Unleashing the Power of Women in Kenyan Politics: Filamu za Akina Dada Uongizini

 

In a society where women’s voices are often marginalised in political decision-making, Filamu za Akina Dada Uongizini (Filamu Dada) emerges as a groundbreaking initiative aimed at increasing the participation of women in political leadership in Kenya. This short documentary film project, a part of the TV Series Ms President, showcases the stories of seven remarkable Kenyan female leaders, while also empowering female filmmakers in the country. With its powerful narratives and captivating visuals, Filamu Dada is set to inspire change and encourage a more inclusive political landscape in Kenya. 

Filamu Dada brings to the forefront the accomplishments and challenges faced by women leaders in Kenya. Through the lens of seven competitively selected teams of female filmmakers, the project delves into the lives of these extraordinary women who have shattered glass ceilings and made their mark in politics. From Members of Parliament to Governors and Woman Representatives, each film offers a unique perspective on the journey of a female leader.

The Filmmaker Teams:

Each team was assigned to follow and document the journey of a specific Kenyan female leader.

  1. DONYA: Voice of The People – Donya Dorice Aburi (MP): Kisii

Filmmakers: Irene Mukonyoro & Debra Ngeru

  1. Cheptikonyool – Cynthia Muge Rotich (MP): Nandi

Filmmakers: Miriam Koske & Cherotich Kibet

  1. GENOWA – Gladys Wanga (Governor): Homabay

Filmmakers: Sandra Ruong’o & Wendy Kirorei

  1. Etomononi Nagol – Caroline Ncharo – Kajiado (Asst. Chief)

Filmmakers: Cynthia Abdallah & Ivy Kagai/S. Imisa

  1. The Nomads Daughter – Mumina Gollo Bonaya – (Woman Rep): Isiolo

Filmmakers: Gumato Denge & Aisha Hussein

  1. Ma-itu – Sabina Chege (Nominated MP) – Muranga

Filmmakers: Sally Ngoiri & Joan Rispa Kiragu

  1. The Force Within – Cecily Mbarire (Governor): Embu

Filmmakers: Ashley Murugi & Joan Kabugu

Beyond documenting the stories of women leaders, Filamu Dada also aims to enhance the capacity of female filmmakers in the country. Led by Docubox-EADFF, the project provides a comprehensive story and production workshop, ensuring that the filmmakers are equipped with the necessary skills to bring these powerful narratives to life. The mentorship and training provided by experienced professionals like Zippy Kimundu, Lydia Matata, and Franki Ashiruka foster a supportive environment for growth and development.

At the core of Filamu Dada lies the Female Directors in Film Lab, an initiative initiated and supervised by Dutch filmmaker Fleur van Dissel and Media Focus on Africa. This lab serves as a platform for female filmmakers to collaborate, learn, and exchange ideas. By nurturing their talent and providing them with the necessary resources, the lab aims to create a more inclusive and vibrant film industry in Kenya, where women can thrive and make their voices heard.

Filamu Dada is more than a film project; it is a catalyst for change. By showcasing the experiences of women leaders and empowering female filmmakers, it aims to challenge societal norms and inspire future generations of women to actively participate in political leadership. 

The much-anticipated premiere of Filamu za Akina Dada Uongizini took place on Thursday evening, 5th October 2023, at The National Museum, Louis Leakey Auditorium. This event was a celebration of women’s achievements, resilience, and determination. Attendees had the opportunity to witness the powerful stories portrayed on screen and engage with the women leaders, filmmakers and producers who brought them to life. The chief guest, Embu County Governor, Cecily Mbarire noted, “we need to give our story as women. We have His story, but we need Her story.”

To celebrate the filmmakers and women leaders, the event was graced by dignitaries including the Nairobi County Woman Representative, Hon. Esther Passaris, the CEO of National Land Commision, Ms. Kabale Tache, the Head of Public Service, Hon. Felix Koskei, the Commissioner of KNCHR Hon. Sarah Bonaya. Additionally, the UN Women in Kenya Representative, Anna Mutavati, Janine Cocker representing the High Commission in Kenya, among other dignitaries were present at the premier. Their much appreciated support is paramount in encouraging young women to become involved in leadership and politics.

FOR INNOVATION AND TECHNOLOGY TO LEAD US TO GENDER EQUALITY, IT IS IMPERATIVE THAT WE REMAIN “ANALOGUE”

This year’s International Women’s Day is marked under the theme DigitALL: Innovation and Technology for gender equality. Innovation and technology or digital transformation provides new avenues (leapfrog opportunities) for the economic transformation of women. The internet, mobile phones and digital financial services gives women the possibility to earn additional income, increase their employment opportunities and access knowledge and general information.

However, hurdles to access and affordability, lack of education and skills, technological illiteracy as well as inherent gender biases and negative socio-cultural norms effectively curtail women’s and girls’ ability to benefit from opportunities offered by the digital transformation.

According to a 2018 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) report on Bridging the Digital Gender Divide, 327 million fewer women than men have a smartphone and can access the internet. According to the report in Africa, women are 34% less likely than men to own a smartphone. In Kenya, the great majority who have access to the internet do so via their phones. The GSMA Mobile Gender Gap Report for 2019 found that Kenyan women are 23% less likely than men to own a smartphone and 39% less likely than men to access the internet. The biggest hurdle to women’s ownership of smartphones in Kenya is affordability of the handsets. The cheapest smartphone handset in Kenya retails for about 5000KES or 40USD. This is out of reach of many women. Women headed households account for 30% of households living below the monetary poverty line compared to 26 percent of those headed by men according to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics 2018 Economic Survey. The relatively higher incidence of poverty among women compared to men is underpinned by socio-cultural norms governing gender roles, ownership of and control over familial property etc.

Fewer girls than boys are enrolled in Institutions of Higher Learning. Female students made up 40% of all the students enrolled in Universities compared to 60% male students during the 2020/21 academic year according to statistics from statista.com. Further, girl’s enrollment in disciplines relevant to the digital transformation (ICT & STEM subjects) is lower than that of boys. The World Bank estimates that only 30% of ICT graduates in Eastern and Southern Africa are Women. This boils over to the underrepresentation of women in technology design and governance. Negative socio-cultural norms surrounding education of girls versus boys as well as gender roles in society contribute to this situation.

Women on average spend 2.6 more time than men on unpaid care and domestic work according to the OECD 2018 report. This restricts the time they can spend in paid work or to upskill themselves using online tutorial videos and freely available information.

While digital transformation offer “leapfrog” opportunities for the empowerment of women, this will only succeed if the “analogue” work of actions that raise awareness, challenge gender stereotypes and negative socio-cultural norms, attitudes and behaviours and enabling greater female political participation and representation continues full speed. It is the case that for digital transformation to yield for us gender equality, it is imperative that we remain “analogue”

Media Focus on Africa wins two prestigious awards for promoting gender equality and the empowerment of women

Media Focus on Africa (MFA) has made its mark as a leading organization in the promotion of gender equality and empowerment women in Kenya.

On Friday 3rd March 2023, MFA was honored with two prestigious awards at the National Diversity and Inclusion Awards and Recognition (DIAR) Awards ceremony.

The first award was for the overall winner in the category of NGOs promoting gender equity. This award recognizes MFA’s continued commitment to promoting gender equality in Kenya and beyond through the Ms President project. MFA has consistently worked through innovative media programs to raise awareness about gender inequality and challenge the socio-cultural norms that underpin gender inequality. At the same the programs empower women across the country. This award shall spur MFA onto greater efforts and boost the organization’s unwavering dedication to the cause of contributing to the realization of a more equal and just Kenya.

The second award recognized MFA’s Ms President program as the best women empowerment initiative. The Ms President program is a groundbreaking initiative that seeks to show to Kenyans the possibility of female head of state in Kenya. It also aims to empower Kenyan women by giving them the skills and knowledge they need to become effective leaders in policy and decision making spheres of country through the Ms President Academy.

The Ms President program has already made a significant contribution in bridging the gender gap in the political representation and policy/decision making realms in Kenya. 2 Ms President alumni are members of the 13th National Assembly. Another 2 are members of the 3rd County Assemblies. 1 served as a Chief Administrative Secretary in the regime of President Kenyatta while another is a current member of the Intergovernmental Relations Technical Committee. Ms President equips the women with leadership skills, builds their confidence and is helping to break down socio-cultural barriers thus contributing to the realization of a more inclusive society.

This award is testament to the hard work and dedication of everyone involved in the program.

In accepting the awards, MFA’s Country Director, Harrison Manga, expressed his gratitude to the organizers of the DIAR Awards and all the partners who has supported MFA’s work over the years. He said, “We are honored to receive these awards, which recognize the hard work and dedication of everyone at MFA. We remain committed to the cause of promoting gender equality and the empowerment of women in Kenya and across Africa. We shall continue to dedicate our best efforts, imagination and innovation to this cause until we achieve our goal of a more equal society through the use of media “

Angel Mbuthia is a rising star in the world of politics, leadership and public service.

Not only is she the Ms President season 2 winner, she is a member of the Kenya National Youth Council Advisory Board, and the Chairperson of the COMESA Youth Advisory Panel (COMYAP). She is also the Secretary for Gender and International Relations in the All Africa Students Union, based in Accra, Ghana.

Angel’s journey in the Ms President began with her membership of the Mwamko Mpya Party, where she made a name for herself through eloquent and incisive presentations on behalf Mwamko Party. She connected effortlessly with people from different backgrounds.

Her hard work and dedication led her to winning the second season of Ms President. Ms President aims to bridge the gender gap in political representation and participation as well in public policy and decision making positions.

Throughout the competition, Angel impressed the judges with her quick thinking, charismatic personality, and ability to work under pressure. She also demonstrated a strong commitment to social justice and equality, which resonated with the audience.

In the final round, Angel faced off against five other finalists, delivering a powerful speech on the importance of education and the role of women in politics. She received the majority of the votes from the audience through a voting system, making her the winner.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-2HCzODcyUg

Angel’s win sends a powerful message to young women everywhere, showing them that they can achieve their dreams and make a positive impact in their communities.

As the winner of Ms President season 2, Angel will be awarded a cash prize of USD 20,000 for her to invest in a community project of her choice. She will get support from Media Focus on Africa and other partners to implement her community project and other programs that align with her vision as Ms President.

Angel’s impressive list of accomplishments and her victory in Ms President are a testament to her great leadership capacity and her commitment to making a positive impact in her community, Kenya and the world. With her passion, dedication and hard work, there is no doubt that Angel Mbuthia will continue to make a difference in the world of politics and leadership. She’s definitely one to watch.

Angel Mbuthia Is Ms President Season 2

Over 750 women and 20 episodes later, we have a new Ms President. Angel Mbuthia from Kiambu County emerged the winner of Ms President Season 2 during the grand finale that aired on 17th November 2022.

‘’Every boy and girl deserves an education. It is through education that I am here with you today. I will use this opportunity to champion for change,’’ she said in excitement.

Bina Maseno from Nairobi County came in as the 1st runner’s up while Milkah Righa from Taita Taveta County came in as the 2nd runner’s up. Coming in close behind were the rest of the other contestants; Nuru Muhammed (Kwale County,) Pauline Onguko from (Siaya County) and Frida Karani (Embu County)

The 2nd Season of Ms President was made possible by our partners The Canadian High Commission in Kenya with additional support from UN Women in Kenya and The European Union.

Speaking at the event, Janina Cocker the Head of Cooperation in Kenya at the Canadian High Commission in Kenya said that it was important to recognize the accomplishments of the women who have been a part of the show.

‘’Today we celebrate not only the finalists but all the women who participate in this season and the previous season,’’ she said.

Anna Mutavati, the UN Women in Kenya Representative who also spoke at the event echoed similar remarks. She also noted the importance of the show, especially during this election year.

‘’Ms President Season 2 could not have come at a better time because more women are taking up positions in leadership. The 2022 General Elections saw a record number of women take up top positions in government, ‘’ she said.

Among the guests was Season 1 winner Nereah Amondi Aketch. She shared her excitement at getting to see another crop of women compete in the 2nd season while noting that there was still much to do in getting more women in leadership and politics.

Ms President was created to empower women to become key players in preventing the spread of violent extremism and radicalization. It continues to strengthen the institutional and operational capacity of civil society actors and media practitioners to prevent violence against women and protect human rights.

The Country Director of Media Focus on Africa, Harrison Manga shared highlights about some of the previous Ms President contestants who have gone on to taken up seats in government.

‘’Ms President has demonstrated that Kenya has an abundance of talented and capable women leaders,’’ he said.

The final six women competing for the title of Ms President Season 2

The Second season of Ms President premiered on KTN on June 30th, 2022, after a successful Season 1 in 2019. In total, there were 750 applicants for Ms President Season 2. After a thorough review,52 women were selected to join the Ms President Leadership Academy, where they underwent training on topics that cover how the country is run.

Every week, the women had different trainers-all accomplished in their respective fields- take them through the various topics that mirror the functions of the office of The President. The contestants were then assigned tasks to help them apply the knowledge they had learned. Each week, the judges selected contestants to leave the Academy. Now only 6 remain.

Milkah Righa is a Legislative Researcher, Policy Analyst, gender specialist and consultant in matters of gender, inclusive governance and youth leadership. She’s the Founder and First Chairperson of the Taita Taveta Professional Women’s Association, an organization that empowers women to enhance networking and offers mentorship to all women and girls in Taita Taveta County. She started off strong by giving the first presentation for her group Chama Cha Ufanisi na Ustawi. She has gone on to give strong presentations even as an individual.

 

Nuru Muhammed is an engineer with a BSc. and Msc. in water resources and environmental engineering. She is a champion of sustainable development. She is also passionate about girl education and has participated in the mentorship of girls in schools. She started off as part of the Sawazisha Party and went on to give memorable presentations that kept her in the competition.

Angel Mbuthia is a Director of the Kenya National Youth Council Board. She was recently elected to serve as a Chairperson in the first-ever COMESA Youth Advisory Panel (COMYAP). She is also the Secretary for Gender and International Relations in the All Africa Students Union headquartered in Accra, Ghana. After starting her journey in the Mwamko Mpya Party she has gone ahead to win individual presentations leading up to the current episode.

 

 

Pauline Adhiambo is a Public Health Specialist. She is also the immediate former Chair of the 24 counties that have established Service delivery units in Kenya; equivalent to Presidential delivery units. She initiated the model known as an Integrated Quality Team(IQT) in 2012 while working for a Non-Governmental Organization. At the beginning of the competition, she joined the Mwamko Mpya Party which won its second assignment. Her group and individual presentations have led her all the way to the final 6.

 

Frida Karani is the founder of Stitch in Time My Afrika Projects (SITMAP), co-founder of Transformative Women in Leadership Network (TWILN) and the Sustainable Climate Action in Africa Conference (SCAAC). She has a passion for improved livelihoods, sustainable development and governance that inspired her to mainstream women & youth in development. After starting off her journey in the Sawazisha Party, she has gone on to successfully present on behalf of her group multiple times. Her individual assignment performance also earned her a spot in the final 6.

Bina Maseno is a communications specialist and political aspirant during the 2013 elections. She is the Founder and Executive Director of Badili Africa which merges beauty with civic dialogues for political awareness and involvement with governance and democratic processes in Africa. Additionally, she has been invited to & led global discussions across initiatives like the Obama Africa Leaders Program, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Goalkeepers event in New York, USA. She started off as part of the Mwamko Mpya Party and worked her way through individual assignments and won individual assignments along the way too.

The hard work and resilience of these women is a testament to the calibre of women leaders we have in the country. With less than 6 episodes to go, the remaining women will have to put their best foot forward in order to win the coveted title of Ms President Season 2. Who will be the ultimate winner? Stay tuned to KTN Kenya every Thursday at 8.00 pm to find out

The Rise Of Ms President Contestants

The women of Ms President continue to soar in different leadership positions even after leaving the Ms President Leadership Academy.

The Ms President show was created to enhance women’s participation in political leadership and decision making in Kenya through a multi-media program. Since its launch in 2019, the show has continued to attract both local and international media. This has given the women a platform to highlight the issues that they are passionate about.

Additionally, 55% of Ms President Contestants have reported that Ms President has provided them leadership opportunities not available to them before. As Season 2 of Ms President continues to air, the women who have participated in the show continue to leave their mark in government and other areas of leadership in Kenya.
Honorable Umulkher Harun, who came in second in Season 1 of Ms President has been nominated to be a Member of National Assembly by the ODM Party to represent the youth. She is also the founder of Kesho Alliance, an NGO that exists to improve education by promoting and advocating access to quality education, youth and women empowerment, peace, and security.

Honorable Irene Mayaka who was also a finalist in Season 1 of Ms President has been nominated to be a Member of the National Assembly to represent workers by the ODM party. This comes after a previous nomination in 2019 to the Nyamira County Assembly also by the ODM party. Another Season 1 Contestant who also garnered a seat in the government is Nadia Abdalla. She was appointed by President Kenyatta, to be the Chief Administrative Secretary in the ministry of ICT and Youth.

In Season 1 of the show over 1000 contestants applied to be on the show while over 750 applied to be in Season 2. There are many more examples of Ms Presidents who continue to rise up the ranks in public service as others seek elective leadership positions. 10 Ms President season 1 and 5 Ms President season 2 contestants were candidates for various seats during the August general election. We are proud to be associated with these powerhouses and we cannot wait to see what they will do next.

Countrywide Auditions for Ms President Season 2 Kick Off

 

Auditions for the second season of Ms President Reality TV show have kicked off with over 300 women getting a shot at being the first female President of the republic of Kenya following successful shortlisting of more than 700 applications.

Ms President Season 2 will contribute to enhancing women’s p participation in political leadership and decision making in Kenya through a multi-media program complemented with community dialogue and capacity strengthening for key stakeholder groups. Coming in the backdrop of the 2022 election makes Ms President Season 2 relevant and timely.

Media Focus on Africa began the auditions in Eldoret on the 28th – 29th of March at Sirikwa Hotel. Eldoret auditions include qualified participants from the following counties;  Uasin Gishu, Elgeyo Marakwet, West Pokot, Trans Nzoia, Nandi, Bungoma and Turkana.

Later on the team will head out to Kisumu for the 31st of March- 1st April auditions, where qualified participants from the following counties will audition; Homabay, Siaya, Migori, Kisii, Busia, Nyamira  Vihiga and Kakamega, followed by Isiolo on the 4th of April- 5th April. Auditions here will include qualified participants from Garissa, Wajir, Mandera, and Marsabit.

This will be followed by Nyeri, where qualified participants from the following counties will audition; Nyeri, Murang’a, Kirinyaga, Embu, Tharaka Nithi, and Meru, followed with Nakuru, with participants from the following counties; Bomet , Kericho , Narok , Nyandarua, Laikipia , and Baringo, followed with Nairobi with participants from; Kiambu, Machakos , Makueni , Kitui , and Kajiado then wrap up the auditions in Mombasa where particpants from the following counties will audition; Kilifi, Kwale, Taita Taveta,  Tana River, and Lamu

The auditions include both verbal and written interviews before a panel of three judges from the Media Focus on Africa. Successful candidates will be notified of their results by the end of April. The auditions in various venues across Kenya will see 50 women selected to join the Ms President Academy.  At this point, production for the Ms President show begins.

“We are looking for a qualified woman who is bold enough and ambitious to take up the President role in the future. ‘’- Frenny Jowi auditions judge.

The objective of Ms President is to change Kenyans’ perception and attitude towards leadership by women in communities and in the country.

Kenya’s constitution provides for equality in representation between men and women. However, in political leadership, women are significantly underrepresented. Following the 2017 election, female MPs make up only 22% of the National Assembly, 31% of the Senate and only 6% of the Governors.

Ms President Season 1 saw several of the participants take up notable leadership positions that have seen them do tremendous things in the society.  55% of Ms President Contestants have reported that Ms President has provided them leadership opportunities not available to them before. Three examples: Nadia Abdalla, Mombasa County contestant has since been appointed Chief Administrative Secretary in the ministry of ICT and Youth. Betty Adera, the Nairobi County contestant is now President of KANU Political Party Women Congress, a member of the One Kenya Alliance (OKA) technical team and Patron of the Young Women’s Forum in Africa by the Africa Youth Trust. Linet Mavu, Taita Taveta contestant has been appointed by the President to the Intergovernmental Relations Technical Committee. Many of Season 1 contestants are currently running for various MP and MCA positions.

Deadline for Application for Ms President Season 2 Extended

We have received many applications for the second season of Ms President from all parts of Kenya. The submissions will now undergo preliminary processing to ready them for review.
There were multiple requests however from various interested applicants through our mobilizers in the different counties for an extension of the application deadline.
This is taking into account the heightened political activities going on across the country as candidates and political parties prepare for the coming elections.
In order to give all interested and qualified applicants a chance, we are now extending the deadline by 14 days. Make sure to submit your application by Monday, March 14, 2022. There will be no further extension of the application deadline beyond March 14th.
The instructions on how to apply to remain the same. Follow them below to send in your application.
1. Download the questionnaire here;http://shorturl.at/jovDL
2. Fill it in and send it back to mspresidentkenya@gmail.com

MS. PRESIDENT SEASON 2 LAUNCHED

Media Focus on Africa has in a colourful event launched the second season of Ms. President Reality TV show, opening applications for all women who are community leaders across Kenya.

 

Ms President is an entertaining, educative, and thought-provoking Reality TV show that seeks to portray to a national audience the capacity and ability of women to lead effectively. The objective of Ms. President is to change Kenyans’ perception and attitude towards leadership by women in communities and in the country.

Speaking at the event, the chief guest Hon. Racheal Shebesh, Chief Administrative Secretary, Ministry of Public Service & Gender said that having training is a gateway to a great opportunity. She called on political parties to support women and give them opportunities and platforms that are meant to push them to great leadership roles.

‘I was once one of the chosen few to be sponsored to attend a political training for young leaders. It propelled me to who I am today.’ She said.

Ms President 2 will introduce to the national audience another group of women of different backgrounds, who are intelligent, articulate, and ‘presidential’, with an eye on the 2027 general election and for appointment to senior public service positions.

Among the invited guests were Season 1 contestants who are already great change-makers in our society. One notable example is that of Hon. Nadia Abdalla, who through Ms President show was appointed Chief Administrative Secretary in the ministry of ICT and Youth by Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Speaking at the launch, Acting High Commissioner for Canada, David Da Silva called on aspiring women leaders to have courage and step out.

‘’To all aspiring female leaders, I urge you to put yourselves out there. It is not easy given the challenges you will face along your journey but it is worth it.’’ He said.

H.E Henriette Geiger, the European Head of Delegation to Kenya joined the meeting virtually. She thanked all the supporters of Ms President and stressed the need to push for women’s representation in various leadership roles.

Echoing Her Excellency’s remarks, Rukaya Mohammed, UN Women Country Director said that women were underrepresented in the political landscape and that there was a need to continue pushing for the implementation of the two thirds gender rule.

Politics in Kenya is characterized by low representation of women in decision-making despite women constituting 50.5% of the Kenyan population.

Women’s political representation is still below the constitutional threshold of 33% and further below the UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target of 50%.

Do you believe you have what it takes to be the next Ms President? Who are we looking for?

Are you a Kenyan woman? Aged between 20-60 years & living in Kenya? With a diploma

or higher qualifications? An excellent communicator? Agile & creative? Are you a leader

actively involved in your community? Do you have the vision to transform your community?

Do you believe in women leadership?

If you you have all these qualities, please click on the link below to download the application form. Here you will also find details on how to submit the form once you have filled it.

www.shorturl.at/jovDL    or www.rb.gy/0afkus

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