We met Minister of State for Special Programs Hon. Esther Murugi Mathange in Athens last month, during the Global Summit for Women where she presented the implementation of the program for restoration of livelihoods and the effects in women in Kenya .
It was a major program that was implemented after the post-election violence in 2007 and due to this thousands of Kenyan people found again a home and the feeling of safety .
In the middle of the sessions, the Minister discussed with us about the program, her visit in Athens and her participation to the Global Summit of Women.
How did you find your visit in Athens?
First of all, contrary to what everybody else say about Greece and think about crisis and riots, for me it was a good experience. Coming in Greece, I found it very peaceful and what I love is all the history I have read in the past, I could actually now see it.
You are here to participate in Global Women Summit. Would you like to make some comments about the event?
It was the first time I participated in Global Summit of Women and I was impressed because I met women who have actually succeed it in business. For me was an eye opener and the next year I hope that I will be able to mobilize along with women who are good entrepreneurs to showcase what they do because there are good businesses in Kenya run by women.
The other thing is, women and their role to economic growth. I think It is really true because an important per cent of GDP of every country is produced by women so I think we need to be encouraged, we need to be networking and that’s what Global Summit of Women is all about.
During the summit you made a presentation about the special programs that you implemented after the post election’s violence in 2007. Would you like to talk about how women benefited from these programs?
What happened is after the post-election violence about 300.000 people were displaced. Government decided we need to resettle them because their houses have been badly destroyed and others were traumatized and did not feel comfortable to go back to what they called home.
So we designed a program which was called restoration of livelihood and when we carried out the necessary research, we realized that a significant percentage was actually women. So, I think that’s why my topic was relevant to my presentation in the Global Summit for Women, because it was something that made a difference to the women.
These women had very traumatic experiences; some of them were raped, in the country and others in the camps where they supposed to have found refuge. So we had to move them from the camps and bring them to a proper home where they could take their medication and feel safe.
Generally, there was a very successful program, although is still running.
Among other actions, we had to build new houses because a great number of the existent were heavily destroyed. We have completed most of the houses but there are still need more to build.
Moreover, we had to build schools for the children and to help these people to continue their livelihood by providing them with crops and domestic animals.
The logic behind this was that we had to protect these people and also to reintegrate them into society.
What other special programs do you implement in Kenya?
The ministry of State for Special Programs is mainly responsible for coordinating the formulation and implementation of policies and institutional framework for disaster management, the mobilization of resources as well as all stakeholders.
Within this context, we try to protect and relief people from physical phenomena as floods and fires.
A message about Kenyans living to Greece?
We urge them all to register to the Consulate in order to formulate how they can vote and to participate in the next elections for the new president of Kenya.
I don’t know if they could vote for all the members of the government but they will be able to vote for president and that is very important.
Moreover, I would like to tell them not to forget to come home.