Interviewing two women leaders
Author Anita Lintula
On one June afternoon, the board members of Mifuko Women Development CBO and Mifuko Trust gathered together. This second online meeting was facilitated by project workers Anita Lintula and Peter Manyolo. Because of the pandemic, the field trips planned for the spring 2021 were not possible. Instead they decided to stay in touch using online meetings.
In this meeting, Mari Martikainen interviewed Jane Mutala, Chairperson of the Mifuko Women Development CBO and Vilma Autio, previous Chairperson of Mifuko Trust. Please read more about these two active women below.
Tell us something about yourself?
Vilma: “I am an architect and I teach architecture at the university. I am a board member of Mifuko Trust and Ukumbi, which is a partner of the Wash and Grow! project. I am a mother of a small child and that’s why I am stepping down as chairperson right now to give more time to my family”.
Jane: “I am a leader of one of the women's self-help groups that weave baskets for Mifuko. I am a weaver and also a farmer. There are 10 people in my family.”
Why were you chosen to be a chairperson of Mifuko Trust / MWD?
Vilma: “I guess I have a strong passion and background for sustainable development, women’s rights and social inclusiveness. I also have a background of Kenyan context as I was living for 6 months in Kenya.”
Jane: “I don’t know exactly why but maybe because of my hard-working spirit. I am also the owner of the first ecological dry toilet (pilot). I have a lot of experience with composting and using urine in my field with good results.”
Vilma: “A good question. We shall have successfully implemented the ongoing Wash and Grow! project. Maybe the project has expanded and/or we have new projects. We work closely in cooperation with Mifuko Women Development CBO.”
Jane: “As we continue the good work we do in the Wash and Grow! project, the CBO will be stable and grow big and strong.”
Vilma: “I am inspired by the well-organised women that are working for Mifuko in Kenya. We have a good team and context to do projects.”
Jane: “I am inspired by the work we do and by the transparency of the organisation. We plan and monitor the project together with the project manager Peter Manyolo.”
What kind of challenges have you encountered while you've been a chairperson?
Vilma: “Covid-19 time has been challenging as we haven’t been able to visit the project site as planned. Mifuko Trust is a voluntary-based organisation which allows a lot of things but has its limitations also.”
Jane: “So far there hasn't been any major challenges.”
We asked Vilma what she wants to say to the next chairperson of Mifuko Trust?
Vilma: “Mifuko Trust is in very good hands with Minna Impiö (the current chairperson). Together with Minna we can support the work of Peter and Anita Lintula as they are doing the core work of the project of which I am very grateful.”
Jane adds that she is very happy with the Wash and Grow! project and of the time spent with Vilma when building the first dry toilet. She is content with the information about the ecological sanitation and dry toilets available in Swahili so she can easily continue the education of community members about the benefits of dry toilets. Jane has been using the urine and compost produced from the dry toilets in her field and the crops have been good.