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Meru Women’s Garden Project – an update

So far Meru Women’s Garden Project is going incredibly well. The 1st year of the programme (Mar 2017 – Feb 2018) was a huge success, the 2nd year is well underway and the great news is that we’re on target to reach more women by the end of the 2nd year than we had originally planned to across the whole three years!

We’ve raised a whopping £127,000 already, so are looking good for hitting our target of £150,000!! The money we’re raising is being spent in roughly £50k tranches for each year. We’re really pleased to say that and Ciford on the ground have managed to make the money go much further than we hoped and deliver far more than we originally planned.

The main thrust of the work is our agricultural women’s groups. Our initial plan was to reach 360 women over three years. Margaret at Ciford and the team have made it more efficient and we will reach 410 women by the end of year two and over 600 women by the end of the programme.

The other element of the original proposal was the school gardens. After a lot of time discussing this with the local community, it was clear this wasn’t a feasible element of the project – and wouldn’t be sustainable. So, after much work we’ve rolled out some wonderful alternatives:

  • A Mother’s Nutrition Programme which will provide training and support for young mothers in the community, educating them on good nutrition for their new born children and themselves. It’s also a supportive network for them to get peer support and advice. The programmes starts in year two and will reach 360 young mothers by the end of the project.
  • An Alternative Rite of Passage(ARP) programme, which helps girls avoid female genital mutilation while still retaining their place in society. Over 350 girls will take part in this process over the three years.
  • A Boys Forum that helps boys in the same community understand the role of women and girls, the dangers of female genital mutilation, therefore strengthening the success of rhe ARP. It’s a challenging and new concept, so we don’t know for sure how many boys we will reach.

A study tour took place in April 2018 where 25 Soroptimists travelled to Kenya to see first-hand the achievements of the project. The women in Meru were welcoming and enthusiastic, and happy to be receiving this support.

We’re so excited about what we’ve already achieved, and are looking forward to continuing to share with you the incredible stories of the women who are taking part in our project.