Empowering Women in Kenya
As of 2022, 52% of the overall population of Kenya is living in extreme poverty. The majority of the impoverished population lives in rural areas, where the primary source of income is agriculture. The Neema Project focuses on empowering women in Kenya who may suffer abuse and unemployment.

Women in Rural Kenya

According to data from 2020, only 29% of Kenyan women are empowered. While progressive reforms have improved women’s lives in Kenya, rural areas still have gender restrictions that impact women. As of 2022, 78% of individuals living in Kenya live in rural areas. This ultimately means that farming and agriculture are the main sources of income. In the agricultural process, women are limited in the resources they have access to. Men hold control over financial services and farming technology and exclude women in policy decisions.

According to a 2021 study that occurred in Kenya, 78.3% of adult women face severe food insecurity. With high poverty rates and little political voice, women in Kenya find it much harder to overcome hunger. The study also found that 22.8% of Kenyan women older than 15 years experience violence at some point in their lives. Women in rural sectors of Kenya face adverse living conditions that prohibit them from improving their lives. Whether it be through gender-based policy or violence, it is difficult for Kenyan women to obtain adequate employment. Empowering women in Kenya is crucial to overcoming these obstacles.

The Neema Project

Founded in 2014, The Neema Project emerged in an attempt to restore faith and hope to women in Kenya. Since its inception, The Neema Project has provided aid to 134 young women and more than 50 children.

One of the women Neema provided aid to is Maureen, who could not afford to attend high school due to living in extreme poverty following the death of her father. Living with her aunt, Maureen applied to Neema in 2018 and it granted her admission. Since her time in the program, Maureen was able to obtain the medical aid she needed for a severe bone infection she had since she was 10 years old. Maureen had undergone abuse and trauma prior to joining Neema; counseling allowed her to find peace within herself despite all the hardship she has endured. Now at the age of 28, Maureen is now in a healthy marriage, has a baby boy as well as her own business. Maureen’s story exemplifies how Neema’s foundation is not only empowering women in Kenya but also creating a lasting impact on women living in inadequate conditions.

Neema has now begun a campaign titled Securing Her Future. The purpose of the said campaign is to secure a permanent structure that would enable the organization to aid a greater number of women. The goal is to obtain the funding needed by 2024, Neema to create a more suitable facility that would house classrooms, a chapel, kitchens and even daycare.

– Micaela Carrillo
Photo: Flickr