Kenya Association of Women in Tourism
The Kenya Association of Women in Tourism (KAWT) is a non-profit association, whose primary mandate is to provide a platform for women’s empowerment through engagement, employment and participation in the tourism industry.
Through its advocacy and networks, it aims to bring gender aspects of tourism to the attention of policy makers, especially the issues of women’s employment in the tourism industry as well as women’s participation in tourism planning, management and development.
The Association is responding to a growing interest in opportunities in tourism as well as a need for a formal platform for women’s voice in one of the country’s key economic pillars.
For sustainable development in tourism as in other industries, women who are half the population in any given demographic estimates should be given an opportunity to participate fully. The area of tourism is particularly suitable to stress the integrated approach to environmental, social-political and economic aspects of the concept of sustainable development.
Tourism has demonstrated its potential for creating jobs and encouraging income-generating activities to benefit communities in destination countries.
The tourism sector definitely provides various entry points for women’s employment at the highest levels in the industry and opportunities for creating self-employment in small and medium sized income generating activities, thus creating paths towards the elimination of poverty of women and communities in tourist destination countries. Women have demonstrated entrepreneurial and management abilities that are, in general, under-utilized and their abilities should also be applied within larger firms and organizations within the industry.
There is considerable wealth in tourism into which women must be helped to tap. However, there are a number of conditions under which this potential can be used more effectively. One of this is the creation of a platform that
Would facilitate collaboration of all stakeholders – governments and intergovernmental bodies, local government, industry, trade unions, local communities and their different member groups, NGOs, community based tourism initiatives, etc. Increasing the use of tourism’s potential whilst safeguarding the natural environment and cultural heritage and increasing social, political and economic justice should be the goal of further tourism development and is definitely the goal and raison d’être of KWAT.
In addition, integrating gender perspectives into the discussion of tourism is particularly important as the tourism industry is a potential major employer of women, offers various opportunities for independent income generating activities, and at the same time affects women’s lives in destination communities.
- To unite and mobilize women in the tourism and hospitality sector to take an active role in the promotion of tourism in Kenya and come up with programs that promote and enhance social harmony.
- To advocate among women the spirit of self-esteem, self-confidence, self-reliance and self-improvement to enhance women’s overall competence and development.
- To participate in the formulation of laws, regulations and policies concerning women and children thus promoting implementation of national programs for their development and overall well being.
- To serve women and children in close cooperation with all sectors of the society; to mobilize and coordinate all social forces to develop supportive services for women and children.
- To train and mentor the upcoming tourism and hospitality practitioners to prepare them for the job market and enhance their performance through provision of best practises.
- To actively develop friendly exchanges with women and women’s organizations both locally globally with a view to strengthening mutual understanding, friendship and cooperation.