On International Women's Day, UN Environment Staff Support Hera Community Initiative

Pledge For Parity is the campaign theme of International Women's Day, being celebrated today, 8 March 2016. UN Environment’s Michael Stanley-Jones and his colleagues at the Poverty-Environment Initiative (PEI) are honoring this pledge by helping the newly-formed Hera Community Initiative, a rural women’s self-help group in western Kenya which is seeking to be registered as a community-based organization.

Hera Community Initiative is a non-profit organization formed to facilitate community development especially among women around Ngunya Sub location, within Siaya County in Kenya’s anza Region. “We aim to use simple, definite and efficient ways to effectively mitigate some of the day-to-day challenges faced within our community,” said Ms. Jerusha Achieng Onyango, the former UNON intern who serves as secretary of Hera Community Initiative.

Among the challenges women face in this remote farming community are access to clean water, poor seed stocks and lack of technological know-how needed to improve rural livelihoods. The Initiative’s organizers hope to support farms managed by women in their region.

Their efforts are partly inspired by the UN Women, PEI and the World Bank 2015 report, The Gender Gap in Agricultural Productivity in Malawi, Tanzania and Uganda, launched at the inaugural seminar of UN Women’s gender empowerment series, held at the UN Gigiri compound in January 2016.

“Community-led initiatives like Hera are vital to the future success of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. By addressing the issues of women’s empowerment, food security, inclusive green employment and poverty elimination, they help translate the Sustainable Development Goals into meaningful action at the community level,” said Michael Stanley-Jones.

‘Hera’ is a dynamic word in the Luo language. Its direct meaning in Luo is ‘love’. It is also used to connote ‘unity’ and in some contexts ‘help’.

Hera Community Initiative is chaired by Mrs. Elizabeth Onyango, a registered nurse who had worked for the Kenyan government for 33 years until her retirement. She served for 5 years as head nurse and community awareness officer in Nairobi’s Kibera slums with the NGO, Life In Abundance, before relocating to the family’s home in Ngunya in late 2015.

For further information, contact:

Ms. Jerusha Achieng Onyango
Secretary, Hera Community Initiative
email: jlouyise@yahoo.com


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