women are still more likely than men to be poor and illiterate, making gender equality a critical aspect of promoting women empowerment with a focus of identifying and redressing power imbalances and giving women more autonomy to manage their own lives. A woman is entitled to live in dignity and in freedom from want and from fear and so empowering women is an indispensable tool for advancing development and poverty eradication. In the grassroots, women empowerment more so is vital to sustainable development and the realization of human rights for all. Where women’s status is low, family size tends to be large, which makes it more difficult for families to thrive. Population, development and reproductive health programs are more effective when they address the educational opportunities, status and empowerment of women. When women are empowered, not only will their families benefit, but these benefits often have ripple effects to future generations. The roles that men and women play in society are not biologically determined -- they are socially determined, changing and changeable. Although they may be justified as being required by culture or religion, these roles vary widely by locality and change over time.
OPDP's Gender Officer Fanis Inganga delivering building materials for poultry houses to a women group at Nessoit in Nakuru County
The Ogiek Peoples Development Program (OPDP) has worked hand in hand with the Ogiek community to promote women empowerment through initiating gender sensitive programs in the implementation and design of its projects.The most recent project OPDP have been able to implement is the bee keeping and poultry rearing projects through the financial support of the Kenya Community Development Foundation (KCDF) and African Women Development Fund (AWDF).
The two projects aimed at empowering women economically and enabling them to be self-reliant with 8 women groups benefiting. Apart from these, OPDP facilitated capacity building workshops for the women to not only boost their common knowledge on the projects but also to enhance their understanding of the new constitution focusing on their inclusion in leadership positions in the devolved government; and to increase their awareness on land and inheritance rights.
Education being a breakthrough for women empowerment the OPDP is looking forward to advocate for girl child education in the course of liberating her to be her own boss and define her future, making education the most important tool of empowering women with the knowledge, skills and self-confidence necessary to participate fully in the development process.
The OPDP is dedicated in ensuring that the Ogiek women are liberated and gender equality is achieved by looking at all the aspects of Women empowerment that connotes “Economic Empowerment” which implies a better quality of material life through sustainable livelihoods owned and managed by women, "social empowerment" which means a more equitable social status for women in society, “Legal Empowerment” that suggests the provision of an effective legal structure which is supportive of women’s empowerment and “Political Empowerment” meaning a political system favoring the participation in, and control by women of the political decision- making process and in governance, through its future programs and projects.