In November 2015, Child.org were elected as our Federation Project partner 2016-19 with our new partner CIFORD in Meru, Kenya. The project is an agricultural training programme for women called Meru Women’s Garden Project.
The project launched on International Women’s Day in March 2016 and since then, Soroptimists from all over the UK and beyond, have been engaging in fundraising activities. We have working with Child.org who are on the ground in the area together with CIFORD. They ensure that funds raised by Soroptimists are used wisely and conduct the training.
Three years on and almost £150,000 has been raised, our target. This is a remarkable achievement and has made so much difference to the women in Meru who participated.
Initially time was spent talking to Community Leaders in this area of extreme poverty and malnutrition and convincing them this was a worthwhile project. Women, all the lead in their households with no adult male to support them, commenced a 3 month session of weekly training and this resulted in 198 women who were committed to take part in a 12 month hands on training session which includes understanding soil. reasons for growing different crops, how to deal with a drought situation, conflict resolution when working with others, how to keep accounts, health and sanitation, fgm and more.
Now none of the women have to buy vegetables. Their children are fed and can go to school. They understand the dangers of fgm and realise it is not a good thing. They are growing food to sell and produce seeds for future crops. Their voices are being heard in their community, respect is growing for these women who are being educated, enabled and empowered to reach their full potential.