In March, 2011, Dr. J. Riria was presented with the “Distinguished Pure and Natural Woman Award” by BIDCO and James R. Jordan Foundation International.
In the same month, the institution that she heads as the Group CEO – Kenya Women Finance Trust Deposit Taking Microfinance received the, 2011 Excellence Leadership Award from the Women’s World Banking and the Master Card Foundation. This is an award in recognition of Principled Leadership, Financial and Social Performance, and commitment to gender diversity among WWB’S 39 affiliates from Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin America and the Middle East.
In March, 2011 she was also elected the Chair of Women’s World Banking, a network of microfinance institutions serving low income families in 40 countries of the world drawn from Asia, Africa, Latin America and Eastern Europe. She has spent all her adult life in building and contributing to systems that empower the majority; and in particular women’s empowerment and development.
Dr. Riria holds the current Chair of Microfinance Institutions in Kenya, which has 44 microfinance institutions as its members. Her drive is to position microfinance industry in the mainstream financial sector because she believes that microfinance has the capacity to put resources in poor people’s hands and empower them to transform their lives.
Dr. Riria was included into the 2009/2010 Heritage WHO’S WHO in Business Leaders and Professional Registry.
In 2006, she was awarded the Moran of the Burning Spear (MBS) for her contribution to development in Kenya.
Dr. Riria’s recognition awards have followed her in every initiative that she undertakes. Suffice it to say that Dr. Riria is a distinguished leader, Microfinance Banker and Practitioner, Researcher, and Gender Specialist. She is an institutional builder and has served on many Boards both locally and internationally.
She led Kenya Women Finance Trust through a transformation process that culminated in the institution being awarded a Deposit Taking license by Central Bank in April, 2010. Within six months after receiving the license, the institutional operation broke even and recorded a profit of 415 million Kenya Shillings before tax. This is outstanding performance. In such situations, leadership is key! Kenya women is the first regulated microfinance institution to break even and continue building capacity to serve more women and their families in Kenya and in the regions.
Her passion for empowering, positioning and advocating for women permeates through al programmes of the Kenya Women Group.