Author: Mrembo Foundation

Women, children bear the brunt of rising poverty

Women continue to experience worse forms of poverty compared to their male counterparts, a new report by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) indicates.

The study said females suffered higher deprivation as recorded by its Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI), which looks at various indicators including health, education and living standards.

Overall, the statistics indicate that more than 65 percent of women are all-round poor compared to 56 percent of men. It also shows that on average women experienced 4.5 deprivations, out of the seven basic needs that were analysed. This compares to 4.3 for men.

The 2020 poverty report is the country’s first attempt to comprehensively analyse poverty, drawing data from various sources including the 2015/16 Kenya Integrated Household Budget Survey.

The MPI is seen as a more holistic approach of measuring poverty rates than analysing income alone. It is based on seven indicators – malnutrition, education and sanitation, water, housing, economic activity, and information.

If people are deprived in three or more areas, they are identified as “MPI poor”.


The survey revealed that young women aged 18 to 34 years were most likely to be deprived of education (illiterate), economic activity (without a source of income) and information compared to their male peers. It also found out that about 46 percent of the young women were unemployed compared to 34 percent of young men.

Additionally, about 13 percent of the women were found to be illiterate while 56 percent lacked access to information. Only 11 and 49 percent of young men lacked education and information, respectively. The statistics also revealed that older women faced deprivation over a larger number of indicators compared to their male age mates.

The report said that 76 percent of women aged 39 to 54 were illiterate as they were found to be deprived of secondary or higher education, which was more than 62 percent of the men. About 81 percent of this women group was also deprived of access to the labour market compared to 67 percent of the adult men.

Poverty contributors

Additionally, more than 68 percent of elderly women experienced deficiency across more indicators on the MPI than men at 48 percent. In general, the report found that six out of 10 adult women and men aged between 35 and 59 were MPI poor.

It also found that 53 percent of Kenyans were all-round poor while about 23.4 percent of the country’s population was deprived of at least three basic needs, services and rights.

Additionally, the study established that education, housing and economic activity were the largest contributors to poverty in both women and men.

Deprivation was also found to be higher in rural areas across all dimensions while education and economic activity deprivation were greatest contributors of poverty in urban centres.

Children, from infancy to those aged 17 years were found to be lacking nutrition, proper sanitation and housing. Besides children were also found to contribute more to poverty as the study established that one in two poor people in the country was a child.

“We now know what the greatest deprivations for children are in each county and where the resources are going. In some cases counties may realise that there is a mismatch and that budgets need to be spent differently to make a real difference for children, the young people and women,” said Unicef Kenya Representative, Maniza Zaman.

The report prepared by KNBS in collaboration with Unicef and UN Women is set to inform gender-sensitive policy planning and highlight areas and sectors that are in dire need of funding to ensure the holistic growth of the economy and equality.

The survey was published at the backdrop of the global MPI launched in mid-July that explored other dimensions of poverty. The study found that deprivation in access to clean cooking fuel persisted across the world with 20.4 percent of people in the developing countries covered lacking access to it.

Absolute figures indicate that 1.2 billion lack access to clean cooking fuel, 687 million are without electricity and 1.03 billion have substandard housing materials. The report also established that about 84.3 percent of the world’s MPI poor people live in Sub-Saharan Africa (558 million) and South Asia (530 million).

“The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) explicitly include a target on reducing multidimensional poverty. In particular, SDG target 2.1 refers to reducing by half the proportion of women, men and children living in poverty in all its dimensions. This report provides the baseline against which to evaluate our progress towards this goal,” said Treasury Cabinet Secretary, Ukur Yatani.

Rising poverty

The report also took into account monetary poverty where it established that more than one in every three Kenyans is monetary poor. Monetary poverty was also higher among the youth in rural areas at 40 percent, compared to those residing in urban centres, at 29 percent.

Poverty levels are projected to worsen in the short-term as the economy stays under pressure due to the Covid-19 pandemic-related disruption of key growth sectors such as manufacturing, trade, tourism and real state.

Kenya’s economic growth slowed to 4.9 percent in the first quarter of this year from 5.5 percent a year earlier, hurt by the uncertainty created by the coronavirus pandemic.

“The economy was affected by the resultant uncertainty that was already slowing economic activity in some of the country’s major trading partners,” the KNBS said in June.

The National Treasury projects economic growth will slow to 2.5 percent this year from 5.4 percent in 2019. The pandemic has triggered mass job losses as companies downsized operations to stay afloat.

Data by KNBS shows that the number of people not in the active labour force increased by 5.1 percent (or 435,369 people) to 8.53 million in the first quarter of this year, worsening the dependency ratio. In the previous quarter, 8.09 million people were not in the active labour force.

Domestic violence costs Kenya Sh5bn every year

Kenya loses about Sh5 billion every year as a consequence of absenteeism of working women suffering domestic abuse, underlining the huge economic cost of gender-based violence on the economy, a report by audit firm KPMG and telecommunications giant Vodafone shows.

The survey that covered nine countries globally shows that in the past 12 months, an estimated 505, 000 women in Kenya have been forced to take time off work because of domestic violence, drastically hurting their productivity and that of private as well as public sector institutions.

This is more than double that in South Africa which had about 238,000 women skipping work in the period, the report dubbed ‘The workplace impacts of domestic violence and abuse’ shows.

“As this only captures estimates of female victims of domestic violence and abuse, the overall impacts covering male victims also, is likely to be higher,” the report says.

“At an economy level, this can translate to reduced economic output and productivity as well as fiscal impacts linked to the reduction in income-related tax revenues from lower earnings of domestic violence and abuse victims and due to reduced company output.”

Companies like Safaricom have stepped up efforts to help their female workers experiencing domestic violence by setting up toll-free line to help them access psychological help support, hospitals and report the incidents to the police.

How to position yourself for success in the beauty industry

We were proud to host Anne Mwikali, an upcoming cosmetologist for an empowerment workshop at Mrembo on 6th November. She shared on her experience handling clients and positioning yourself for success in the beauty industry. Here are our favourite takeaways from the session:

A. Creating an encouraging workplace environment

  1. Teamwork is the key to enjoying your workplace(always assist your colleagues).
  2. Do more than expected. Go out of your way to serve others.
  3. Share knowledge. The only way to learn more is to share more of what you already know and make others be willing to share what they know.
  4. Approach clients politely and with respect.
  5. Attend seminars/conferences on hairdressing in order network with peers and increase and/or improve your skillset.
  6. Be passionate about your work. Clients can tell. Maximise your growth potential by being self-driven. Volunteer in salons around your area to learn more and gain experience.
  7. Start small. Everything you learn along the way will be valuable for your career in the long-term.

B. Rapport

Rapport is a relationship of accord, harmony, and affinity in regards to your clients. Where there’s rapport people feel loved, appreciated, wanted; and they want to be in that environment.

The building blocks of rapport:

  1. Understand yourself. You need to be aware of your strengths and weaknesses.
  2. Understand your client. Be observant, listen genuinely to your client and find out their history.
  3. Manage your relationship. You are the professional, act like it.
  4. Manage your service. Do as you’ve promised and when working work with excitement and energy. Understand what you are doing. Ensure you know what procedures you’re to perform and how they should be done. You can’t avoid mistakes, but make an effort to minimise them. Seek knowledge.
Subscribe to my YouTube Channel

Barriers to rapport:

  1. Personality differences.
  2. Blame games and judgement.
  3. Cultural differences.
  4. Different goals and expectations.
  5. Service delivery problems.

Any of the above can stop you from being building rapport with your client. Be aware and work towards avoiding the barriers. The more professional you are, the less likely the chances of you failing to build rapport with your client.

C. Types of clients

  1. Cooperators – They love to make people happy. They are difficult clients. They accept everything you tell them which is why it is a challenge to work with them.
  2. Energizers – They are very outgoing and will try out new fashion styles. They have a problem when you do things the wrong way. They’re difficult to calm down once annoyed but good as friends.
  3. Analysers – They rarely speak out their minds. They are difficult to handle because they communicate via body language. Aa salon with an analyser will benefit from their knowledge. They always go by facts.
  4. Regulators – They are thinkers, very strict and need to be handled very quickly. Give them the service they want, they don’t like to discuss.

D. Understanding the service

  1. This begins by you welcoming the client and trying to establish rapport via greetings.
  2. It is followed by a general assessment, consultation and listening to the client’s request while asking relevant questions to determine their needs. Listen carefully to the answers and concerns of your client.
  3. Remember to have a general agreement on what should be done and share your plan with the client while encouraging their participation in the process/procedure.
  4. Delivery, this is equal to a partnership, the client has to follow your instructions. Manage your relationships and make sure you don’t give up on your client.
  5. Solve the problems slowly and professionally without involving other people. Remember that you’re in control.
  6. Manage the service by ensuring the service is carried out properly and at a suitable pace.

E. Self-esteem

  1. Self-esteem is an individual’s subjective evaluation of their own worth. It is a contribution of many factors:
  2. Sincerity – when you’re sincere, you gain confidence in your abilities.
  3. Patience – this increases rapport with your client.
  4. Cleanliness – the cleaner you and your surroundings are, the higher your self-esteem.
  5. Background – how you grew up, where you live and other similar factors can either increase or decrease your self-esteem.

Being aware of these factors will help you be more professional in your approach towards your craft.

All in all, remain focussed and offer the best service to your clients if you would like to nurture your career towards success. Always work for tips because clients must pay for the service, but going out of your way will earn you the extra income, and most importantly, believe in yourself.