Mumina Bonaya is a public servant and a development worker. Mumina Bonaya is the Climate Adaptation Fund (CAF) Coordinator at Adaptation Consortium. Mumina's role is to assist the five counties of Isiolo, Kitui, Makueni, Wajir, and Garissa in establishing and operationalizing CAF in preparation for climate finance.
Mumina's experience and passion for serving vulnerable populations (women, youth, and people with disabilities) continue to shape her leadership skills and strong conviction to see an empowered community and equality at all levels.
Mumina previously worked as the National Coordinator for the Foundation for Pastoralist Women (FPW) in Kenya. She was also the Chair of the Advisory Board of the Women Enterprise Fund (WEF), the government of Kenya's affirmative fund that exists to provide accessible and affordable credit/loans to women starting and/or expanding businesses in order to create wealth and employment.
I am an MA Gender and Development Studies student at the University of Nairobi, currently writing my project. I grew up in a family of over 14 siblings so I am a sister to many loving brothers and sisters. I am also a community worker, a people’s servant and a mother of one (a girl).
My engagement with people has always been at the grassroots level, mobilizing and organizing the community to get involved in their own socio-economic development, and this naturally meant I expanded my network to the political space as well by working with political leadership and personalities (both local and national). In the process, I ended up working with those who were supportive of the development work I was doing with the community and in return, I supported and campaigned for those I believed in. My appointment to the position, therefore, happened as a result of those networks I created but also due to my skills and competency to work and link local level (grassroots) and national level to achieve much more.
I grew up witnessing discrimination against the girl-child in the pastoralist set up which is a closed patriarchal society. I am very much aware of this discrimination even in my adulthood as women continue to face setbacks at all levels (education, family, leadership etc). In all my engagements and work, I have always made deliberate efforts to ensure women are not disadvantaged because of their gender so when I got appointed to Chair the Women Enterprise Fund Advisory Board, I was excited to have landed a platform to enhance the women empowerment agenda.
I grew up in Merti Sub-county, in one of the remotest villages in the furthest north of Isiolo County. As we all know getting an education in such a remote village is a challenge because there is a lack of infrastructure like roads, telecommunication, and other basic facilities. To begin with, it was by sheer luck that my parents agreed to take me and keep me in school. Many girls we grew up together had to drop out for one reason or the other.
From the onset, it was very clear to me that education would give me a chance to realize my dream life. I never wanted to compromise on my quest to get educated, I worked hard in school to get good grades. After high school, I was unable to join university even after scoring good grades because my parents could not afford the university fees. Instead, I joined Kagumo College to undertake a diploma in education since the fees were manageable but even then, I didn’t give up on undertaking my first degree. After graduating from Kagumo, I got employed by the board of governors and later TSC. I got posted to Nairobi School and Pangani girls. Later it is during this time that I enrolled myself to undertake my first degree at UON. I had to focus and self-drive to get myself educated despite challenges that would have made me forget about higher education.
My advice to those starting out their careers is for them to stay focused on realizing their dreams but more important to work on their skills and capacity because your competency at what you do is what will make you stand out at any given time.
Challenges will be there when you set out to achieve something but what is important is persistence which goes hand in hand with competency to realize your dreams.
Yes. especially because I was nominated by my staff at the Women Enterprise Fund. Most of the time as supervisors our thinking is; our juniors do not appreciate our efforts or even wish to see us around but my staff witnessed the milestones we realized together as a team. They were kind enough to appreciate me by having me nominated for Business Daily’s TOP 40 UNDER 40.
Yes, it has inspired me to achieve more. It is very rare to get recognition for what we do for others in life. This award has given a platform to many young women who would never have had a chance to have their work appreciated by outsiders except those they are impacting directly.
Two things motivate me. One is positively impacting one’s live and two, taking on a new challenge to realize success or reach greater milestones in the end.
I see myself serving my country and the region in advancing the socio-economic development of women, youth and other vulnerable groups.