MERU WOMEN’S GARDEN PROJECT MWGP
The project aims to create sustainable gardening techniques to enable women to become mentors and pioneers of agricultural sustainability within their communities.
By providing economic empowerment for women and girls, MWGP will achieve long-term changes, strengthening and improving the lives and opportunities for children now and for generations to come. PROJECT PARTNERS Child.org – An International development charity working across sub-Saharan Africa to help children lead healthy and happy lives.
CIFORD – Community Initiatives for Rural Development The facilitators of the project who are based in Meru County, Kenya. Margaret Ikiara, a SI MERU member herself, manages the organisation and their aim is to mobilise and improve the local community.
SIGBI – have agreed to support CIFORD and Child.org over the next 3 years, raising vital funds to help the women and children of Meru.
As agreed it contained two strands/themes:
1. To support women in MERU County to establish their own sustainable food gardens, to become self-sufficient and to earn a small income from any excess foodstuffs grown that they might sell.
2. The second strand was to establish a sustainable food garden and breakfast club for over 1000 potential students in a girls’ secondary school with the objective of improving the girl’s attendance and their ability to study without being hungry.
‘THEME 1’ – agricultural training There are 4 different stages:
o Stage 1
Regional Selection – CIFORD and Child.org will meet with local government and chiefs in those selected/chosen communities invited to take part. A shortlist will be created and a follow-on public meeting will be held where the people may ask questions and find out about the benefits.
o Stage 2
CIFORD will identify women’s groups in the chosen communities. Regular training sessions over 3-months will take place to ensure the women are committed to the project. Any women not showing commitment will be filtered out at this stage. Training includes: group dynamics, leadership skills, record keeping, development of agricultural practices and skills/dexterity.
o Stage 3
For those committed women weekly agricultural training now starts. Tools, seeds and other resources will be distributed and the women will be encouraged to share these amongst other women in their locality. Additional in depth training on agriculture and leadership will be provided monthly for ‘group’ leaders.
o Stage 4
A ‘Graduation ceremony’ will take place for all those women completing the course. This will provide an opportunity for other women to see what has been achieved and for them to ask questions and get involved in the training. Women who have successfully completed the course will continue to receive mentorship for 12-months.
‘THEME 2’ – Breakfast Club & education for girls
The objective here was to improve on the levels of literacy and numeracy in rural communities (8-9% compared to 85-87% in Nairobi)
At Conference in Malta the Ambassadors raised concerns with Patricia Gatherum as to the “apparent” change in focus of this SI GBI project in relation to the lack of progress on Theme 2.
We wanted confirmation that this part of the project would proceed as it was an essential section of the Soroptimists 3E’s approach. We received an email on 2nd December from Patricia (backed up by Barbara Dixon) stating that there will be a meeting in January with Marti (of Child.org) to resolve these concerns.