Meru Garden Project Latest Report 2019

Shirley Whiteway Regional Ambassador- Meru Garden Project

Congratulations – well over £12,000 raised in CNWW Region so far

The amount raised in April  this year was £6,148.36 – and this amount has been transferred.

I look forward to hearing the amount that receive in matched funding during April in due course, and will let you know in my next report.

Cheshire North Wales & Wirral Region continues to do exceptionally well, and a very big thank you for the hard work that continues across our Region in support of The Meru Garden Project. Our last big Regional raffle for this project will take place at the Regional Meeting in June. Again my sincere thank you to you all.

DOUBLE YOUR IMPACT IN MERU BETWEEN FEB-APRIL 2019 is excited to share some news with you about Meru! If Soroptimists fundraise for the Meru Women’s Garden Project during the Team Mum appeal (1 Feb – 30 April), all donations will be matched by the UK government, giving your donations double the impact!
All the money you raise in donations will go towards the Meru Women’s Garden Project (just as it normally would). However much you raise, the UK government will match up to a total of £2 million and give the same amount to to spend on new pregnancy support groups in Meru.
Find out more at: ​​ or email me on ​ Amanjit Dhillon, Partnerships Manager

Summary note Year 2 (March 2018 – February 2019) report from Amanjit

The Agricultural Training has gone extremely well and we worked with 9 groups of 253 women in Lairangi ​community which is​ 25 kilometers​ from the CIFORD centre (based in Muthara). Groups had good attendance and we distributed 10 water tanks amongst them as well as tools and seeds to help grow and maintain their gardens.​ The curriculum stayed the same and can be viewed further down in the report in the intervention overviews. Similarly to the year 1 intake, groups were given a choice on what topics they wanted to cover each week and they helped to shape the curriculum to fit with their needs.

The ARP sessions in year two were well attended with us holding two sessions, one in August and one in December with a total turnout of 149 girls. We have seen a huge increase in interest and attendance to the ARP sessions and have reached 29 more girls this year than we originally planned.​ 47 girls had to be turned away from the week long ARP in December due to over capacity as the CIFORD centre did not have enough room for the girls to sleep and sanitation is an issue as the centre only has two toilets.

A boys forum ran alongside the ARP in a different location and the turnout for this was 48 boys out of a target of 60. There is still some work to be done within the community to help the boys and their parents understand the importance of a boys forum and to address some of the stigma the boys may face for attending the sessions. However, this is the most successful boys forum we have ran and the feedback was hugely positive. The ARP and boys forum graduations took place at the same time and was well received by the entire community.

In year two we launched the first Mother’s Nutritional Training groups. We originally planned to work with 3 groups of 60 over sixth months and then repeat. In the end we ended up working with 5 groups of 83 mother’s over 6 months. This change was due to high demand for the trainings. Therefore, we split them into 5 groups rather than 3 as it was logistically easier to manage. The groups met once a month and received training sessions either at the CIFORD centre or within their community. The main challenges faced were the distances some of the mother’s had to travel to attend the groups, with some walking up to 2 hours one way to attend the groups. This shows a real need for these type of peer support groups within these communities. Due to the success of the MNT sessions and the feedback from the mother’s we have used their case studies for our recent ​Team Mum appeal. ​Mother’s Donata, Winfred, Conzolata, Catherine​, Ruth, Mercy and Lilian​ ​who are featured in our campaign have all attended the SIGBI funded Mother’s Nutritional Training and discuss what challenges they faced whilst being pregnant and then once their babies were born.
Other news

In January this year myself and Clare our Programme Officer with UK Grants met with Barbara Dixon and Kay Richmond for an official handover of the project to Kay.
We discussed what has worked well recently and what can be improved. We agreed the new monthly, quarterly and annual reporting is enough information to keep members informed and updated with the latest information. However, the circulation of these reports needs to be more widely organised amongst members as not all of the members are receiving the information.

All annual reports are available on the Meru website on the homepage and every
monthly and quarterly report is sent out to and available from 17 different ambassadors across the federation. You can also sign-up to receive these updates via the meru newsletter – this is a new feature and will allow those wanting updates personally to receive them: