Pat’s Meru Page
I enjoyed meeting Amanijit and Marti (from Child.org) who staffed the Meru stall at the Federation Conference in Cardiff. We talked about the up-to-date situation and about their ideas for the future of this project.
Delegates visiting the stall had the opportunity to watch a video of some of the women in Meru and the work they are undertaking.
The project’s total at the beginning of November stands at £93,530. This figure has given a boost to future expansion of work in Meru.
So far 10 water tanks have been distributed, and another 10 are waiting to go out; a further 20 are to be ordered.
Seminars for the girls are being held so they can learn the facts and dangers of Female Genital Mutilation. Seminars are also run to inform the boys in the community.
South Lancashire Region’s contribution to the Meru Project has now increased to £2,030.75.
The women involved are working on their plots either alone or in groups. Despite the continual worry about the shortage of water many are growing enough, not only to feed their families, but to sell (to each other or at the local market) thus creating an income.
In addition, the Centre where all the training and meetings take place has plenty of land including a small farm with rabbits. The CIFORD office where Margaret and her team work also has a small garden. So, overall, there are plenty of areas on which to grow crops.
The Centre has been extended to include a kitchen. The dome building has been decorated in readiness to rent out when not being used for training purposes – the rent will then generate an income. It is also hoped to create a bore hole at the Centre as more water will help the local community.
Currently £78,624.81 has been raised across SIGBI. Funds raised by South Lancashire Region reached £1,808.75 at the end of August. A further £222.00 was presented to the Regional Ambassador at the September regional meeting.
I am pleased to report training of the four groups has now begun in the classroom. Shortly this will become practical ‘on the ground’ training. Care is being taken to ensure the curriculum is targeting the correct areas of need.
Currently there are fears that 74% of available water could be contaminated. Therefore, education on the collection and treatment of water will be started. This will improve current practice and safeguard health within the community.
Most women have a hoe of some sort but checks will take place to assess quality. Hoes will be replaced where necessary. Only 18% of women have a wheelbarrow so this will be looked into. The advantages of ‘wheels’ include transporting crops to market, and moving crops on the women’s farms.
Currently £56,471.73 has been raised for the Meru Women’s Garden Project; £1,188.75 of this is from South Lancashire Region.
The first report and update to Ambassadors from Patricia Gatherum (Federation Project Liaison) and Amanjit Dhillon (Fundraising Product Officer of Child.org).
- There had been agreement that work would not commence until £30,000 had been raised to ensure guaranteed follow-up with the project. The focus originally had been on ensuring sufficient capacity within CIFORD (our partners on the ground) to deliver what was expected. Funds raised now total approximately £47,000 and work has commenced.
- Five women’s groups have been selected to start agricultural training. They will be regularly monitored to ensure they are working well and committed to the training before progressing.
- Groups totalling 194 women and 4 men will be enrolling into the training starting at the beginning of April. It is intended that resources such as water tanks, equipment, etc. will also be carefully monitored. More will be provided if necessary. Training will take place every week and follow a curriculum.
- Two ‘Alternative Rite of Passage’ (ARP) sessions have been run with about 80 girls. These address the cultural practice of female genital mutilation (FGM) by providing information, offering options and thus empowering the girls to make their own decisions. Another is proposed for August if conditions allow (pending peaceful elections), and one in December.
- Forums for about 60 boys are planned around drug and alcohol issues. These forums will include education on gender issues.