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UNFPA Partners with Meiji Holdings Co., Ltd. to Empower Women and Girls in Kenya

Nairobi, Kenya, 25th December, 2020- The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic continues to be felt in Kenya, particularly during this last quarter of the year, which has recorded more cases and an unprecedented increase in mortality. Mitigation measures such as curfew, social distancing and closure of public institutions including schools have led to loss of income for the majority of citizens. Women and girls are disproportionately affected due to pre-existing structural inequalities, discrimination and negative gender norms.

 

In response to the situation, UNFPA Kenya has entered into a partnership with a Japanese company, Meiji Holdings Co., Ltd. to support the economic empowerment of women and girls in the Kibera informal settlement of Nairobi. Through a co-financing agreement with Meiji, UNFPA Kenya will support the Feminist for Peace Rights and Justice Centre (FPRJC), a community based organization operating within Kibera, to enroll 200 women and girls in a training program that will equip them with income generating skills. The project aims to cushion women and girls from the adverse economic and psychosocial effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

 

The Kenya Bureau of Statistics showed in a recent study that the proportion of respondents absent from work due to Covid-19 related issues was 61.9 per cent.  The protection risks and actual experiences of gender-based violence (GBV) and harmful practices such as female genital mutilation (FGM) and child marriage has grown exponentially during the period of the pandemic, leaving many women and girls vulnerable. 

 

“UNFPA Kenya appreciates this timely and relevant partnership with Meiji Holdings Co., Ltd. By empowering women and girls economically, they can have a strong voice and participate in their community. The project will catalyze realization of the individual and collective potential of women and girls and reduce their vulnerability to discrimination and all forms of violence,” says UNFPA Kenya representative Dr. Ademola Olajide.

 

Mr. Shinji Matsuoka, Executive Officer, Sustainable Management Dept. Meiji Holdings Co., Ltd. says “It is a great pleasure to support women and girls at Kibera informal settlement. Meiji strongly hopes this partnership project will improve their livelihood”.  

 

Nairobi City County accounts for 45% of the entire corona cases in Kenya. A staggering 60% (2.5 million) of the Nairobi City County population live in informal settlements where social Covid-19 infection prevention and control measures such as social distancing and personal hygiene are not feasible due to congestion in residential areas, limited access to water, and awareness information and education. Fragile and constrained livelihoods in the informal settlements compel the population to embrace priorities that negate the need to address the Covid-19 pandemic.

 

“UNFPA is committed to the successful implementation of this project as a precursor of future collaboration and partnership with Meiji Holdings Co., Ltd. to showcase the critical role and relevance of the private sector in achieving sustainable development goals,” says Dr Olajide.

 

 

 

 

About UNFPA

UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, delivers a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe and every young person’s potential is fulfilled. Women and girls’ empowerment and prevention and response to gender-based violence and harmful practices including female genital mutilation are the core mandate of UNFPA.

 

About Meiji Holdings Co., Ltd.

Meiji Holdings Co., Ltd.  is a Japanese food company that mainly produces dairy products and chocolate.  The company aims at widening the world of “Tastiness and Enjoyment” and meet all expectations regarding “Health and Reassurance”. As “Food and Health” professionals, Meiji continues finding innovative ways to meet our customers’ needs, today and tomorrow.