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Gender, Community Development & Civil Society

50 MWS Project engages East African Financial institutions for more financial inclusion

East African Community Headquarters, Arusha, Tanzania, 25th November, 2018: An EAC Secretariat delegation has completed a week-long visit to financial institutions in the Republics of Kenya and Rwanda. The objective of the 19 to 23, November 2018 visit, was to engage through consultative meetings with key financial institutions on the implementation of the 50 Million African Women Speak Networking Platform (50MWS) Project.

Leading the Delegation, EAC Director for Social Sectors, Mary Makoffu, noted that the EAC Secretariat had embarked on this engagement with financial institutions at a time when the World is striving to promote financial inclusion, encouraging financial institutions and decision makers to facilitate women access finance the same way men do.

“Women are the pillars of our shaky economies and need to be supported for the interest of the whole society. It is however visible that there are still many more men with access to financial services like loans and bank accounts than women”, added Ms. Makoffu.

Wilson Muyenzi, 50MWS Project Coordinator expounded that on average, only 4.3 per cent of women entrepreneurs have access to loans in Africa. ”

While visiting the Republic of Kenya, Verity Mganga, the Deputy Director, Gender Affairs, Ministry of Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs in the Republic of Kenya, stressed on the critical role financial institutions have in the implementation of the 50MWS Project.

“I believe that cooperation between the Project and financial institutions is paramount, we must take cognizance of the ability of our financial institutions to promoting financial inclusion”, stated the Deputy Director.

During the Rwanda leg of the visit, the Director of Women Economic Empowerment, Ministry of Gender and Family Promotion, Jean Bosco Murangira, saluted the initiative of engaging Financial institutions around the implementation of the 50MWS Project.

“The 50MWS Project is coming to complement the efforts that are already being deployed by the Government of Rwanda in the fight against unemployment”, the Director remarked.

The Republic of Rwanda has embarked on a plan to create 1.5 million jobs by the year 2024, half of which target women and girls. Mr. Murangira noted however that most of the women targeted still lack skills that would enable them utilize the opportunity fully.

“I urge the implementers of the 50 MWS Project to prioritize building the capacity of women entrepreneurs therefore helping fast track the regions goals in the domain of women economic empowerment,” he added.

During the visit, Ministries involved in the implementation of the project in Kenya and Rwanda reaffirmed their commitment and called upon all stakeholders to support the innovative initiative.

Representatives of the Financial Institutions who attended the meetings highlighted that one of the biggest challenges that women entrepreneurs face besides lack of capital is the lack of confidence, right attitude and mindset to succeed in business.

They therefore recommended the Project to include capacity building sessions to supplement women entrepreneurs in their endeavors.

Most of the banks the EAC delegation engaged with said they have already embarked on the financial inclusion path by setting up products that specifically target women. The banks further expressed their comfort in working with women having noted an impressive trend in their loan repayments.

Meetings in the two countries were attended by participants from the financial services sector including commercial banks, Women banks, Government funds, micro finance institutions, cooperative banks, savings and credit cooperatives (SACCOs) as well as from the public sector mainly from Ministries of Gender, ICT and EAC Affairs.

-ENDS-

For more information please contact:
Achel Bayisenge,
Content Manager for the 50MWS Project,
EAC Secretariat,
Tel: +255 786726230
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

About the East African Community Secretariat:

The East African Community (EAC) is a regional intergovernmental organisation of five Partner States, comprising Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda, with its headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania. 

The EAC Secretariat is ISO 9001:2008 Certified

EAC launches Gender Policy

East African Community Headquarters, Arusha, 17th September, 2018:  The East African Community Secretariat has launched Gender Policy that seeks an inclusive Community which guarantees equal rights and opportunities for women and men, boys and girls.

The EAC Gender Policy, which was launched at the EAC Headquarters, in Arusha, Tanzania has been developed to provide guidance on institutionalizing gender strategies in the EAC integration process in addition to ensuring that the rights of women and men, boys and girls are promoted, protected and realised on an equal basis.

The policy further aims at strengthening the mainstreaming of gender concerns in the planning and budgetary processes of all sectors in the EAC Organs, Institutions and Partner States.

Speaking at the opening session, on behalf of the EAC Deputy Secretary General in charge of Productive and Social Sectors, Hon Christophe Bazivamo, the Director of Social Sectors at the EAC Secretariat, Ms. Mary Makoffu, said that the Gender Policy was developed out of the recognition that there still disparities among men and women in various spheres of life.

“For example, despite various accomplishments by Partner States in educating the girl child, and possessing various skills by women and girls, there was poor representation of women in the employment sector and more so in political representation,” said Director Makoffu.

Ms. Makoffu informed the participants at the launch that there was still misleading data and contradictions between targeted programme interventions and those incorporating gender perspectives across different sectors.

This lack of accountability delays progress in advancing gender equality and the empowerment of women, girls and other marginalised groups,’’ she said.Ms. Makoffu said that Gender Equality was a key principle of the EAC integration process.

She said that under Article 6 (d) of the Treaty for the Establishment of the EAC, Partner States committed to adhere to the principles of democracy, the rule of law, accountability, transparency, social justice, equal opportunities, gender equality, as well as recognition, promotion and protection of human and people’s rights.

Oh his part, Hon. Abdikadir Aden, Chairperson of the General Purpose Committee at the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) informed the participants that in a bid to contribute to the quest for Gender Equality, EALA passed the EAC Gender Equality and Equity Bill, 2017 on Women’s Day of 2017 in Kigali, Rwanda.

Hon. Aden said it was expected that the Bill, when fully assented to, would give an unprecedented boost to the observance and practice of gender equality in the region.“I am informed that the training that has been organized to provide relevant knowledge, skills and values that will allow participants to contribute effectively in the implementation of the EAC Gender policy and all efforts at mainstreaming Gender in their respective organizations and in the Partner States,” said the legislator.

He congratulate the EAC Secretariat for this great stride of launching the policy and called for all the EAC Organs and Institutions to practice, encourage and advocate for Gender Equality.

Dr. Kirsten Focken, the GIZ Programme Manager, underscored the importance of the EAC Gender Policy as an instrument saying that it would bridge the gender income inequality gap that has existed for over two decades within the EAC region.

Dr. Focken,  who was represented by  Joyce Kimaro, Senior Adviser at the GIZ called for  joint research among stakeholders on  laws and regulatory environments which facilitate or hinder gender equality and women’s economic participation, and develop specific activities or interventions to remove the barriers in the region.

Notes to Editors

In 2012, the EAC Secretariat with support from the Society for International Development (SID) and the Eastern African Sub-Regional Support Initiative for the Advancement of Women (EASSI) commenced the process of developing the Policy.  This was in compliance with the directive of the 25th Meeting of the Council of Ministers (EAC/CM25/Dir25) of August 2012 where the Council directed the Secretariat to develop policies on Gender Equality, Youth, Children, Social Protection and Community Development.

The EAC Gender Policy is anchored in Article 6 (d) of the Treaty for the Establishment of the EAC where Partner States committed to adhere to the principles of democracy, the rule of law, accountability, transparency, social justice, equal opportunities, gender equality, as well as recognition, promotion and protection of human and people’s rights in accordance with the provisions of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights of 1986.

-ENDS-

For more information, please contact:

Mr Owora Richard Othieno
Head, Corporate Communications and Public Affairs Department
EAC Secretariat
Arusha, Tanzania
Tel: +255 784 835021
Email: OOthieno [at] eachq.org

About the East African Community Secretariat:

The East African Community (EAC) is a regional intergovernmental organisation of five Partner States, comprising Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda, with its headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania. 

The EAC Secretariat is ISO 9001:2008 Certified

EAC to launch Gender Policy in Arusha

East African Community Headquarters, Arusha, 13th September, 2018: The East African Community Secretariat will launch a Gender Policy that seeks an inclusive community which guarantees equal rights and opportunities for women and men, boys and girls. The launch of the EAC Gender Policy is scheduled to take place on 17th September, 2018 at the EAC Headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania.

The EAC Gender Policy is anchored in Article 6 (d) of the Treaty for the Establishment of the EAC where Partner States committed to adhere to the principles of democracy, the rule of law, accountability, transparency, social justice, equal opportunities, gender equality, as well as recognition, promotion and protection of human and people’s rights in accordance with the provisions of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights of 1986.

The EAC Gender Policy has been developed to provide guidance on institutionalizing gender strategies in the EAC integration agenda in order to ensure that the rights of women and men, boys and girls are promoted, protected and realized on an equal basis.

The policy further aims at strengthening the mainstreaming of gender concerns in the planning and budgetary processes of all sectors in the EAC Organs, Institutions and Partner States

The launch will be followed by the regional training of trainers on the EAC Gender Policy and Gender mainstreaming to the staff in the EAC Organs, Institutions and Partner State Ministries for effective policy implementation with a lens of gender equality.

The training is based on the recommendation of the Participatory EAC Gender Audit conducted in 2013 that emphasizes the review of the current Training Strategy/Program at the Secretariat to enhance gender mainstreaming capacities for the EAC Staff.

The expected outcome of the training will be to increased knowledge, skills and level of awareness among the participants; Clear recommendations for EAC Organs, Institutions and Partner States on Gender mainstreaming adopted and implemented, and; changes in work practices within the EAC Secretariat, Organs and Institutions among other.

Notes to Editors

The development of the EAC Gender Policy was in compliance with the directive of the 25th Meeting of the Council of Ministers (EAC/CM25/Dir25) of August 2012 whereby the Council directed the Secretariat to develop policies on Gender Equality, Youth, Children, Social Protection and Community Development.

The EAC Gender Policy has been developed to provide guidance on institutionalizing gender strategies in the EAC integration agenda in order to ensure that the rights of women and men, boys and girls are promoted, protected and realized on an equal basis.

-ENDS-

For more information, please contact:

Mr Owora Richard Othieno
Head, Corporate Communications and Public Affairs Department
EAC Secretariat
Arusha, Tanzania
Tel: +255 784 835021
Email: OOthieno [at] eachq.org

About the East African Community Secretariat:

The East African Community (EAC) is a regional intergovernmental organisation of five Partner States, comprising Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda, with its headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania. 

The EAC Secretariat is ISO 9001:2008 Certified

Zanzibar advocates for the inclusion of Kiswahili in languages to be used by the 50 Million Women Speak Platform

East African Community Headquarters, Arusha, 7th September, 2018: Millions of East African women will be left behind if Kiswahili is not included in the languages to be used by the 50 Million African Women Speak Networking Platform.

This was one of the concerns raised by the different stakeholders, during consultative meetings that the EAC Secretariat conducted with various stakeholders in Zanzibar, United Republic of Tanzania. The consultative meetings were concluded on Thursday, 6th September, 2018 where a 2 day visit allowed the EAC Secretariat to meet with the different stakeholders to the 50 Million Women Speak (50 MWS) Project.

Among the stakeholders met included the Office of the Second Vice President as well as the Ministries in charge of EAC Affairs, Gender, Youth and Trade as well as different organizations of the Civil Society contributing to woman’s economic empowerment in Zanzibar.

Generose Minani, the EAC Principal Gender and Community Development Officer who was heading the EAC delegation, expressed the full commitment of the EAC Secretariat to work with the different Partner States to make sure this Project is a success."He who empowers a woman, empowers the whole society,’’ Ms Minani said.

Wilson Muyenzi, 50MWS Project Coordinator introduced and explained the purpose, objectives and scope of the Project. The Coordinator also gave some highlights on how the platform will work including the means of access and languages to be used initially, which are English, French and Arabic.

Different stakeholders expressed their satisfaction and excitement about this Project but also expressed their concern about the issue of languages to be used.If Kiswahili is not to be included among those languages, the United Republic of Tanzania alone will be having more than 20 million women who will be left behind; participants estimated. 

According to Suleiman A. Haji, Director of Zanzibar Economic Empowerment Fund (ZEEF) in Ministry of Labor, Empowerment, Elders, Women and Children; women are more involved in business than men in Zanzibar the reason why the aforementioned Ministry is investing much efforts in women’s economic empowerment. Mr Haji however finds that the issue of language needs to be taken seriously for more impact.

“We are in the world that keeps changing that is why we can’t keep doing business the way we were doing it before the coming of ICT,’’ said Mawuwa Makame Rajab, the Acting Principal Secretary and Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Labor, Empowerment, Elders, Women and Children in Zanzibar.

Mrs. Mawuwa finds the platform to be a good opportunity for Zanzibar women to advance their business and with the cooperation and working together of all stakeholders. 

The 50MWS Project Coordinator, considers that any starting Project comes with some challenges but hopes that arising issues will be solved with the support of all stakeholders.

Mr Muyenzi promised to share the issue of language expressed by many, with people in charge of the implementation of this project at high level. He however explained that, the three languages he mentioned are prioritized in the beginning but reassured that other languages will be added later for the interest of all. 

The 50 MWS Project is a digital portal that intends to create a dynamic and engaging exchange of ideas among women entrepreneurs, connecting them with another in ways that will foster peer -to- peer learning, mentoring and the sharing of information and knowledge within communities, and access to finance services and market opportunities between urban and rural areas, and across borders and between countries.

-ENDS-

For more information please contact:
Achel BAYISENGE,
Content Manager for the 50MWS Project,
EAC Secretariat,
Tel: +255 786726230
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

About the East African Community Secretariat:

The East African Community (EAC) is a regional intergovernmental organisation of five Partner States, comprising Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda, with its headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania. 

The EAC Secretariat is ISO 9001:2008 Certified

50 Million African Women Platform to be up and running in the next six months

East African Community Headquarters, Arusha, 8th August, 2018: A four-day workshop bringing together implementing agencies of the 50 Million African Women Speak (50MWS) project, a software developing firm and representatives of the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the project financiers, is currently underway in Lusaka, Zambia.

The 50MWS Project is being implemented by three different Regional Economic Communities (RECs), namely the East African Community (EAC), the Common Market for Eastern and Southern (COMESA), and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

COMESA, which is coordinating the 50MWS Project, recently hired Izertis, a Spanish consulting firm to develop the 50MWS platform and the main objective of this workshop is for the implementers to clarify the scope of the platform and provide design inputs to the consulting firm.

The 50MWS Project aims at contributing to the economic empowerment of women through the provision of networking platforms to access information on financial and non-financial services so that they can start, grow or scale up their businesses.

At the opening of the workshop, Ambassador Dr. Kipyego Cheluget, COMESA Assistant Secretary General, assured the AfDB that the 50MWS project will be implemented for the benefits of all women.

Amb. Cheluget said that the different implementing RECs had held consultative meetings with their stakeholders to gather their views on how they want the project to be implemented.

‘’This is an opportunity for us to utilise the feedback from our partners,’’ Ambassador Kipyego said.

“This project comes when RECs are moving towards Digital Economic Integration, towards the full adoption of digital technologies with the objective of establishing seamless processes across the RECs Partner States to enable ease of doing business/trade and to enhance regional integration using ICT as a tool,” Amb. Kipyego added.

Amb. Kipyego urged the participants to volunteer ideas that would assist the consulting firm to create user-friendly platforms that could easily be accessed by women entrepreneurs.

The COMESA official suggested that the ideal platform should have unique features differentiating it from other multiple social media platforms that were already in existence.

Ms. Mary Makoffu, EAC Director of Social Sectors and head of the EAC delegation to the workshop, said in her opening remarks that the project was being implemented at a time when the EAC Partners States were rolling out instruments of Digital Trade to minimize physical barriers to trade in the reion.

Ms. Makoffu said that the 50MWS project would complement ongoing efforts to enhance the EAC economic integration agenda.

David Sabiti, COMESA 50 MWS Coordinator, expressed hope that women entrepreneurs would start using the platform six months after the Lusaka workshop.

-ENDS-

For more information please contact:
Achel Bayisenge,
Content Manager for the 50MWS Project
Tel: +255 786726230;
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

About the East African Community Secretariat:

The East African Community (EAC) is a regional intergovernmental organisation of five Partner States, comprising Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda, with its headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania. 

The EAC Secretariat is ISO 9001:2008 Certified


East African Community
EAC Close
Afrika Mashariki Road
P.O. Box 1096
Arusha
United Republic of Tanzania

Tel: +255 (0)27 216 2100
Fax: +255 (0)27 216 2190
Email: eac@eachq.org