Interview: Mumina Bonaya – #Top40Under40KE Woman 2016


Mumina Bonaya is a development worker and a public servant.  Mumina Bonaya works as the Coordinator Climate Adaptation Fund (CAF) at Adaptation Consortium. Mumina’s role is to provide support to the five counties of Isiolo, Kitui, Makueni, Wajir and Garissa in setting up and operationalising CAF in readiness of climate finance.

Mumina’s experience and passion for serving special groups (Women, Youth and PWD) continues to shape up her leadership skills and strong conviction to see empowered community and equality at all levels.

Prior to joining ADA, Mumina worked as National Coordinator for Foundation for Pastoralist Women (FPW). She was responsible for day to day running of the institution that advocates and advances Gender Equality and Women Empowerment in the eleven (11) ASAL Counties of Kenya. She also was the Chair of the Advisory Board of Women Enterprise Fund (WEF), the government of Kenya’s affirmative fund that exists to provide accessible and affordable credit/loan to support women start and/or expand business for wealth and employment creation.

Mumina was one of the Top 40 Under 40 women finalists for 2017.

  1. Tell us a bit about yourself and tell us about your typical day

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, people’s servant and a mother of one (girl).

  1. How did you end up doing this job?

 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.

  1. Is this what you thought you would be doing when you grew up?

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.

  1. What are the challenges you have faced?

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 challange because there is 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 get educated, I worked hard in school to get good grades. After my 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 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 focus and self-drive to get myself educated despite challenges that would have made me forget about a higher education.

  1. What advice would you give somebody who is just starting out in their career who wants to do what you do?

My advice to those starting out their careers is for them stay focused in 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 that goes hand in hand with competency to realize your dreams.

  1. Were you shocked at your Top 40 Under 40 nomination? 

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.

  1. Has the nomination changed your life in any way?

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.

  1. What motivates you to do what you do?

Two things motivate me. One is positively impacting ones live and two, taking on a new challenge to realize success or reach greater milestones in the end.

  1. Where do you see yourself in the next 10 years?

I see myself serving my country and the region in advancing the socio-economic development of the women, youth and other vulnerable groups.

You now have a chance to nominate women who are doing stuff for the community for Top 40 Under 40 for women. Don’t let this opportunity pass you by. You can also nominate yourself. Here is the link.

If you would like to interact with Mumina Bonaya you can find her on twitter as @MuminaBonaya and Facebook.

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