Esther MwauraFOUNDER Kenya
Esther Mwaura-Muiru has dictated the last over 20 years to empower organized grassroots women to effectively participate in leadership. Her passion to empower women began with determination to move herself out of poverty. To supplement her sustenance and tuition at the university, Esther made close alliances with feminists’ lecturers during her studies. She thus was engaged as a research assistant on issues like women economic empowerment, violence against women, women political participation and women land rights. As a young woman, she actively participated in the 1994/1995 national preparatory activities in Kenya towards the 4th UN Conference. Consequently, at 25 years of age, she was among the young women that attended the Beijing Conference in China in 1995. It was at the Beijing conference that Esther was inspired by grassroots women who spoke eloquently about their priorities and was convinced that women living in poverty deserved a platform to organize and engage in development effectively. Immediately after returning to Kenya, she founded GROOTS Kenya which for her is clear evidence that UN conferences like Beijing are a trigger for positive action. As the founder and National Coordinator, Esther has since led GROOTS Kenya which is now a force to reckon with in the field of gender equality and women’s empowerment in Kenya. With over 3000 organized women groups, the organizations invest in ensuring grassroots women utilize their collective power to support each other to advance their economic, social and political empowerment. Esther has led in designing strategies and models like Home based care alliance, Community-led land watchdogs, Community-led public land mapping and the Gender tracking tool. These have not only supported grassroots women demonstrate their capacities in leading change but are significant tools for communities to drive demand for accountability among public leaders and institutions. 2015 is a very important year for Esther and GROOTS Kenya as the world celebrates 20 years of women’s advancement since Beijing.