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REMARKS BY DR. JAMES W. NYIKAL, CBS, PERMANENT SECRETARY, MINISTRY OF GENDER, CHILDREN AND SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT, DURING THE INAUGURATION WORKSHOP FOR THE NEWLY APPOINTED ADVISORY BOARD OF WOMEN ENTERPRISE FUND ON WEDNESDAY 9TH FEBRUARY 2011, AT NSSF BUILDING, 5TH FLOOR BOARD ROOM, AT 9.00AM
Dr. Naomi Shaban, EGH, the Minister for Gender, Children and Social Development,
Mrs. Ann Mutahi-incoming Chairperson of the Board,
The Newly appointed Advisory Board of the Women Enterprise Fund,
Mr. Wainaina, the Chief Executive, Women Enterprise Fund
Distinguished Guests
Ladies and Gentlemen

On the onset let me start by wishing you all a Happy New Year, and express my delight to be associated with the inauguration of the Advisory Board of the Women Enterprise Fund.

Let me take this early opportunity to congratulate you for being appointed as members to this important board that has been mandated with an enormous task of ensuring that more women benefit from the services of the Fund.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It has been three years of hard work, dedication, commitment and sacrifice for the initial advisory board, which has laid the ground work that would see the lives of many women transformed socio-economically. The mantle is therefore upon you now to continue with this great task.

It is gratifying to note that the Fund is achieving the positive impact as envisioned in the vision 2030. I note with great satisfaction that the number of women who have benefited from the Fund has increased tremendously. This has enabled more women to start and expand their businesses, therefore enhancing their living standards and that of their families.

Distinguished Guests,

I am impressed that Women Enterprise Fund has lived to its motto; "Empower a woman; empower a family; empower a nation".The Fund has positively impacted the lives of many families by increasing the number of children going to school, putting food on the table, creation of job opportunities, and hence increasing women participation and contribution to national economic development.

In light of the above, I wish to laud the Fund for this effort, that has literally transformed the lives of many families, however, a lot is still required in executing the other mandates, namely:-

capacity building of women beneficiaries,
promotion of domestic and international marketing, development of linkages with big corporations, and
development of infrastructure beneficial to women enterprises.
It is imperative that systems are put in place to actualize these equally important mandates

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The government is committed to addressing issues affecting women. In respect to this, Issues pertaining to women economic empowerment are targets in my Performance Contract for 2010/2011, they include the following:-

Lend money to ninety seven thousand (97,000) women entrepreneurs countrywide
Train eight thousand (8,000) women in entrepreneurship
Improve repayment rate from 70 % to 80% though the constituency channel
Improve interest repayment rate from 99% to 100% through the financial intermediaries
Distinguished Guests,

The Fund has been operating with a lean staff of twelve (12) officers for the past three (3) years. I am optimistic that with the recently recruited sixteen (16) highly qualified and experienced officers, together with fifty five (55) volunteers in fifty five (55) constituencies, the Fund will achieve its targets.

I am confident that with the revamped secretariat, coupled with your able guidance and support, the Fund will be able to accomplishment its mandates as well as surpass the above targets.

Scholars have said that, "A road without obstacles is not worth traveling. Remember that the road to the prize is much more precious than the prize itself".

As I conclude, Ladies and Gentlemen, I wish to pledge the Ministry's support to this Board and the entire Fund, in her endeavor to improve the lives of many of our women who are still languishing in abject poverty.

Thank you

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