Jill Biden Marvells at Kenyan Women Chama Concept
The First Lady of the United States, Jill Biden, marvelled at the efforts made by Kenyan women in pursuit of financial independence through table banking groups, popularly known as ‘chamas’.
After witnessing a chama session in Kibera, Nairobi, on Saturday, February 25, the US first lady described the efforts as impressive and a manifestation of women’s resilience in empowering themselves economically.
The women in the session demonstrated the process followed in borrowing and saving through table banking groups as the FLOTUS watched.
“Thank you for inviting me to see how you create financial independence for yourselves. You are really an impressive group,” she stated.
First Lady of the United States Jill Biden (in blue dress) and Kenya’s First Lady Rachel Ruto (third from right) after a meeting with a group of women in Nairobi on February 25, 2023.
Jill Biden was accompanied by Kenya’s First Lady Rachel Ruto, the matron of Joyful Women which is a popular table banking group in Kenya.
In her remarks, the Kenyan First Lady noted that she conceived the plan to establish table banking groups in the 1990s to help dozens of needy women.
She recounted one particular moment when she came across a woman in Eldoret walking barefoot, while campaigning for her husband, President William Ruto, in his maiden election.
According to her, the encounter inspired her to devise a way of empowering women in the area- before the initiative was later upscaled to cover more parts of Kenya.
Mama Rachel also vowed to support the chama in the digitisation of its operations to enhance efficiency.
Further, the first lady noted that she would involve more young women in the table banking process by ensuring that the credit facilities are accessible via mobile phones.
“We are in the process of digitising our activities and the table banking concept so that moving forward we can be incorporating the young people and manage to be working through our phones,” Rachel noted.
Jill Biden was in the country on the second day of her three-day visit to Kenya.
US First Lady Jill Biden poses for a photo with Kenyan flower girls shortly after arriving at the JKIA on February 24, 2023. Looking on are Kenya’s First Lady Rachel Ruto (second from right) and other dignitaries.