In a landmark address at the 68th annual Commission on the Status of Women (CSW68) in New York, Anne Waiguru, Chair of the Council of Governors (CoG) in Kenya, unveiled the groundbreaking efforts by County Governments to combat women's poverty and advance gender equality.

Waiguru underscored the substantial investments directed towards programs targeting economic empowerment, healthcare, education, and leadership, aiming to eradicate poverty among women and stimulate inclusive and sustainable economic development.

Speaking at the CSW68 side event, Waiguru highlighted the multifaceted approach adopted by devolved units to ensure women's equitable access to education, healthcare, finance, and decent employment opportunities.

Acknowledging the importance of integrating gender considerations into development plans and budgets, Waiguru emphasized the role of County Governments in promoting equality and inclusivity through equitable distribution of resources and opportunities.

"Several counties have integrated gender considerations into their development plans and budgets. By mainstreaming gender, these counties aim to ensure that resources and opportunities are equitably distributed among men and women, promoting equality and inclusivity," Waiguru said.

Providing concrete examples, Waiguru cited the "Wezesha Kirinyaga" empowerment program, showcasing County Governments' efforts in establishing women's funds to provide financial support, training, and mentorship to women entrepreneurs, thus catalyzing local economic growth.

"These programs have helped women start or expand their businesses, thereby contributing to local economic growth," she said.

Moreover, County Governments have prioritized initiatives supporting women in agribusiness, facilitating access to markets, and promoting value addition activities.

Waiguru applauded the adherence to the two-third gender rule in county appointments, enabling women to occupy positions of authority and influence policies responsive to women and girls' needs.

Addressing healthcare disparities, County Governments have established maternal and child health clinics, offering prenatal and postnatal care services, alongside promoting family planning and reproductive health education.

Waiguru stressed the imperative of ensuring equal access to opportunities and decision-making for all, advocating for healthier and more just economies through gender equality measures.

Furthermore, County Governments have implemented robust social protection policies, providing a safety net for vulnerable populations and breaking the cycle of poverty.

"The effective implementation of social protection measures are crucial to ensure comprehensive development across all sectors," Waiguru stated.

"The well-being of citizens, particularly those who are disadvantaged and underprivileged, hinges on the availability of robust social protection mechanisms."

In a bid to bolster women's political representation, Waiguru announced the launch of a G7 strategy by the seven female Governors aimed at securing the re-election of current female governors and increasing their numbers in upcoming elections, signalling Kenya's commitment to gender parity in governance.

In closing, Kenya's County Governments stand at the forefront of global efforts to promote gender equality and alleviate women's poverty, exemplifying a transformative approach towards inclusive and sustainable development.