Emmy Apoo posing for a photograph after the launch of #VoteADada campaign in Turkana County. Photo/Joyce Kabue/Oxfam

Adding the voices of women into mainstream politics

Women from Turkana take up mainstream politics, story of Emmy Apoo

“We as women need to support other women. If we don’t support the women who are vying, we will not get ahead.” Emmy Apoo. “We also need civic education for everyone. We want more people and especially women taught on the importance of voting, and more importantly voting for women who are able to bring about change. This will be a wake up call to the public, both men and women” says Emmy

Emmy Loyanae Apoo a 37-year-old mother of four and entrepreneur from Turkana aspires to join mainstream politics in the 2017 Kenya general elections. She is an aspiring Member of County Assembly (MCA) seat, Turkana East Kapedo/Napeitom Ward.

Previously, Emmy worked as Constituency Fund Officer, Turkana East for 3 years starting March 2012 up until May 2015. She currently runs a clothes shop in Lodwar Town while preparing to run her public campaign for the MCA position. Emmy’s interest in vying for political office started after seeing the suffering of her people. “My people are not getting good representation. I need to represent my people to ensure they get good services” Emmy Apoo

If elected, Emmy believes she will be an effective leader because she is a woman and a mother and will bring about real change. She wants to make sure her people receive government services because they are not receiving these services. As a girl who was lucky to go to school, she also wants to promote girl child education because girls from her area get married very young when, they are still too young to take up family responsibilities.

Emmy also wants to promote women entrepreneurship, which will bring about economic growth. “When women start businesses, they ensure they support their families.” Says Emmy.

The journey is not easy for Emmy and other women aspiring for political leadership in Kenya. Some of these challenges include; financial constraints, inadequate technical capacity, backward culture which does not recognise women as leaders and hard-hitting competition from men vying for the same positions. Emmy notes that the Turkana culture is not supportive of women as leaders.

For women to succeed in political leadership…

“We as women need to support other women. If we don’t support the women who are vying, we will not get ahead.” Emmy Apoo.

“We also need civic education for everyone. We want more people and especially women taught on the importance of voting, and more importantly voting for women who are able to bring about change. This will be a wake up call to the public, both men and women” says Emmy “We women must get rid of the notion that we cannot make it in political leadership.” Emmy Apoo

Oxfam, Youth Agenda and FIDA Kenya, through funding from European Union, will over the next year work towards increasing participation and representation of women in political leadership in the 2017 elections under the #VoteADada campaign. The campaign aims to strengthen the implementation of electoral laws to facilitate women participation in the electoral process, increase the capacity of women to competitively participate in political processes and issue based politics. The #VoteADada campaign will also work on influencing voter endorsement in order to have more people voting for women.

Join the conversation online via the official hash tag #VoteADada and be part of the movement that is closing the gender gap.