Paran women group push for women participation in governance
PARAN WOMEN GROUP is an umbrella organization of indigenous women groups who have joined together to address different challenges faced by indigenous women, girls, and community at large. The umbrella women group is spread across Narok County, with its office located at Paran women resource and knowledge Center in Ololungá, Narok South, Kenya. It was formed in the year 2005 and consists of 64 women groups with about 6000 members.
The groups are self-organized and self-created with the aim of empowering and advancing indigenous women and their rights. Our mission is to uplift women economically, politically and socially. We envision a society where women have guaranteed opportunities for development that enable them to exercise their right to education, health, livelihood and social security.
The organization’s objective is to address various issues like environment, climate change, rights and health. According to their community culture indigenous women are the primary custodians and owners of traditional knowledge and natural resources in defense of mother earth. Paran women group has been working on protecting and conserving the environment from the harsh impacts of climate change. Paran inhabits the Ololulung’a region in Narok County which hosts the MAU forest in Kenya, the largest water tower. Through mobilization of women, the organization has been able to influence better practices for environmental conservation which then had a multidimensional impact in areas of human rights, indigenous rights, education/training of women especially on environmental conservation and protection.
The organization leverages on traditional activites such as beadworknto financially empower its members. They also encourage groups saving wich can be a souch for development sunds such as starting business and education.
“We train them to develop small businesses that make the most of their skills and potential. After that, we provide our group members with access to credit so they can grow or start their small businesses in their own homes,” said one of the coordinators.
Connecting with other Indigenous women groups in Narok County.
Paran Women Group has been engaging in exchange visits to connect with other Indigenous women from Narok's Sub - counties of North, West, East and in Transmara West with the goal to exchange and share experiences on best practices in agriculture, craft making, leadership etc. "We are also proud to have improved our women's group management capacity and strengthened our group members micro enterprises through improved skills and livelihood support. We have managed to engage with the local leadership and held a women's day celebration to highlight role of women in development. This has made our group more visible to local government and other stakeholders" Mrs. Koini Paran Women Group Chair lady said.
"Through trainings on leadership with the help of CREAW, Paran organization members have improved women’s groups management, capacity and strengthen group members on micro finance enterprises through improved skills and livelihood supports. This has given the umbrella members to engage positively with the local leadership and national leaders too. Our voices have been recognized, mentioned at all levels. This enabled us to be broader, enlighten and creative hence lobbying for resources equal distribution and protection within Narok county and beyond,"Mrs. Naiyan Kiplagat -Co founder, Paran Women Group
Our Achievement after by the end of the WVL project
"We are grateful for the financial support from CREAW because it has made our work more visible to local leadership and different actors that indigenous women are change agents. This helped us in accessing decision making spaces. Our umbrella group works towards shifting gender dynamics by strengthening grassroots women access to resources, political participation and women voices in policy decisions/making. Our work is to contributing to achieving UN sustainable goals agenda 2030 like; SDG goal13 climate action, SDG goal 10 Reducing inequalities, SDG goal 12 promoting sustainable consumption and production amongst others." Naiyan Kiplagat in her end of the meeting remarks said.
The partnership with center for rights education and awareness – CREAW has enabled the organization to empower and strengthen the capacity of women and youth leaders at the village level. " We had a training programs for Paran women group members and other women groups in Ololung’a on group dynamics, leadership and management (financial and human resources. In some parts of the Paran Women Group as an umbrella is also engaging Ololulunga indigenous women in agriculture since we are experiencing prolonged drought, we introduced sustainable agriculture practices like kitchen garden. This has improved food security in our community by ensuring we have good harvests and available of vegetables throughout the year.” Miriam Potishoi one of the training beneficiaries of the WVL project