MERU WOMEN’S GARDEN PROJECT
MARCH 2017 UPDATE
- £56,471.73 has already been raised by SIGBI Clubs – well on the way to achieving our objective of £150,000
- In negotiation with SIGBI £1,133.50 was spent on an Alternative Rites of Passage weekend in July ‘16. This aimed to inform girls of the realities of FGM, dispel myths and enable them to make informed choices where possible. Research in this area has shown that many girls choose be circumcised rather than be forced.
- Before training 67% said FGM is a necessary part of growing up. When asked at the end of the weekend less than 6% thought so. 100% of attendees said they’d recommend it to their friends.
- Two more ARPs are planned for August and December 2017 funded by SIGBI.
- We are also funding a boys forum for 60 boys from the local community planned and delivered by CIFORD. This aims to help them deal with issues of drugs and alcohol as well as educating them on gender issues.
- CIFORD has undertaken research in local communities; talking with local governors and chiefs and holding public meetings. As a result communities have been identified for the garden project and training began for four groups at the beginning of April. These come from the following areas: Barake – 69 women, Mutethia – 43 women, Lachathuriu – 34 women, Mwendwa Rii – 48 women, 4 men. A total of 198 to be trained by March 2018
- These groups are currently undertaking classroom training on agricultural and farming methods
- Throughout the programme surveys will be carried out by CIFORD and Child.org interns. These will provide data to better plan each part of the course and judge impact.
- CIFORD/Child.org are currently planning a Mother’s Nutritional Training Programme which will be funded by our funds. This will replace the planned school gardens which were found to be unsustainable due to limited land.
WHY DO WE NEED TO CONTINUE TO RAISE FUNDS?
The MWGP supports some of the poorest women-led households in Kenya and focuses on providing opportunities for women and girls who may never otherwise be given the chance to earn an income, giving them status within their community.
It fully embraces the three key areas at the heart of SIGBI’s Programme Focus Goals – Educate, Empower and Enable. Improved food production and education will support women and girls to transform their lives and those of others through a process of cascade learning and mentoring thereby reducing poverty, improving health and increasing employment
The project is run on the ground by CIFORD (Community Initiative for Rural Development) and overseen by our partner, Child.org. CIFORD is inspirationally led by Margaret Ikiara, a member of SI Meru. Margaret has 27 years of experience in husbandry, agricultural economics, teaching and community development and she is dedicated to improving the lives of women in her home region of Meru.
- HIV/AIDs are prevalent in the region.
- 41% of women and girls are grossly or borderline malnourished
- 55% live a hand to mouth existence in agriculture using methods which degrade the land
- 22% have no formal education, only 11% complete secondary education
- 8/9% achieve minimum levels for literacy & numeracy compared to 85/87% in Nairobi
- 31% of women have undergone FGM
The MWGP aims to support women to establish a sustainable food garden which will enable them to feed their families and even earn a small income by selling excess produce at local markets. Using an established model, the project provides seeds, agricultural equipment and relevant technical advice. The women are trained and mentored throughout and have access to formal and informal agricultural learning opportunities.
Eco-Stoves are introduced to reduce the degradation of the forest. This aims to reduce wood use by three fifths.
At the end of the year the women will be offered a mentor for a second year. Those with leadership potential will be trained to take on the role of mentor/trainer.
The legacy of the MWGP:
- the project is sustainable and easily replicable
- more women and girls will live above the poverty line with improved life chances, and they will be able to care for their dependants more effectively
- women and girls will have a greater chance of survival, safety and status in their community
- the number of beneficiaries will continue to grow through the cascade system of passing on knowledge and understanding
- women will become role models for others without conventional academic skills
It will transform lives whilst supporting SIGBI’s Programme Focus Goals and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals particularly ending poverty and achieving food security and gender equality.
For more information please follow the links below: