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Date: 05-21-2021

By CRAWN Trust

At the inception of the WVL project, CRAWN Trust engaged its beneficiaries and stakeholders in needs assessment on various women issues. The economic empowerment and emancipation of women was identified as one of the priority issues for Kenyan women as it had the potential to unlock other benefits and quality of life for women, and would further contribute to gender national development and positive gender outcomes. CRAWN Trust thus included a Women Economic Forum as one of its interventions towards this. This forum targeted 500 persons and would include highlights on various economic opportunities.
CRAWN Trust convened a two-day Women Economic Forum between 24th and 25th February 2021. A total viewership of 13,437 was recorded to date, with 74.3% of the participants being females and 25.7 being male.

A majority of the participants were from the WROs sensitized by CRAWN Trust under WVL and other members of the women movement. Through the forum, participants were sensitized on different opportunities for economic/* growth. Various women entrepreneurs engaged in experience sharing of their personal stories on best practices and lessons learnt in the journey to being trailblazers in their businesses and enterprises. Speakers demystified topics such as manufacturing which intimidate some women as the term brings to mind big industries and machinery. Participants were made to appreciate that one can engage in manufacturing from the household level and grow their enterprise, and this does not necessarily need huge capital or specialization. This enlightened the participants who mentioned that they felt inspired to start their journey to economic freedom with the resources and skills at their disposal.

Another topic covered was the access to financial products and the Government's program offering credit guarantee schemes for women MSMEs in collaborating financial institutions. Participants expressed their confidence in seeking these funds to revive their businesses post COVID-19 as the risk was reduced. It is expected that women MSMEs will get the needed funds to enable them to adapt their service provision to prevailing needs and expand their operations, guaranteeing economic recovery.

CRAWN Trust intends to further the women agendas through collaborations with like- minded institutions for the communication and advocacy on the issues facing marginalized groups such as the State department of gender in Kenya which expressed commitment to look into the Women Economic forum report and policy recommendations from the Women and the economy policy brief. In addition, we have been seeking out opportunities for driving the women agenda following expressed collaborations and identified opportunities during and after the forum such as with working with the Women Empowerment Hub of the Africa Study Center in a three-year engagement on economic empowerment as well as the private sector such as banks