternatives which are not as hygienic, leaving them susceptible to disease.

 “Another problem is single parenting due to early pregnancies before marriage. I have had to overcome this through working hard to balance motherhood with completing my studies. I love working at Loisaba Conservancy as it has assisted me in so many ways. There is nothing stronger than a broken women who has rebuilt herself.”

What can women achieve if given the chance?

“Women are the real architects of the society and they can build nations and make a huge difference if given the chance.”

What message would you like to send other women?

Let us dream big and stay focused!”

 

Leah Mutiso, Procurement

Tell us a little about yourself.

My name is Leah Mumbi Mutiso. I was born in the Eastern part of Kenya but later settled in the central region. I started working at Loisaba in 2016 as assistant clerk, and also helped in operations and accounts. I later moved to the procurement department where I currently work as the procurement officer.

How did you start to work at Loisaba?

“I decided to work at Loisaba because I like working in cool areas with no pollution, and I’m passionate about conservation – I love animals.”

Do you feel women have disadvantages in Kenya?

“In Kenya, most men feel that their wives should remain at home and take care of domestic chores. They feel threatened if women want to further their education as they don’t want to feel inferior and looked down upon. In government, most of the top positions are occupied by men and when women come up with ideas, no one supports them.”

What are the problems that women face in your community?

“Women are facing many challenges, such as Female Genital Mutilation which is carried out between 8 and 12 years old and can lead to many health complications. Lack of education is another issue. Most people support educating boys rather than girls, as they believe girls bring wealth through marriage rather than jobs. This also causes a high rate of child labour in girls e.g. fetching firewood and water from long distances and helping their mothers take care of their younger siblings.”

 What message would you like to send other women?

“Education is the key to success, you are capable and you can do whatever a man can do (but better!)!”

 

Rita Orahle, Security & Conservation

Tell us a little bit about yourself:

“My name is Rita Orahle from Maralal, Samburu County. I currently work at Loisaba Conservancy as an Assistant Security Administrator and I am passionate about conservation.”

Do you feel like women have disadvantages in Kenya?

“Today, we have women educated and holding leadership positions that were previously held by men. Women are being empowered and this has brought a change in the view of women in society. However, I feel that women and girls still face challenges such as gender-based violence, harmful cultural practices such as FGM, early marriages and not being fully represented in decision making.”

What are the problems that women face in communities? Have you had to overcome any of these?

“I come from the Rendille community, and have interacted with the Samburu culture which is similar to the Rendille’s. In my community, women face challenges such as early marriages and FGM, which hinders education. Luckily my parents valued educating their children, and have been very supportive of me. I hope that many parents from my community will embrace the importance of educating their daughters.”

 What can women achieve, if given the chance?

Women can achieve a lot. I believe that if women are empowered, the whole society is transformed as it will not only benefit individuals but the entire community.”

What message would you like to send other women?

“Women are equally important in society, and have the power to change the world!”

 

Antonellah Kaparo, Security Control Room

Tell us a little bit about yourself:

“My name is Antonellah Namunyak Kaparo from Kimanjo village in Laikipia North. I am a Maasai lady. I completed my O Level education at St Francis’ Girl’s Secondary school and now work at Loisaba Conservancy in the security command centre.

Do you feel women have disadvantages in Kenya?

“Yes, they are not given equal opportunities in the society.”

What are the problems that women face in your community? Have you had to overcome any of them?

“Many are not educated, so it is hard for them to have a job to support their families. The community is still very much pastoral, and the women are expected to look after the livestock which makes their lives harder since they are also expected to perform household duties, and take care of the family. I personally overcame this challenge by working hard to get an education and a job, in order to provide for my family and employ a herder for the livestock.”

What can women achieve if given the chance?

“Women can do great things, due to their patient spirit.”

What message would you like to send other women?

“Take courage to understand yourselves – you are important. Stand firm to support yourselves and others who have been left behind.”

 

Doreen Lekalasimi, Security

Tell us a little bit about yourself:

“My name is Doreen and I am from Oldonyiro in Isiolo county. My parents were incredibly supportive of my education and ensured I went to school. I have always been pushed to work hard for a better tomorrow. I now work at Loisaba’s security command centre. 

Do you feel like women have disadvantages in Kenya?

“Yes. In most cases, they are not given equal chances in the society and that makes them appear and feel inferior to men.”

What are the problems that women face in your community? Have you had to overcome any of these?

“Gender bias, lack of education for girls, early pregnancies and forceful marriages are all issues in the community. I myself overcame some of these issues by striving to work hard in education to achieve economic independence.”

What can women achieve if given the chance?

“A lot. More women are becoming literate and pursuing higher education which is creating an opportunity for them to work and support their families.”

What message would you like to send other women?

The world has changed. You can be anyone you want to be and do great things!”

 

Read about more members of our team in last year’s blog post here.

 

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.