Everyone who has lived in Kiambu for the last 30 years can confess to having interacted with Gladys Chania, her projects and initiatives, and even heard of her.
Gladys Chania is a self-made community servant with a heart of gold for the aged, youth, women, the disabled, and whoever she meets that needs her help in terms of words of advice or material things whenever she can.
A teacher by training, fondly known as Madam Chania or Sauti Mashinani, left the classroom two years after practicing, and since 1996 has been investing in the lives of people almost day and night because this cause does keep her awake at night.
“I have a deep desire to make a difference in the lives of people. I am not perfect. Nobody is. But I do my best with the little I have. I knock on doors, listen to others and try my best. All towards community service,” she says.
She felt limited by the walls of a classroom and decided to take a risk and venture into community service. “The risk was worth it, and I am a most satisfied woman. However, I want to take this service to a higher level as the woman representative of Kiambu County,” she says.
Madam Chania feels there is a gap in the county for a true champion of issues affecting families and people at the grassroots. As an individual who has fought for the rights of the aged, women, the disabled, and the youth for years, she believes she can serve and make a difference.
“I have years of evidence-based work working on HIV/Aids programs, prevention of mother-to-child infection, advocating for county free of alcohol and drug abuse, including illicit brew, through counseling, rehabilitation, and treatment of addicts. I have also worked with the youth on different farming projects and enabled benchmarking projects within Kiambu and other regions,” she says.
Madam Chania is passionate about health and was the focal point person for the Beyond Zero Campaign in Kiambu county on PEmtct(Early mother to child transmission) of HIV an initiative of First Lady Margaret Kenyatta. She has initiated at least two community health centres in the County with the help of the community e.g. Mutonya dispensary in Ruiru and Mukuyuini in Gatundu North. She continues to lobby for quality health care with her advocacy platform of Madam Chania Sauti Mashinani. She is serving as a member of the board of management of Thika level 5 hospital, and also chair of the quality of care committee.
Madam Chania is also an active crusader against Sexual and Gender-Based Violence and sits at the County Technical Working Group as the Co-Chair of the sensitization and prevention committee.
She works closely with the youth on the Annual Mashujaa Awards, Mr. & Mrs. Birmingham (Kenya), and Amo La Moda (I Love Fashion) to transform the lives of young people.
Madam Chania was last year, 2021, recognised by the National Gender and Equality Commission (NGEC) for her efforts in gender inclusivity, and also has an award in leadership and a Presidential Recognition on Advocacy for Alcohol and Drug Abuse.
Madam Chania holds a Bachelor Degree in Sociology from Phoenix University, Arizona, and a Masters Degree in Child and Adult Psychology from Leicester University.
On how she fits into the current political scene in Kenya, Madam Chania prides herself to be a member of Kanu, but as an individual affiliated to Azimio la Umoja.
Madam Chania believes she has built a relationship with the people of Kiambu County spanning many years, and they will see her as a safe pair of experienced and selfless capable hands to continue her transformation agenda as their County Woman Representative.
Nduaci Wairimu says, “Madam Chania is selfless and seeks to serve. She mingles with the people with ease and has no sense of self-importance. She is a leader Kiambu will be proud to have.”
Madam Chania is born and brought up in Thika. She is married in Gatundu South but has invested in Gatundu North. She is blessed with three children.
Madam Chania’s service to the community started more than 30 years ago, immediately after school as a Kenya Red Society Youth. She was a pioneer founding member of the Thika Kenya Red Cross Society Branch. She has mentored tens of youths, some holding leadership positions at the county assembly, directors in different boards, police bosses in stations, financial experts, and bankers.