Meru Women’s Garden Project 2016-19

Meru-2-2-300x199The Meru Women’s Garden is a project involving all clubs in Soroptimist International, Great Britain and Ireland, Federation (SIGBI). Planned for 2016-19, it will support some of the poorest women-led households in Kenya.

Meru County has a largely rural population with HIV/AIDs prevalent in the region. Nearly half of the women and girls in Meru are seriously malnourished, and nearly a quarter have received no formal education. The majority live a hand-to-mouth existence in agriculture, using methods which degrade the land.

The project is focussed on providing opportunities to women and girls who may never otherwise be given the chance to earn an income. It will give them status within their community.

Improved food production and education will support women and girls to transform their lives and those of others. This will be achieved through a process of cascade learning and mentoring. It will reduce poverty, improve health and increase employment.

The project embraces the three key areas at the heart of Soroptimism – to Educate, Empower and Enable.

Clubs throughout the Federation are raising money over the three-year period. With this funding women can be trained, thus enabling more households to become self-sufficient and begin to move out of poverty.

The project will provide seeds, agricultural equipment and relevant technical advice. The women will be trained and mentored throughout. Eco-Stoves will be provided, with the aim of reducing the use of wood.

The attendance of girls at secondary school will be targeted via breakfast clubs and food gardens. Girls will find out about their rights, particularly in relation to cultural practices such as female genital mutilation (FGM).

The Meru Women’s Garden Project will be run on the ground by CIFORD (Community Initiative for Rural Development) and overseen by SIGBI’s partner, the charity child1

SIGBI’s Federation Project Liaison (Patricia Gatherum) will liaise with these partner organisations and publish information on the SIGBI website. Her network of Regional Ambassadors will cascade information directly to local clubs. SI South Lancashire’s Ambassador is Pat Woodward: read her latest bulletin.