Meru Women’s Garden Project Update

Patricia Gatherum was delighted to inform delegates that the project is now well established and going well.

Agricultural training is in full flow. There are now 5 groups consisting of 194 women and 4 men. These groups were selected by Margaret Ikiera of CIFORD( community initiative for rural development),village chiefs and Elders because they showed commitment to attend and had greatest need.  They will graduate next April.

They are being taught to be self reliant in agriculture and to grow in confidence. A financial tool has been introduced so that Margaret can keep  track on spending. She is also able to monitor attendance using an evaluation tool. These tools will enable future groups to continue this good practice.

As well as kale, onions and spinach, they are now producing seedlings in 3 nurseries, to sell during the rainy season as an alternative source of income. Some of these seedlings will eventually be planted on their own farms. They have just received 20, 3,000 litre water tanks, all with Soroptimist International of Great Britain and Ireland on them. These will mean that they will no longer have to walk many miles to wells. Another 20 are expected soon.

The women on this programme are very resourceful. When they heard that there were plastic chairs for sale locally, they bought some with their own money and they now use them to sit on at training sessions. They even rented them out for meetings during the election.

CIFORD continue to hold workshops for girls about the facts and dangers of FGM. These workshops teach the girls that FGM is not something you have to endure to become a woman.

They have also held one for boys to help them to understand the training the girls are having and why.

We were delighted to be joined by Amanjit Dhillon and Martina Gant from Child.org. It was a wonderful opportunity for them to get to know Soroptimists and vice versa. They also worked very hard on our stall updating everyone on progress in Meru and selling raffle tickets.

Programme Director Barbara Dixon made a beautiful patchwork quilt to be raffled at conference and this raised an amazing £640. Thank you to Barbara and to all those who helped us to sell the tickets.

Two years ago we set out to raise £152,716. To date you have raised £88,430. That leaves £63,286 . We have 16 months to achieve our goal. I know we can do it. Last month alone you raised £10 thousand . Please continue everyone, remember even if you have not raised any money yet it is never too late.

Thank you.

Patricia Gatherum, Federation Project Liaison