One of the lessons that CEEC has learnt in the course of women’s empowerment work is that failure to engage men often leads to resistance and even backlash. It is in this regard that CEEC invited a group of male allies during the launch of a women’s Income Generating Activity (IGA) Project at PCEA Kamuyu, Burnt Forest on 30th October 2015. The project Alleviating Poverty in Burnt Forest through Women’s Economic Empowerment is supported by the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Nairobi. It involved training of 26 women on tailoring and beadwork as well as providing them with the necessary tools and materials to enable them run a tailoring and beadwork business. This will help the women earn a decent living thus reducing poverty and vulnerability to gender based violence.
The men who attended the meeting are the women’s male significant family members whose support is key to the success of the project. They were husbands, fathers, brothers and even sons who would take over some of the responsibilities to enable the women participate in the project. Other stakeholders included members of school boards as well as church and community leaders who will help the women in marketing their products. By bringing male allies on board, the project helped the men understand that women’s empowerment is not equal to men’s disempowerment. That building the capacity of women to contribute to the family income will be beneficial to men as it will take some of the pressure off them. Indeed, by empowering women economically, the project will be improving the economic status of the entire family and communities. Fortunately, all the men who attended the meeting were very enthusiastic and pledged to give the women all the necessary support.