BY MWAKERA MWAJEFA
Kenyan First Lady Margaret Kenyatta and her Botswana counterpart Neo Jane Masisi expressed their optimism disadvantaged women would benefit from small-scale manufacturing factories.
This follows their tour of Kazuri Beads Factory and Pottery Centre in Karen of Nairobi County on July 24, 2019.
The factory is an empowerment project for disadvantaged women that specialises in the production of handmade ceramic jewelery and pottery mostly for the export market.
Founded as a tiny workshop in 1975, the factory has grown over the decades to become a multimillion investment offering employment to over 340 Kenyans, mostly single mothers from Nairobi’s poor neighbourhoods.
The two First Ladies interacted with the employees of the factory, asking questions on the process of making the items that include necklaces, bracelets and earrings.
On her part, Mrs Masisi said she was impressed by the factory’s operational efficiency and quality of products so as to create more employment opportunities for vulnerable women.
She praised her host Mrs Kenyatta for being at the forefront in championing for the empowerment of vulnerable women and children through the Beyond Zero initiative.
A day before (July 23), the Kenyan First Lady had taken her visiting counterpart Mrs Masisi to tour Nazereth Hospital in Kiambu County. The duo also visited the facility’s youth and adolescent unit commonly known as the Holy Family Centre.
This centre takes care of the youth and adolescents living with HIV/AIDS and is considered one of the best care centres in the country.
Led by the hospital administrator Sister Francisca Alphonse in the tour, Mrs Masisi praised the quality and range of services offered at the facility.
She said millions of youth in Africa face similar challenges adding that her country was similarly challenged by a growing population of young people and adolescents affected by HIV/AIDS scourge.
Botswana has one of the highest HIV/AIDS prevalence rates in Africa estimated at over 24 percent among people aged between 15 and 49 years.
Kenya’s HIV/AIDS prevalence is estimated at 4.8 percent.
“I find it fascinating that what is happening in Kenya is happening in Botswana. I am impressed that the youth are getting fully involved,” she added.
She promised to initiate a similar program in Botswana saying her new role as a UNAIDS special ambassador will advocate for similar interventions across Africa.