Food Security Program Update-17th May 2015

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pupils of Morpus primary school receiving chain links from JWW

pupils of Morpus primary school receiving chain links from JWW

The best way to empower people and the community they come from at large is by killing the spirit of dependency and expectation of free things and hand outs from the government and organizations within the region. When we give to people they end up having that mind set of ‘we are vulnerable and we are entitled to receive help’ rather than believing that they have potential and they can start with whatever small they have to better their lives. As an organization we have been struggling to kill this spirit for a long time and we are happy that participants in our various projects have realized they have the potential and we are just here to help by guiding them through trainings and assisting them attain their goals.

When we introduced the concept of cost sharing in purchasing the required farm inputs, most participants thought that we were trying to swindle them but at the moment we are happy to share that they feel good when we deliver to them an asset that is as a result of their collective effort and not just a handout from Jitokeze. We have also seen participants working hard to acquire what they need without asking for financial help from us but just for  linkages with suppliers. For instance we have participants from our poultry project who have gone ahead to purchase the eggs of the improved breed of chickens and hatched them on their own rather than waiting for the organization to supply them with the improved chicks as they had expected earlier. They say they have been given knowledge and skills which is more important and they can not keep on waiting for us to bring the chicks when they can make local arrangements and get eggs and consequently the desired chicks.

This attitude has encouraged us as an organization because it has helped us to see that our efforts are helping the community to grow towards self reliance and sustainability.

Food Security Program Update 22nd April 2016

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members of Cheptirak Women Group receiving certified seeds from JWW

members of Cheptirak Women Group receiving certified seeds from JWW

To increase food production among the groups we work with, we are working on promoting the use of certified seeds in all our demonstration plots so that participants in our various groups can get the concept and later on practice it in their farms.

Although last year we distributed drought tolerant seeds to our groups, they did not get much from the harvests because most of the crops were destroyed by goats and drought. This year however, we have encouraged groups to raise half the required costs of fencing materials which we have matched and supplied them with chain links to secure their demo sites. we have also distributed the seeds early enough to avert the adverse effects of drought after this long rains.

We are hopeful that after training farmers on sustainability and the need to save seeds once they harvest, they will be able to raise seeds from their demo site and distribute it among themselves so that they can plant in their own farms.

This year, we have supplied our groups with green grams, cow peas, maize, ground nuts and mwitamania beans seeds and all groups have started planting. the excess seeds were shared in small portions among all the participants so that they can also raise them in their farms back at home.

Income security program Update 15th March 2016

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tailoring trainees in class learning vowels and forming words

tailoring trainees in class learning vowels and forming words

Jitokeze Wamama Wafrika seeks to build women’s capacities to access resources such as income, credit, markets, agricultural inputs, as well as the social support they need to break free from the chains of poverty and vulnerability to droughts and conflicts by providing them with basic training in tailoring and sustainable agriculture.

This year we have added 17 new students most of who comes from Kapenguria, Morpus and Lomut wards. Most of these girls knew that they will just be trained in sewing products but in our desire to empower them in all spheres of life we also offer them basic computer training, agro forestry and crops production training, poultry keeping practices and basic reading and writing training along with the tailoring training.

Ruth Chelimo, one of our students and a class 6 drop out expressed her heartfelt gratitude to the organization and to all the staff members for believing in them and offering themselves to help. She shares that simple as it may sound, she did not know how to perform simple calculations or construct sentences and communicate effectively. But because of the training she is receiving, she has hope and her mind has broadened.

Just like Ruth, most of our students did not get a chance to even complete their primary education and as such they face a major challenge when it comes to reading and writing. As a result, we decided to introduce basic reading and writing classes to help them learn how to read and perform simple calculations to increase their chances in this competitive world.

Food Security Program Update-15th March 2016

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some members of Soibei SHG transferring seedlings from their nursery and putting them in tubes.

some members of Soibei SHG transferring seedlings from their nursery and putting them in tubes.

Soibei Falls Irrigation scheme Self Help Group is one of the groups we started working with late last year here in Kapenguria ward. Although participants had enough water for irrigation and large tracks of land, they were not getting much out of farming due to lack of expertise knowledge in crops production.

Mr Richard Kibet is one of the people who tried practicing agriculture but due to the low returns he was getting, he decided to quit and move to Lodwar to start up a business. He came back recently and found those he had left behind doing well and this got him curious. It was then that he learned from his father Mr. Stanley who is the Community Development committee of Soibei Falls Irrigation scheme Self Help Group that they had joined Jitokeze Wamama Wafrika and are now benefiting from trainings and certified seeds that are not readily available in the market.

Mr Kibet decided to join the group and after attending classes for just two months, he decided to close down his business and concentrate on farming. He has cleared a two acre piece of land and he is planning to plant cabbages, kales, capsicum and carrots in large scale to sell.

Kibet shares that he had lost all hope in farming considering the slope of his land that leads to soil erosion during rainy seasons but now he has learnt that he can use contour ridges and plant cover crops like nappier grass which will double up as feeds to his cow that he is planning to buy.

Although Soibei SHG practices pure crop productions, Kibet has also showed his interest in poultry keeping and he has been sacrificing his free time to attend poultry training being offered to another group. Kibet believes in the power of knowledge and he is glad he came back on time and is also grateful to the organization for offering trainings to people.

At the moment, soibei SHG is preparing tree nurseries and putting seedlings in tubes for their agro forestry project. they have raised pawpaw, eucalyptus, Cyprus and gravelier seedlings. this seedlings will be planted in the group demo site, sold to other farmers and some will be distributed to each participant to plant in individual farms.

Food Security Program Update- 11th March 2016

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members of Kakuko Self Help Group after receiving a water tank they had requested from the organization.

members of Kakuko Self Help Group after receiving a water tank they had requested from the organization.

One of our major activities has been to encourage participants in the groups we are working with under our food security program to raise half the required costs of the inputs they need to fully engage in food security and generate income from the activity. At the moment we are encouraging participants to raise 50% of the cost while we match the other 50%. However this is not going to be so for long because each year we lower our contribution by at least 25% so that participants can learn to be independent and sustain the project even after we face out from their areas.

This year through the help of our field officers we have overseen the delivery of 50 chain links to three groups and a 3,000 liters tank to one group that successfully managed to raise half the required costs for these items. This is a great improvement compared to last year where participants shunned contributing their money for the fear of being duped.

Mr Richard Lokuk, the chairman of Kakuko Self Group shared that his group members are very happy and grateful for what the organization has done for them. He pointed out that members are happy they won’t be disturbed by goats that have been destroying their crops and rendering their efforts useless again. He went on to inform us that after seeing the chain links and the water tank, some members who had dropped out of the group are now seeking to be taken back because they have started seeing progress and development.

Other groups that were lagging behind have also geared up and at the moment we have more requests for chain links, water tanks, water pipes and sanction pipes as compared to last year where we only managed to deliver a water pump and water pipes to two groups.

Income Security Program Update – 10th March 2016

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Women are the pillars of the society and when we see one succeed and follow her dreams we fill we are living our mission which is to empower marginalized women to access, own and sustainably manage productive assets and participate in the peace building process in their communities. Lilian Lomuthono, 30 years old and a mother of five has been with us since last year and she has shown remarkable performance both in class and in other activities.

Before Lilian joined us, she used to make charcoal and sell to sustain her family. She narrates that her husband is a casual labourer and although he could make some money, he left the responsibility of raising the children on her. She longed to give her children the best life but she could not afford due to lack of finance.

‘When I heard of Jitokeze Wamama Wafrika, I knew that was an opportunity that was going to change our lives forever. I never went to school when I was young but I was ready to give it a try and I decided to talk to my husband’

Although her husband did not decline her request directly, he made it clear that he was not going to look after the children and be laughed at by people for being over powered by a woman. This gave her a hard time but her 11 years old daughter who is her first born agreed to look after her siblings as her mother attends the tailoring training. Although very hard, Lilian left her 4children under the care of her 11 year old daughter and started the training.

After just one year she has acquired a lot of skills and knowledge in making the different products and she is even earning commission from the products she makes for the organization to sell. She shares that her life has changed greatly because she has found a part time job in a tailoring shop at Morpus centre where she works on weekends when she is not at the centre. ‘I can make skirts, blouses, school uniforms and children clothing without any difficulties.’ The money she gets sustains her family while she is at school and some of it she uses to purchase materials to make clothes for them. ‘I have been transformed from burning charcoal to a dress maker and at the moment my employer has left her shop under my care as she is on maternity leave. I have come to believe that it is possible to achieve anything we set our mind on provided we are determined and we are ready to sacrifice and work towards achieving our dreams.

Lilian is looking forward to graduating at the end of this year and getting a sewing machine from the organization to start her own business and give her children the good life that they deserve.

Income Security Program Update- 1st March 2016

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tailoring students during agro forestry, soil and water conservation training in the farm

tailoring students during agro forestry, soil and water conservation training in the farm

In our quest to improve economic status of young girls and women who have been adversely affected by droughts and conflicts induced by climatic changes in West Pokot County, we have come along many women most of who had given up in life but are now seeing hope and dreaming of a better tomorrow. Anita, a second year student is one of the girls who joined us last year after divorcing from her husband whom she had been forced to marry when she was in class 8. Due to this arranged marriage she did not sit for her exams and ended up a house wife and a young mother. She shares that she was not able to stay in this marriage for long and had to go back to her mother’s place after which she met a good Samaritan who introduced her to Jitokeze Wamama Wafrika.
She narrates that she did not have any money to pay her fees and she knew clearly that her parents were not going to support her but she decided to come so that she can better her life and have a way of helping her then one year old son.
Anita has been working hard to raise part of the required fee for the training and she recently applied for CDF to help clear her fee. She has recorded remarkable improvement in making the different products and at the moment she can make straight skirts, blouses, rompers, school uniforms, short trousers and game skits. She is also earning commission through making products ordered for by our clients to help raise half the cost of a sewing machine before she completes her training.

tailoring students in class.

tailoring students in class.

Food Security Program Update 16th Feb 2016

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Field officer Lomut Ward putting soil in tubes before transferring mango seeds from the nursery bed and members of Warany Self Help Group preparing mango  seeds

Field officer Lomut Ward putting soil in tubes before transferring mango seeds from the nursery bed and members of Warany Self Help Group preparing mango seeds

Our main objective has been to increase by 25% the knowledge and practice of sustainable production of drought Tolerant Crops and Trees among the 232 members of 12 Self Help Groups and 93 vulnerable students from 4 schools that are participating in our food security program by the end of 2019.

Having dwelled much on Drought tolerant crops production and poultry keeping in the previous year, this year we have decided to put much focus on trees production and soil and water conservation. Our field officers have taken advantage of this dry season to introduce participants to Agro forestry, its importance, and how to establish nursery beds and putting seedlings into tubes.

We are happy because participants have embraced this project more than we anticipated and are ready to participate in it. We have also realized that it is not the first time they are being introduced to Agroforestry because other organizations that operated in Lomut, Batei and Masol wards before us introduced this knowledge to farmers but only few embraced it. Participants are delighted and are working hard to ensure that just like agronomy, they get knowledge and skills in Agro forestry.

Our Field Officer Lomut Ward pointed out that he is amazed by how participants show up for trainings earlier and leave late. New members have also come out to join the groups just to acquire knowledge and prepare seedling that they will be planting in their individual farms when it starts to rain.

muringa tree seedlings prepared by Warany S.H.G

muringa tree seedlings prepared by Warany S.H.G

Food Security Program -Updates 09th February 2016

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Our FSP project is making a major impact on most of the farmers we are working with in the various self help group. We are glad to share how through this project Mrs. Sofia Mathias a member of Mosoriot SHG has been given a piece of land by her husband after seeing her dedication in practising sustainable Agriculture.
Sofia who had initially been depending on her husband for everything shared with us how her life changed greatly after joining Mosoriot group. Through the training she was receiving from her trainer Mrs. Yator, she prepared small patches of land after which she planted coriander, hot pepper, kales and established a tree nursery at her home. Despite the harsh weather conditions, her garden flourished and she started selling her produce to nearby hotels and to her neighbors. She shares that since then she has never approached her husband for money and this is what has made him so happy to a point of buying for her a one acre piece of land.
She states that when she joined the group she thought it was just a waste of time just as many people do. But at the moment she has seen the benefits and is even telling other women especially those who just sit doing nothing to join groups because it will be beneficial to them in the long run. She adds that ‘nowadays my husband is the first person to remind me I should be at the demo site meeting with other members and learning new things and not wasting my time at home. I am grateful to Jitokeze for empowering me and making me food secure and financially stable.’ At the moment, we have appointed sofia as the chepkube trainer in Kapenguria ward. Together with her trainer, she is helping other farmers who are keeping chicken in establishing these structures that helps keep their chicks safe from cold and predators.
Apart from farming, sofia and her husband also make bricks for selling to earn money to educate their children.

Income Security Program Updates -09th Feb 2016

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tailoring students during an exams

tailoring students during an exams

Our enrollment in the income security program under tailoring training has increased to 26 students from last year’s 13. The new students most of who come from the groups we are working with in our food security program joined us late last month and we are happy to share that they have gotten acquainted with our routine, blended into the system and have even sat for their first continuous assessment test.

Due to their lack of knowledge in reading and writing, we have decided to change our examination system whereby we select those who cannot write or read at all and offer them an oral exam while those who can read and write are allowed to write their exams. This measure was necessary because some of the students cannot write or read and they must sit for theory exams besides practical. We have managed to add another teacher to tend to them as the former one continues with the other students in the production class.

Our former students now in their second year are showing good progress in their work. They have been able to make school uniforms for the rescued girls and 10 rompers for shipment to our clients. Although they have just been introduced to computer studies, they have embraced it and they are eager to learn get the most out of it within the short period of time remaining before they graduate.

Food Security Program Updates-26th January 2016

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field officers in class during water harvesting techniques capacity building training

field officers in class during water harvesting techniques capacity building training

Our main objective has been to increase by 25% the knowledge and practice of sustainable production of drought Tolerant Crops and Trees among the 320 SHGs members and 120 students that are participating in our food security program by the end of 2019. This is through promotion of soil and water conservation practices as well as agroforestry farming practices.

This year, our focus is on mobilizing and training farmers to conserve soil and water, plant trees, and grow drought tolerant crops using micro-catchment structures of soil and water conservation and agro-forestry farming techniques. To achieve this, we have started by training our field staffs on the various techniques that can be used in promoting agro forestry in dry areas and we believe that through building their capacities, they will be able to deliver to the farmers they train effectively.

Although we managed to conduct this training for only two days, our staff appreciated the knowledge they acquired from Mr Damieno Morulem, a supervisor at Catholic diocese of Kitale in West Pokot County, who came in to conduct it. They showed great interest in getting back to their farmers to share and improve agro-forestry without the fear of the dreaded drought.

Our field officers from lomut, Morpus and Cheptulel assured us that the water harvesting techniques will help most of their farmers who don’t have direct access to water. Mr. Kibunguchi shared that he had seen some of the structures in his area and after receiving this training he is going to train the farmers on how to do it correctly.

Perpetual Yator, FO Kapenguria ward, feels that most of the knowledge she acquired is very vital and although it does not apply to high land areas, she is determined to try out those that can be suitable in her area such as the use of contour ridges and other agronomic measures like trash lines, cover crops and inter cropping which apart from being affordable to farmers are also profitable and helps in improving soil fertility.

Emmanuel Kapelile our FO Kreswa ward shared with us how he used to see the water harvesting structures in people’s lands but could not help his groups when approached because he did not know how to do it due to lack of knowledge. He appreciated the organization for the training and said he now feels well equipped with knowledge and is ready to help his farmers without doubts.

Income Security Programs Update- 19th January 2016

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Most of our students are back from the December Holiday and training has already begun. Those in the production class are currently working on school uniforms for six of our rescued girls who sat their KCPE last year and will be joining St Elizabeth for their secondary education. While those in the training class are still working hard in making neat products to enable them be promoted into the production class.

With the need to develop our students both academically, socially and psychologically, we have incorporated other subjects such as computer classes, basic reading and writing as well as guiding and counseling sessions besides tailoring and Agricultural training that we were initially offering. We hope that by equipping these girls with these skills and knowledge, they will be able to fend for themselves as well as learn how to get along with others and survive in this competitive world.

Although our catering course has not started yet due to lack of essential equipment, we have instead decided to give admission to 20 more tailoring trainees most of who have already reported and being oriented to get an understanding of our programs and the organization at large. These students have been taken from most of the groups we are working with in our food security program.

 

production students making school uniforms for the rescued girls

production students making school uniforms for the rescued girls

 

Food Security Program Update -22nd December 2015

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our farmers at Kiminini learning more about tissue culture bananas

our farmers at Kiminini learning more about tissue culture bananas

Most of our farmers in the food security program were lucky to be taken on a study tour for exposure and to learn more about sustainable agriculture. The 41 farmers who came from lomut, masol, Cheptulel, morpus and Kapenguria wards started by visiting our center at Bendera and they were impressed by our bio intensive gardens and the poultry project that we are running.  Solomon Kasenya, chairman Atiangaror group Cheptulel ward expressed his joy and amazement in how we have managed to rear so many chickens in a small enclosed space. He says that he never knew that chickens could be enclosed and still lay eggs just by ensuring they are well fed. He amused us with his enthusiasm to share what he was learning with his group members and even recorded some audio to use in passing knowledge to other farmers who didn’t get the chance of going on this tour.

The 41 farmers and 12 of our staff  had the chance of visiting VI Agro-forestry Kitale where they were taken around and educated on the different types of crops, how to plant them and the benefits derived from each. They were also taken through the Agro forestry section and gained knowledge on the different trees and their uses.

Jane Korwatum chair lady relion women group cheptulel ward was impressed by the kitchen gardens she saw and the quality of the vegetable produced. She states that she has been hearing of this farming method from her teacher but she has never gotten a chance of seeing a demonstration. She says she is not going to waste water but is going to establish B.I.A beds at her home and plant vegetables.

Although these were purely DTC farmers, we also took them through the poultry section where they were educated on the different breeds of poultry and shown the eggs produced by each.

This tour was beneficial not just to our farmers but also to our staff members who got a chance of increasing their knowledge base. Perpetual Yator field Officer Kapenguria ward said that she has learnt a lot and is going to pass this to the groups she trains.

Income Security program-update 10th December 2015

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We are happy to see young girls and women who joined us with low self esteem and poor perception about themselves due to the hard life they have been through leave us empowered and full of hope and determination.

jane wanjiru showing a bag she has made

jane wanjiru showing a bag she has made

During this quarter, two of students have graduated from our income security program. Dorothoy cherop who joined us in January 2014 graduated in October while Jane Wanjiru followed shortly this December. ‘with the skills I have acquired from my trainers Mary Makokha and Mr. Ken Omondi who left some time back, I am confident to start my own sewing business and give customers what they need’ Jane Wanjiru.

Wanjiru, 55years old and a mother of five has been with Jitokeze since 2012 and despite her age, she has been a committed and disciplined student and always eager to learn even from her juniors and those who joined us recently. ‘people used to laugh at me when they heard I am back in school and some even tried to discourage me saying I am too old to sit down and be taught. I am proud of myself and now i not only have knowledge and skills but also a sewing machine to start my business with.’

Jane explains that although she has been in the training for a very long time, she still felt she needed her trainers and she is happy they never failed her. She says she has had a plat form to practice making all kind of cloths and bags and she does not regret the holidays she sacrificed just to be at the centre and work on orders brought in by our clients while learning from her trainer Miss Makokha. While Jane leaves the organization empowered, we feel the gap she has left because she was not just a mother to all of us but a good advisor and councillor due to her age and experience.

The two graduates have left the organization with a sewing machine each to boost them as they venture into the out side market. We are looking forward to visiting them and finding out how they are faring on as well as provide the necessary assistance needed.

Income Security Program Update-23rd November 2015

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director addressing students during the closing of the school

director addressing students during the closing of the school

Our students in the tailoring training closed on 20th November for their December Holiday. We started off the year with 17 trainees but some of them dropped out along the way due to lack of interest, passion for a different course and negative attitude. We however admitted more students to fill up their place and we are happy we have ended the year with 21 students.

Most of the trainees joined us with no knowledge in tailoring but after the hard work invested in by our staff, most of them can now make pleated skirts, dresses, shorts, bloomers and wrap skirts, school uniforms and even rompers and pants.

Although we do not offer KNEC exams to our trainees, we have our own internal exams that we administer to them. We have registered great improvement this year basing on the fact that most of our trainees lack the basic reading and writing skills. At the moment only three trainees are having difficulties in reading and writing.

This term, the performance has been much better compared to second term’s performance. Our trainees attained a mean score of 335.7 while last term they had 326.5.

Next year from January, we are expecting our students to be taking computer courses, catering classes and we have found a counselor who will be counseling them on a monthly basis. Training in tailoring, livestock and poultry husbandry, nutrition and Bio Intensive Agriculture will continue from where we have stopped this term.

We are expecting our tailoring trainees to report back on 5th January 2016 after which we will start admitting new students for the catering course.

Food Security Program-Updates 12th November 2015.

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Jitokeze Wamama Wafrika has managed to deliver water harvesting equipment such as water pumps, PVC delivery pipes and fencing materials (chain links) to some of the groups in the income security project.We had earlier on introduced the aspect of cost sharing between the groups and the organization with the aim of making the group members embrace the project as theirs and own it rather than saying it belongs to the organization.. Although this directive made us unpopular among most of the groups that we had mobilized, some of our groups worked hard towards raising half the required cost of purchasing the needed equipment while we contributed the other half, purchase the equipment and deliver it to the group at their respective demo site.

We have been very careful to ensure that one group does not benefit more than another group. To achieve this, a group is only allowed to request for one item that they need most.

water pump pictures

Madam Lucy Kitele handing over a water pump to Karamomisiyo’s group chairman.

We are also going to promote our farmers who are dealing with poultry husbandry by giving them an equal number of the total chicks they have purchased from us. This will motivate group members as well as boost the farmers to reach their goals of rearing chicken to promote food security and generate income for themselves, their families and the community. Most of the groups have however not received their requests due to failure of raising the required money to meet up half the cost of what they need but we are hoping that by early next year all groups will have benefited from this initiative.

Food Security Programs Update 9th November 2015

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We are glad that farmers are taking seriously what they are being taught in their groups and even practicing it. Mr. Johnson Atira, chairman of Kamerinya group Kapenguria ward, is one of the farmers who has tried practicing what he has been taught.
After giving part of his land to be used as the group’s demo site, Mr. Atira went ahead and established another demo site for himself in which he is planning to plant kales, spinach, cabbage and black night shade.
He states that the training he has received from his trainer Mrs. Yator and the benefits he has seen from the sale of the demo site produce is what has encouraged him to establish his own.
Despite the persistent droughts in the region, Mr. Atira who has in most cases been managing the group’s demo site has established an artificial water sprinkler to help keep the land wet and suitable for crops to do well. He however says that if it was possible for him to get a Ken tank, he would have practiced farming in large scale and ensure that his community benefits from this practice.
Kamerinya group has majorly been practicing planting various types of vegetables such as spider herbs, coriander, capsicum, kales, spinach and black night shade. This is because drought tolerant crops do not do well in this ward. The group has however earned not less than Ksh: 4,500 from the sale of these vegetables in less than two months. The group is working on getting fencing materials to fence their demo site and prevent goats and chicken from destroying their crops.
Most residents from this region have even come to join the group and promote the food security program.

Mrs. Sofia Matia, a member of Mosoriot group in Kapenguria ward, is another farmer who has managed to replicate what she learns and has established a kitchen garden in her farm. She has planted kales, coriander, red pepper and spider herbs. She narrates that although it is not easy because of the persistent droughts, she relied heavily on irrigation and she is now enjoying the fruits of her labor because she is selling her farm produce to her neighbors and nearby hotels. She is also practicing Agro forestry and through the help of her trainer Mrs. Yator, she has managed to establish her own tree nursery and is looking forward to selling the seedlings to other group members.
Mrs. Sofia states that before joining Mosoriot group, she did not have money of her own and she used to depend on her husband for everything. However after being trained and gaining skills in sustainable farming, she went ahead and established her own kitchen garden which has turned out to be her major source of income and she can even afford to pay the weekly group contribution of Ksh: 50 for herself and for her husband.
She encourages other people to join groups and learn. She acknowledge that it is not a waste of time as many people think and that even if it is done in a group there is individual benefits that farmers gain.

Food Security Program-Updates 27th October 2015

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Kamerinya Group’s demosite from Right, Mrs Yator FO Kapenguria ward, Ruth the M&E coordinator, Jackline Programs Coordinator and Mr. Johnson the Group’s chairman.

After visiting Mosoriot and assessing their progress, this week we visited Kamerinya Group and we are happy their demo site is all green. This group being in Kapenguria ward decided to plant vegetables and less DTC crops because the later does not do well in the region.

Some of the vegetables they have are capsicums, coriander, kales, spinach and spider herbs. They have also planted a portion of sweet potatoes and cassavas.

The group is enjoying the fruits of its labor because it is now supplying vegetables to market women and earning some money.

At our center our girls are still harvesting the maize and shelling it. Due to the heavy rains, we have scheduled the harvesting to be once a week so as to give space for the already shelled maize to dry. Due to this challenge, harvesting will take longer than usual.

JWW students and staff shelling maize after harvesting part of their maize farm.

 

Income Security Programs -Updates 27th October 2015

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Lilian showing a dress she has made using a paper.

 Most of our students are young mothers and despite the hardships they have been through, they have not given up in life but rather they have decided to face their fears and create a good future for their children.
Lilian, one of our student, a wife and a mother of five has been having difficulties balancing between her training and her family in which she is the bread winner. She is grateful to the organization for understanding her dilemma and giving her time on weekends to go home, be with her family and raise the required fee as well as find food that her young children will consume during the week when she is not around.
She tells us that it is not easy but she has made up her mind to complete her training and get a sewing machine with which she believes her family’s life will change immensely. ‘Once I graduate, I will open my own business. I will be making clothes for people and selling them the best fabrics. From the little I have learnt since I joined Jitokeze in May this year I have gained the knowledge and skills of making dresses, school uniforms, shorts and shirts and now am working on making pleated skirts and dresses.’
The 29 year old mother has been surviving through collecting firewood and selling it to people at Morpus Center. She is happy because through her hard work she has been able to get a part time job which she works when we break for holidays. She states that she helps in cutting fabrics for making clothes and sometimes her employer gives her minor repairs to do when customers are many. Although the pay is low, she says it helps her build confidence and have a real experience of how to interact with customers.
Lilian is one of the most hard working students and we believe through the skills she is gaining and her dedication she will have a bright a future for herself and her family

Food Security Programs -Update 19th October 2015

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Food security Program

After a long period of droughts in our region, we are glad that it has started raining again. Currently our tailoring students who are also in the Bio Intensive Agriculture, Agro forestry and poultry farming are transplanting vegetables from the seed bed that they had prepared last month. These vegetables will be consumed at the center by the students when it is ready while part of it will be sold to neighbors to raise income.

harvestingg

JWW students harvesting maize from our farm at the center.

We have started harvesting our maize although we are doing it in turns because the farm is approximately 2acres and we cannot harvest the whole of it at once. We are however rushing to complete this task to prevent our maize from rotting due to the heavy downpours. Our students have also taken the responsibility of looking after our improved local breed chicken, ensuring they have food and water as well as collecting eggs. This they have been able to do after receiving trainings from Mrs Perpetual Yator our field officer who trains them on B.I.A, agroforestry and poultry.

We are also monitoring groups and farmers’ progress to assess the impact of the program. We are currently measuring skills and knowledge acquisition but we are also glad to find farmers who are replicating what they do at the demo sites in their farms. For instance we managed to visit Mrs.Sophia Matia a group member in Mosoriot group and we were delighted by how she has worked in her small farm to produce coriander, hot pepper, kales and sorghum. She is selling these products and generating income for herself and her family.

Mrs Sophia Matia giving corriander to Jackline Chemutai, the programs coordinator.

Income security program-update 19th October 2015

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Nelly Chebeni on the left and Mary Makokha on the right counting the products with the client

Since the opening of third term, early September, our students in the income security program have been working towards perfecting their sewing skills in order to make products that are acceptable to our clients. Although they are still using papers to draw patterns and sew them before being given materials to prevent wastage. we are delighted by the progress being recorded by most of our students. Lilian for instance has been able to successfully make a child’s dress from a paper and we are planning to give her real materials to make a similar dress.
Training on how to make rompers and pants is still going on but they have also been making wrap skirts and bloomers for St Mary’s Assumption primary school.
In total our students have managed to make 11 blouses, 11 bloomers and 15 wrap skirts.
We are happy to have handed over 33 skirts
and 11 blouses to exodus rescue Center after our girls in the production class successfully completed making them as was required. Although they are still practicing making rompers, we believe that they will soon be able to start making them for shipment to our clients in the United States of America.
we are however facing a major challenge with some of our students because they lack basic reading and writing skills. this challenge has made it hard for them to perform well in their internal exams but we are hoping to introduce reading and writing classes from next year to assist them.

 

Nelly Chebeni (right) and madam Lucy Kitele (left) handing over the finished school uniforms.

Nelly Chebeni (right) and madam Lucy Kitele (left) handing over the finished school uniforms.

 

All programs update- 13th October 2015

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jww showcasing their products at the show.We are pleased to have attended the West Pokot agriculture and trade fair show that was held from 7th October to 10th October 2015 at the Kishaunet show ground. With the theme being enhancing technology in agriculture and industrial for food security and national growth, we got a chance of exhibiting our food security program and how we have been promoting our farmers from low land areas of west Pokot to engage in the farming of drought tolerant crops (D.T.C) such as rice, sorghum, green grams, ground nuts among other DTCs as well as how to store their produce in the metal silos, a technology that helps prevent pests infestation.

We had a chance of explaining to farmers who visited our stand the importance of engaging in poultry keeping and most especially the improved local breed chicken. Most farmers from Kapenguria were fascinated by the size of the eggs acquired from this breed. Some of them bought the eggs but because we did not have enough for everyone, others had to give us their contacts so that we can reach them when we have chicks and more eggs. Under our income security program, we carried our products including the different types of bags, bible covers, school uniforms, baby clothes and the latest fabrics that we are currently using to make baby clothes.
We received many visitors most of who were attracted to our stand by the colourful products that decorated our tent. Although we did not manage to sell most of the products, we received vital information that we are planning to use in customizing our products so as to capture the local market.
Apart from asking us to open our shop at Makutano town to sell our products, visitors asked us to make smaller back pack bags for carrying laptops. Some suggested that we customize the toiletries bags to have a compartment for tissue papers while others asked us to venture into male clothing line using the African Print fabrics.

 

 

INCOME SECURITY PROGRAM UPDATES 30TH SEPTEMBER 2015

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It was with great pleasure that we received and hosted some of the friends of Jitokeze who were on a three days visit at our centre in Bendera before joining our staff on a two days retreat in Chester in Central Pokot. During their stay at the centre, our students in the tailoring training had the opportunity of interacting with them and they were great sources of inspiration to our girls.
The students had the chance of learning how to make rompers and pants and it was amazing how they quickly mastered and even managed to make some on their own after being trained. The rompers and pants made by the girls were later shipped to America where they got a ready market and more orders for the same placed.
Loice one of the students who made a romper commented that it was not easy at first because this is a new design they have never done but after watching and following keenly, she realized it was just like making any other type of cloth. She added that they used to waste lots of materials during cutting but they have now learnt how to reduce the wastage by using the already drawn patterns and cutting the fabric from the edge.
The visitors had time to mentor our girls and the staff spiritually by reminding us of our relationship with God despite the hard ships we face. Through sharing stories and opening up to each other, we realized that we are all equal and going through the same difficulties but there is always an answer if we look up to God.
Apart from mentoring us spiritual and psychological, the visitors took their time to train our girls how to make cakes and decorate them for different occasions. The girls made different types of cakes and organized a small party for the staff, our neighbours and the visitors to celebrate our hard work.

 

FOOD SECURITY PROGRAM -UPDATES 30TH SEPTEMBER 2015

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During the course of this month, we have been able to visit with most of the groups in our food security program and the outcome has been encouraging. despite the persistent drought and harsh weather conditions, some of the groups managed to plant the certified seeds that we had distributed in the month of August.

In Kapenguria ward, Kamerinya self help group has managed to plant spider herbs, kales, beans and coriander. just like the other groups in other wards, this group is relying heavily on irrigation and they have been able to harvest and sell some of their produce.

In Morpus ward, Chepkobeigh Economic Empowerment Enterprise group managed to make a kitchen garden in their demosite and currently they have planted kales, cow peas, spider herbs and some fruit trees are in the nursery awaiting transplanting.

most of the groups however are still waiting for rains but even as they wait they are continuing with their trainings as well as participating in the chicken value chain project which most farmers have embraced warmly

currently we are working towards facilitating our groups to get water harvesting equipment that they had requested from us so as to ensure there is sufficient water for irrigation in the various demo sites. However, our facilitation is based on cost sharing whereby the group contributes half the required money for whatever it is they are requesting and we give the remaining half. we believe that this approach will motivate the groups to work tirelessly in their projects because they will feel they own it.

 

 

INCOME SECURITY PROGRAM- UPDATES 14TH SEPTEMBER

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Today the tailoring trainees in our income security program report back for school from their August holidays. They broke off for the holidays in August after successfully sitting for an internal exam, which consisted of theory, and practical exams in both tailoring and bio intensive farming.

 

 

FOOD SECURITY PROGRAM-UPDATES-14 TH SEPTEMBER 2015

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Here in Kapenguria, most farming households associate the month of August with the harvesting of beans and we at Jitokeze have not been left out. Before closing for the August holidays, our tailoring students who have also been trained in Bio Intensive Agriculture had a busy time harvesting the beans that had been planted in May this year, they will consume these beans during 3rd term that begins in September.

This beans production process begun for us last year in September, when we leased about 3.5 acres of land for growing food to feed the students taking the tailoring training in our Income Security Program. In March this year we engaged in land preparation and waited for the rains to come before we could plant anything on the land. In May we planted beans on 2.5 of these 3.5 acres and maize on the 1 acre remaining. In August when we harvested the beans we managed to get only160kgs of beans from 2 acres leased about 2 kilometers away from our center and 120kgs of beans from the 1-acre of land that was leased right next to our training center. These harvested beans are far much less than we would normally have harvested if the rains had come on time and in sufficient amounts, besides the challenge of rain, our bean harvest was also compromised on one location because we used uncertified seeds, the location where we used certified seeds had a much better production rate and thus we made the decision to always use certified seeds in the production of food for our training center.  Based on the previous term’s consumption patterns, we estimate that these combined beans harvest will be sufficient to feed the students during this 3rd term, however we anticipate that we will need to purchase maize from other farmers in order to meet the consumption demand of the students at our center, because at the moment the students consume much more that can be harvested from a 1 acre piece of land, because of this we plan to lease more land this year for next year’s food production.

 

INCOME SECURITY PROGRAM-UPDATES-29TH AUGUST 2015

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OUR PARTICIPATION IN COMMUNITY EVENTS

 

 

Before closing the school term this month, we had the opportunity of attending a community event in Morpus Rescue Center where an organization called Water Mission was launching one of their water projects. The tailoring students were invited to participate in entertaining the guests during this event. This was a wonderful opportunity because the practice sessions were a fun extra curricular activity that brought the girls together and gave them the opportunity to exercise their creativity and leadership skills, which was great for building their confidence. We now see the need to engage these types of extra curricula activities in the program. During the Water Mission Launching event at Morpus, our Executive director was invited to explain to the residents of Morpus about our income security program activities currently being implemented and the future plans for it.

INCOME SECURITY PROGRAM-UPDATES-25TH AUGUST 2015

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JWW tailoring trainees during a motivational speech by Mr. Lokuk head techer Morpus primary school

JWW tailoring trainees during a motivational speech by Mr. Lokuk head techer Morpus primary school

MOTIVATIONAL TALK TO THE TAILORING STUDENTS

 

In the course of this term we had a chance of inviting the head teacher of Morpus Rescue Center to come to our Center to provide a motivational talk to our students in order to encourage them to focus on hard work and discipline in order to progress well in their training. We hope that when our students go back home for the August holidays, they will serve as good role models to other girls and women back in their respective villages.

FOOD SECURITY PROGRAM-UPDATES-25TH AUGUST 2015

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A SUCCESSFUL MOBILIZATION ACTIVITY

Cheman Brick Makers' chairman addressing his group Members during a field visit.

Cheman Brick Makers’ chairman addressing his group Members during a field visit.

Nonetheless we have been very encouraged by most farmers that we reached during the mobilization process who embraced the program with great expectations. For instance, Cheman brick makers were initially a youth’s group specializing in brick making but after hearing of the food security program Jitokeze has been implementing, they decided to venture into agriculture. The group chairman Mr. George shared with us that in as much as they are not abandoning bricks making, they are ready to engage in farming in order to generate food for themselves and the community. He even shared with the group about what he had learnt concerning the existence of a variety of rice that was drought tolerant, a fact that surprised the group members who knew nothing about rice farming. This Self Help Group is among those who are currently planning to plant green-grams, cowpeas, rice and tissue culture bananas once they get access to the seeds and seedlings for these Drought Tolerant Crop and trees.

INCOME SECURITY PROGRAM-UPDATES-21ST AUGUST 2015

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BOARDING NEEDS

passport pictures of our tailoring trainees who are boarders.

passport pictures of our tailoring trainees who are boarders.

Fourteen of the girls who have been attending the tailoring training class have been attending as boarding students, this has posed great challenges for us because we were not very well prepared to provide boarding facilities to the students, however the fact that these students did not have relatives in Kapenguria to host them caused us to provide hosting for them in our own homes. This has brought with it challenges some of which we hope to deal with by creating a boarding facility at our training center that can provide housing and boarding services to the marginalized women and girls from the lowland areas of West Pokot who enroll in the program. This term alone we need at least 10 double decker beds and closets for the girls dormitory and next year we will be needing 10 more of these beds and closets because we project that some of the girls who will be enrolling for the catering class will also be coming in from far places and will be attending as boarding students.

FOOD SECURITY PROGRAM-UPDATES-21ST AUGUST 2015

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THE STRATEGY WE USE FOR COMMUNITY’S OWN-TRANSFORMATION

Cheman Brick Makers group members  willing to work towards their own transformtion

Cheman Brick Makers group members willing to work towards their own transformtion

Now that we are utilizing participatory approaches to empower the community members to pursue sustainable food security, we are slowly working towards eliminating the strategy we used in the previous years of giving the farmers seeds that were 100% free, with the hope that they would give back by providing other farmers with seeds from their first harvest of the crop. Instead, we now require the farmers to actively participate in their own development by raising and contributing at least half of the inputs they need to engage in sustainable food security activities, this has made us unpopular among some farmers who are not happy about it because they were used to receiving these hand-outs. However we are encouraged by the hope that this strategy will guide us to invest in the lives of the people who are truly interested in working for their own transformation and that of the community at large, a task that is not easy at all because it is about encouraging the people to change a mindset and culture that they have had for many years.

INCOME SECURITY PROGRAM-UPDATE-17TH AUGUST 2015

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AN AWARD FOR PRISCA – TAILORING STUDENT

Prisca Chepkiach  second from Left receiving a sewing machine during her graduation.

Prisca Chepkiach second from Left receiving a sewing machine during her graduation.

Chepkiach Prisca is one of the students that have realized the positive impact the program has had on her. She is the first student who managed to graduate from the tailoring school having attained the requirements for her qualification. Upon her graduation we awarded her with a sewing machine after she had saved half of the amount needed to purchase the sewing machine, from the earnings she had made through commissions she received for producing sewed items for the program. She explained that her success was timely since she had just been blessed with a newborn baby girl –‘God’s time is actually the best. I lack words to express my gratitude towards this success. I will ensure that I maximize the opportunity I have with this machine so as to benefit my family and the community at large.’

 

The success of Priscah, has caused many other marginalized girls in the community to apply to join the tailoring program at our training center. We have received requests from an overwhelming number of women and girls who wish to be enrolled in the program and this has been a challenge for us because we only have 19 sewing machines and can only carter to the needs of 19 students at a time. This being a practical type of training that also attracts semi illiterate women and emphasizes on high quality of sewing production, we have chosen to keep the class small at 20 students per class because we have experienced that one trainer can comfortably serve a maximum of 20 students at a time. Hence rather than buying new sewing machines we have chosen to diversify our courses to include one on Food Technology and Catering which we can provide to women and girls who wish to enroll in the program. Currently we are still working on raising the funds needed to purchase the equipment and furniture as well as pay a trainer who is qualified to provide this technical course in Food Technology and Catering. It is our hope and plans to be able to start this class in January of 2016 and carter for 20 students annually.

FOOD SECURITY PROGRAM-UPDATES-17TH AUGUST 2015

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Impact of Participatory Approach in Mobilization process

Cheptulel Girls High  School 4K-Club students who are among the recruited participants for the Food Security Program

Cheptulel Girls High School 4K-Club students who are among the recruited participants for the Food Security Program

After their capacity building training this year our staff have been able to integrate the participatory approaches they learned in the activities of sensitizing and mobilizing the Self Help Groups participating in the food Security Program this year. This integration has facilitated us to gain more confidence and acceptance by the community leaders and influential individuals and groups in the wards where we are implementing this Food Security Program. In the process we were able to work with the community of Kokwositot and Chepserum Wards to facilitate 58 members from 3 Self Help Groups and 30 students from 2 schools to form 2 Community Peace-building Committees (CPC) each having 3 members and 2 Community Development Committee (CDC) each having 3 members. In addition we also worked with the community of Kapenguria, Morpus and Lomut wards to facilitate 181 members from 13 SHGs and 124 students from 5 schools to form 3 Community Development Committee.  These committees are the ones we work with directly to spearhead the participatory peace building and community development process in these 5 wards where poverty, drought and conflict continue to limit the basic living conditions of the people we serve.

Karamomisyo group, one of the recruited groups to participate in the food security program

Karamomisyo group, one of the recruited groups to participate in the food security program

INCOME SECURITY PROGRAM-UPDATES-13TH AUGUST 2015

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PROMOTING TAILORING STUDENTS TO PRODUCTION LEVEL

 

Jonas Salk’s sense of promotion is that ‘The greatest reward for doing something is the opportunity to do more.’ 6 of our tailoring students experienced this reward during this second term of school this year because they were given the opportunity to join the production class after showing great improvement in their practical sewing training. One of these promoted students is called Nelly Chepeni who shared this in her conversation with one of the staffs, ‘The trainers have been pleased with my work but I must say that I am the one who is much impressed. I will be earning some commission from the products I will make. I am determined to work my fingers to the bone to ensure that I become an expert like Kenneth my trainer.’

As much as some students have had the opportunity to progress to the next class, three students still face great difficulties in the program mainly due to the fact that they lack the basic skills in reading and writing. Our trainers have tried to utilize different strategies in assisting them during the training process but still the ladies registered poor performance at the end of this school term and are lagging behind the students who are literate. As a result of this experience we made the decision to start a special class next term for the illiterate students, whereby we will provide them with one hour of basic training in reading, writing and counting.

FOOD SECURITY PROGRAM-UPDATES-13TH AUGUST 2015

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Demonstration of tag of peace

Demonstration of tag of peace

One of our objectives this year is to improve our capacity to implement the Food Security Program among the people we serve here in West Pokot. We are already realizing this objective come to pass most specifically in the ability of our staff to utilize participatory community development practices that is one of the keys to ensuring that sustainable development occurs in the communities where we serve. Our staff did not have the technical training needed to be able to utilize these participatory practices in their work with the Self Help Groups in the field; hence with funding support from Covenant World Relief and Food Resource Bank we were able to facilitate 7 of our staff to undertake a 5 day training on Integrated Participatory Rural Appraisal, Conflict Management and Participatory Impact Monitoring and had the tailoring students in our Income Security Program participate in the training as community actors. Please refer to this link for a more detailed report of the staff training

After undergoing this PRA training some of our staff had the following to say about this experience:
“I have attended various trainings but this one has been one of its own kind. My degree course mostly involved theories but this one, is very practical. I saw our tailoring students happily participating in some of the PRA illustrations. They represented the community and from their response I project that the community we are going to serve will as well embrace the participatory approach.’JacklineChemutai, programs coordinator.
“This is the training that Jitokeze Wamama Wafrika and other development agencies need. If only we would have had this training since the inception of our projects, we would have impacted the community in a much greater way. Nevertheless, it’s not too late. I liked the fact that PRA ensures sustainable development and community involvement at all levels-Community learn by DOING and not by being TOLD.” Ruth Chebet, M and E coordinator

April 2015 Update from Our Director

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QUARTER 1 NEWSLETTER BY PHILLIPINE KIDULAH

April 2015

Moving to our New Center at Bendera

Our year began with us moving our office to our center in Bendera area of Kapenguria. Since July last year, Pini had been working in the construction of this new center with the hope that we would be able to move there in January. Despite the fact that we still do not have electric supply to this new center, it still is much better suited to meet some of our organizational needs because it possess more office, training space and a small portion of land that we began to use last year to conduct demonstration training on sustainable farming for the ladies in the income security program.
The food generated from this demonstration farm was used to provide lunches and supper to both the day scholars and boarding students in the Income Security Program and the staff of Jitokeze Wamama Wafrika. A small portion of this food was sold to local restaurants and families in order to generate a little bit of income that we ploughed back into the program. This year we will continue to use this land for the same purpose of training and rising of food for our students and staff. In addition to this land we have leased an additional 1.75ha of land that is right next to the center and another 2ha that is further away from the center which we have planted crops that we hope will facilitate us in meeting the food needs of the day and boarding students in the Income Security Program.

Visit and Learning with our New Partners, Food Resource Bank

In September of last year one of our Key partners, Covenant World Relief (CWR) facilitated us to secure a 3 year partnership with Foods Resource Bank for the financial support of our Food Security Program. Hence in January of this year Eric Mattson, the FRB staff responsible for overseeing FRB partnerships in Africa conducted a baseline visit with us together with his wife Linda Mattson. We spent some time with them at our training center in Kapenguria then took them out to visit with the rescued girls and the farmers that serve in the lowland areas of West Pokot. Mr. Eric Mattson, encouraged our farmers to pursue their own development and not think that they are doing it for Jitokeze or for the donors that support their programs run by Jitokeze, he encouraged them by saying “What YOU achieve is your OWN success and never OURS, so do it as your OWN.”
Before and after this visit, FRB facilitated our director Philipine Kidulah to join them in visiting and teach from other development partners that they work with in the Eastern and Coastal Part of Kenya as well as in Uganda and Tanzania. Two of the key lessons that Philipine learnt from this trip that she is now incorporating in the programs run by Jitokeze are principles of Participatory Rural Development that empower communities to purse sustainable development and the role of appropriate technologies in promoting food security in vulnerable communities. We have thus had to revise our new Food Security Program in order to incorporate training for our staff training on Participatory rural Development and also to give more time to the incorporation of these participatory practices in our Food Security Program.

Providing education support for vulnerable children rescued from female genital mutilation and early marriage

Mathew 25:36, “I needed clothes and you clothed me …” During this first quarter we visited with the Rescued girls at Morpus Rescue Center where we donated 53 uniforms that we made last year by the ladies in our Income Security Program. The parents, guardians, teachers and the students were very thankful for the support they received. Mr. Lodongore Lokuk had this to share with JWW staff, “We thank you for these uniforms. The rescued girls will no longer feel inferior because of their tattered clothing they have been wearing. Through your support the community have realised the importance and relevance of education other than FGM & early marriage. To the students, please appreciate this support by working hard in your education. You can clearly see that everyone is striving to assist you achieve your dreams.” Five students out of eight performed well in their last level of primary school and graduated to form one.

This first quarter we also visited with the rescued girls attending the Exodus Rescue Center at Makutano Baptist Church. Some of the girls boldly shared with us their life experiences of being rescued from FGM. It was amazing to also realize that even boys were rescued from cattle rustling. Two boys shared with us that they were involved in the murder of two people during a cattle rustling event and after that they were honoured by their community by being given recognition. Through the Baptist church these boys were rescued and facilitated to attend secondary school. Jitokeze has been holding most of its capacity building trainings in this church and has been able to pay the church some fees for the use of the venue. This has aided the church in supporting the vulnerable girls and boys.

Water Security in Murupus

One of the projects visited was the sand dam constructed on River Tatwa in Morupus which will be attaining maturity in this year. It was quite amazing to have a glimpse of how the project was already benefiting the community. Some goats were enjoyably drinking water from the other side of the dam while students and the neighbourhood have been using the bridge to cross over. One Mr. Joseph Loriwa spoke with JWW staff and Mr. Eric concerning the sand dam, “We thank JWW for the good work done this far. This sand dam here (showing with his right hand) will benefit the school but better still the nearby community. We also wish that the same project is replicated at Melewa…”

Dealing with the Challenges of Peace Building in Sekerot and Cheptulel

Among the farmers we visited with in January are those in Sekerot (Nyangaita Ward) and Cheptulel ( Kokwositot ward), these two groups of farmers have been in conflict over land and water resource around Kerio river that we were planning on supporting the farmers in Sekerot to utilize in implementing an irrigation project. Our plans seemed to have brought this conflict to the surface and we found our organization being at the center of this conflict, so much so that on the 19th of January last year, we were taking out CWR partners to visit with the farmers in Sekerot and upon reaching a place called Kona on the Junction of Cheptulel and Sekerot we were intercepted by the farmers, and youth from Cheptulel who threatened to cause violence if we were to go ahead and work with the farmers in Sekerot to implement an irrigation program. This conflict shook us up as an organization and caused us to make a decision to not go ahead with any more planning for the irrigation project in Sekerot until we were confident that implementing such a project would not bring about conflict and violence among the two groups. Hence we chose to facilitate Daemiano Morulem our Food Security Officer at the time to spend time with the elders and local leaders of this community to try and understand the roots of this conflict and bring them to dialogue about a solution.

The solution brought to our table from these two groups seemed to have been the voice of the Cheptulel farmers, through this whole process the Sekerot farmers seemed to have been silenced by the forcefulness and defensiveness of the Cheptulel farmers. The solution brought forward was that we were to include the Cheptulel farmers as participants of the irrigation project and they were asking that we let the cheptulel farmers comprise 75% of the participants and beneficiaries of the project and the sekerot farmers to comprise only 25%. This solution did not seem fair to us and so we made the decision to include the Cheptulel farmers in our projects but only on an equal basis as the farmers in Sekerot. Clearly this was not satisfactory enough to the Cheptulel farmers because on the 19th of January, exactly one year after our last visit. We were intercepted again at the same place in Kona and by the same farmers and youth only this time they were joined by their local chief and a former political leader who seemed to be spokesperson of the Cheptulel farmers. Just like last year, we had organized to have this meeting with the Sekerot farmers but we could not reach them. The interception forced us to stop at Corner and have this meeting with the Cheptulel farmers instead. And as a result we have made the decision to dedicate this year once again to increase our peace building activities and utilization of participatory approaches in planning for the food security projects that we hope to eventually implement in the area. We were convinced of the importance of utilizing participatory approaches in this area also because during our visit with the Cheptulel farmers this year, a former political leader from the area requested us to form project committees among them and to hire a community facilitator from their own sub-location and not from Sekerot and to also involve all local leaders of both communities in the food security program

Some of the Cheptulel farmers that participated in our food security program in 2014 attended this meeting at Kona and they expressed their appreciation for the impact the program had had on their lives and that of their families, one of them was Mrs Relin who had this to say during the meeting “I personally thank Jitokeze for the 24kgs of green grams seeds that I received from them. When I planted it, it did well and I was able to earn KES 40,000 from the harvest even though my husband was responsible for all this income” Another lady at the meeting testified how she was able to plant the green grams seeds and after her first harvest, she saved some seeds and shared with her neighbours who had not received seeds during our distribution earlier in the year.

After the meeting with the Cheptulel farmers at Kona we visited with Joseph, one of our farmers in Sekerot who has been consistently participating in the food security program despite being directly affected by droughts. He has proven to be determined in eradicating hunger and poverty in his household. Mr Joseph shared with us how he would hire a generator to pump water to his farm but has not been able to benefit so much from it, because it is expensive to hire and is on very high demand in the area. In spite of this he was still able to produce some green grams and maize on his farm some of which he used to feed his family and the surplus he sold and made an income of about KES 10,000.

Starting the implementation of the new Food Security Program

The group of women and girls taking the tailoring training through our Income Security Program are now active participants in the Food Security Program as well. This year they are the first to be facilitated in the implementation of the Food Security Program that is being funded by Covenant world relief, Friends of Jitokeze, Food Resource Bank and the Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America. In February the ladies started spending Tuesdays and Thursdays learning practical skills of sustainable farming and nutrition. So far they have been trained on portable gardening, compost making using the stark method, double digging and introduction to food and nutrition.

Building the capacity of vulnerable women to generate income

This first quarter of the year 2015, new students have enrolled in incredibly large numbers, thanks to the sensitizations made by the previously enrolled tailoring students and JWW staff. 14 new students joined JWW tailoring programme with great enthusiasm. JWW has a plan to include catering and knitting as a course besides tailoring. Jacklyne Chemut, one of the new students who joined JWW in the month of February had this to say, “I am glad that I joined Jitokeze. My main aim of coming to Jitokeze was to take a course in catering but since the course hadn’t started yet, I decided to try tailoring. I can assure you that I don’t regret a single bit. Apart from that I have as well learnt on the agronomic practices in agriculture. I will join catering later when I graduate from tailoring.” The tailoring programme is now well established; students have uniforms, they have comprehensive school rules and regulations and prefects among others.
Priscah has been determined to achieve her dreams since she was enrolled in the tailoring school in 2012. Over this period, she has gained adequate skills & experience in tailoring. Due to her perseverance, Priscah was able to earn a commission of upto KES 26,790 and saved KES 8,105 as at Dec 12th 2014. This implied that she only requires KES 1,895 to own a sowing machine. She has confirmed one of Barack Obama’s quotes to be true, “The best way to not feel hopeless is to get up and do something. Don’t wait for good things to happen to you. If you go out and make some good things happen, you will fill the world with hope, you will fill yourself with hope.” In a few months Priscah will be able to own & manage her sewing machine for food & income generation. A mission achieved by JWW since its inception.

Building the Capacity of the Staff of Jitokeze Wamama Wafrika

In the Month of March and early April, we facilitated 4 of our staff to undertake training in motorcycle riding because this year we will be able to purchase for them a motorcycle from the grant funds provided by CWR and FRB.

Income Security Program Updates – September 29th 2014

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SOME OF THE NEW PRODUCTS MADE BY OUR LADIES

Income Security Program Updates – September 29th 2014

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IMPROVING SOCIO-ECONOMIC STATUS OF VULNERABLE WOMEN PARTICIPATING IN THE INCOME SECURITY PROGRAM
The ladies who were trained in the program last year have been able to benefit from the commission they have generated from the products that they have made through this program,
Prisca Chepkiach had this to say about how she the commission she has earned in this program has helped her

“The money I got through my commission helped me buy a goat for myself, at the moment my goat is at home with my parents in Cheptulel, Central Pokot and it is now benefiting my family as well because it produces milk that my family consumes, at the moment she is pregnant and am excited about it because when I return home for this August holiday I will be there to receive another family member into our herd of goats.”

Prisca showing the wallets that she has learnt to make through this program

Prisca showing the wallets that she has learnt to make through this program

Naomi one of our most shy students had this to say about the impact this program is having in her life “

As for me, the commissions that I have earned from my hard work has really boosted my self confidence and self esteem and everything about me and my work and I can not wait to do more sewing of other diverse products and designs and help others from my community through the skill and the commission that I generate here at Jitokeze. I am very glad that I joined Jitokeze Wamama Wafrika, they have helped to build me up and I know that I will learn more good things and have more opportunities to grow here

Naomi showing off one of the bags that she has learnt to make through this program

Naomi showing off one of the bags that she has learnt to make through this program

In the recent past, the ministry of roads in West Pokot County have been hard at work using their huge graders to pave roads all around the Kapenguria areaa. In this process many people ended up losing their houses, toilets, gates, fences and other property, because these properties were constructed on portions of land demarcated for roads and pavements in the old map of Kapenguria town. Sadly Jane Njeri, one of our oldest students in the program,was one of the people who lost a portion of her home in this process. The process of rebuilding their home was psychologically and financially difficult for her and her family. At the end of last term she had made a good amount of income from the commissions she generated by making laptop bags, this income was very instrumental in helping her to rebuild her home. Many women in our Income security Program go through struggles such as these and they are all motivated and working hard to build their economic capacity hoping that someday they will not be as vulnerable as they are today.

Jane Showing off one of the laptop bags that she learnt to make through the income security program

Jane Showing off one of the laptop bags that she learnt to make through the income security program

Income Security Program Update – September 22nd 2014

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WORKING TOGETHER TO SUPPORT VULNERABLE GIRLS IN MORUPUS RESCUE CENTER
We have a very special relationship with Morupus Rescue Center, a Primary school in West Pokot County that provides education and shelter to girls who have run away from their homes in order to escape female genital mutilation and forced early marriage. Most of these girls have had to severe their ties with their families in order to escape from these types of oppressive practices prevalent in the culture of the Pokot. These girls live like orphans in Morupus trusting in God to provide for their needs through well wishers in the community. These girls hold a very special place in our hearts and our mission as an organization and that is why we do our best to help meet some of the needs that they have.

Rescued girls in Morupus singing in celebration for the construction of the Sanddam that will ease their access to water

Rescued girls in Morupus singing in celebration for the construction of the Sanddam that will ease their access to water

Our relationship with them started with the construction of a sanddam on river Tatwa that borders the school and now provides the school and the surrounding community with water for domestic and agricultural uses. We also support them with relief food supplies during periods of drought and hunger that hits the school really hard, we purchase these food supplies from our farmers in the lowlands areas who are participating in the project of establishing the value chains for the drought tolerant crops, white sorghum and green grams, in this way we facilitate the farmers to access a market for their surpluses while facilitating the vulnerable children in Morupus to access the much needed food during times of drought and hunger. We have also supported them with chickens that they are now raising in the school to help meet the food needs of these children. Last year we made the decision to facilitate the ladies in the Income Security Program to utilize the skills that they have learnt on sewing uniforms to make uniforms for these vulnerable girls, thus last year we donated sets of uniforms to six vulnerable girls in Morupus, at the beginning of this year we also donated another six set of uniforms and in January Next year we target to donate 50 sets to the girls in Morupus that are participating in the food security program.

Prisca cutting some of the shirts to be sewed for the rescued girls in Morupus

Prisca cutting some of the shirts to be sewed for the rescued girls in Morupus

Last quarter we facilitated the ladies in the Income Security Program to start producing the 50 sets of uniforms needed for donations to the rescued girls in January next year. In this manner the ladies earn some income through commissions that they make by producing the uniforms to be donated to the vulnerable girls in Morupus who are also working very hard to overcome the challenges of poverty and oppressive cultural practices.

Income Security Program Updates – September 15th 2014

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TRAINED OUR LADIES ON NUTRITION AND REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH
In the last quarter, we were able to provide our ladies with training on Health and Nutrition as well as training in reproductive health and contraceptive use. All of these ladies had not had a chance to learn about reproductive health and sexuality because of the prevailing attitude in West Pokot County that perceives sex as a shameful thing to talk about and thus limits majority of the parents here from talking to their children about sex and reproduction and how to guard one’s sexuality out of honor rather than abusing it.

IRENE CHEPKECH

IRENE CHEPKECH

Irene Chepkech a tailoring student from Lomut Ward made this comment after one of the training sessions on reproductive health

It is against our culture to talk about sex with our parents and so I am happy that here in Jitokeze Wamama Wafrika we are taught about safe sex and family planning, which are issues that are never even mentioned in our homes and even at the school that I attended. I already have a daughter and am happy about her but life has been so difficult since I got pregnant and gave birth to her and so sometimes I attend these trainings, I feel that if these trainings were provided for us back when I was an adolescent, then I would not have fallen pregnant without knowing or planning. I could have done more about guarding my sexuality, but now that I know this I will teach my daughter and other young girls who are also lost in the struggles of adolescence.


TRAINED INFORMAL FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT USING THE VSLA APPROACH
We also continued to provide the tailoring students with training on the Village Saving and Loan Association (VSLA) that falls under Self Help Group (SHG) capacity building training. The students were trained to form SHGs where they would be saving on a weekly basis and when need arises, they would be free to take her accumulated savings from the group and use it to meet the needs they are facing. Our main objective for introducing this aspect of Self Help Group capacity building training was to enable the tailoring students to learn the value of saving money for their near future. However tailoring ladies were unable to make positive progress in establishing their SHG and saving weekly, the main challenge was the lack of trust among the tailoring ladies, who having come from diverse areas did not know each other from before joining the program and thus had a hard time in trusting each other with their savings. Besides this the ladies also experienced a challenge of not having a regular source of income from which they can save in the Self Help Groups and thus many of them were hoping that once they were able to secure an income from engaging in tailoring businesses then they can be able to have some money to save in the future. These types of challenges are common in our work, but they serve to uplift us and help us make a turn and head towards the very best that we dream of and want.

Income Security Program Updates – September 9th 2014

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BACK FROM THE AUGUST HOLIDAYS
Yesterday our students and trainers in the Income Security Program came back from the August holidays, that started on August 1st. It was a 5 weeks holiday, however some ladies like Prisca, Lilian and Mary actually came back a week earlier to work on their products. The others returned returned yesterday. We trust that we will have another wonderful qaurter before we close again in December.

Group Photo with Some of the Ladies in the income Security Program right before closing for the August holidays

Group Photo with Some of the Ladies in the income Security Program right before closing for the August holidays

INCREASE IN PROGRAM ENROLLMENT
Last quarter we experienced such an impressive pattern in enrollment where many vulnerable young girls came with a lot of enthusiasm to learn how to sew products that they can sell in order to improve their status of income security and that of their households. Most of the new girls who enrolled came from the households of Self Help Group members who are participating in the food Security program and majority of them came from the central part of West Pokot County, in Lomut Ward where we started implementing our Food Security Projects, when we started the organization back in May of 2012. We are experiencing such a great increase in the trust that the farmers we serve in the lowland areas have in us, so much so that these farmers who are parents are the ones who are sending their vulnerable daughters to Makutano to undertake the tailoring training that we are conducting through the income security program. So many of these farmers want to send more vulnerable girls from their homes and communities at large, however due to the fact that we have a limited training capacity and we lack a place to accommodate these girls we made the decision to stop recruitment and asked the farmers not to send any more of their girls into the program until next year when we will have improved our capacity to meet the training and accommodation needs of any new ladies joining the program.

Some of the new girls recruited in the Income Security Program in this past  quarter.

Some of the new girls recruited in the Income Security Program in this past quarter.

Why must we empower women?

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women empowerment jitokeze wamama wafrika imaan jemimah

women empowerment
jitokeze wamama wafrika

“All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights” – Hillary Clinton

Women are much more than fashion, children and love lives. They are forces of nature, pillars of communities and they hold the key to a prosperous future in their hands.

Women in west Pokot bear the brunt of poverty; they are denied the right to own land and being a farming economy, they are left struggling for food and upkeep.

Women are compassionate and more interested in the health and wellbeing of communities than in war for territory. No woman would start a genocide. Desmond Tutu once said that the way to end wars is to let women take over because they are more inclined towards compassion than violence. They are life giving and life affirming which makes them natural peace keepers. Statistics have shown that the more women are elected in government office the more democratic the county gets. For instance, Rwanda is one of the most fastest growing economies in Africa and the African country with the largest share of women in government.

It’s important to empower women because women are more social compared to men and they naturally work together as opposed to working against each other. This means that economic ideas, opportunities and knowledge are easily shared within the community when a woman is empowered with said skill.

Empowering women through income security is one step towards global transformation. When women are empowered economically, more money goes to their children, their wellbeing and communities. Empowering them is a self-sustaining cycle, by helping women stand in their own right we are including them in the economic scene and ultimately creating a stable economic structure.

Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for your continued support of the Jitokeze Wamama Wafrika organization because you are in one way changing individual lives and the rural society as a whole.

Nancy’s Success Story with the Jitokeze Wamama Wafrika Food Security Program

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Nancy, a middle aged Pokot woman narrates her story in a small, dimly lit hut in a rural Pokot village. The lines on her face tell a story of frustration, despair and above all else – determination. Robbed off her innocence at the tender age of 14, she was betrothed to a 40 year old polygamous man with 3 other wives. Being the youngest of them, she was subjected to suffering and hardship but still managed to put the future of her children above all else. She was initiated into marriage with what can be described in the modern society as child molestation.

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“I was sent to my hut without food on the day I arrived at the homestead and then that night he came into my room, had his way with me and when I cried he hit me”

She narrates.

You can see her eyes slowly drifting into her cold dark past. She immediately became pregnant and soon realized that she was on her own.

“My husband never brought food, rarely visited and when he did, it was for sexual intercourse and senseless beatings”

Against the difficulty she endured, she raised three children all before the age of 20. Frustrated she tried running back to her parent’s home but her brothers would hear none of it, they could not stomach the thought of returning the dowry that was paid to them and the shame that their family would endure. For these reasons, accused of being a bad wife, beaten and sent back. On returning to her matrimonial home, she was given another beating by her husband while her children watched helplessly and punished when they tried to intervene.

Relief came when her husband died of malaria and then it was every wife for herself and her children. Having sold most of his land to finance his alcoholic habits, there was nothing left to inherit. Since Nancy had nothing tying her to her matrimonial home, she made her way to another village with her children looking for a fresh start. In this new village she started working as a casual laborer and enrolled her children in a public school.

“My biggest challenge is buying them school uniforms and paying the sh. 800 ($10) they need for break time porridge every term”

She says.

Nancy is one of the women in the Jitokeze food security program. She was a beneficiary of week old chicks that were given to her group members under the indigenous Poultry value chain project. She reared her two chicks zealously and now has a total of 46 chicken. She sells some of these chicken whenever she needs school fees or books for her children.

“These chicken have been a blessing for me and without Jitokeze Wamama Wafrika, I may have not been able to provide these necessities for my children”

She asserts.

She admits that her life has taken a better direction since she joined the Jitokeze Wamama Wafrika group and it is even better compared to her days married to her deceased husband.

Nancy is one in thousands (If not millions) of women in the rural African society carrying the weight of the rural economy on their shoulders. Ask any rural African which parent was responsible for putting food on the table, clothes on their backs and constantly badgering them to go to school- chances are that it’s the mother.

In a society where men have resigned to drinking themselves out of consciousness, women have taken up the role of both the father and mother in the family. Helping women like Nancy by providing economic resources, skills or knowledge is ultimately building an entire economic system in the rural African society.

Three cheers to Jitokeze Wamama Wafrika!

Food Security Program Update 2nd May 2015

Jitokeze wamama wafrika is a community based organization that works with marginalized communities in the low land areas of West pokot to improve food security in the region, enable participants engage in activities that can help them generate income as well as train them on peace and conflict transformation which is the corner stone for development.

To achieve this, we have been working with various self help groups and we can attest to the social economic benefits that members of these groups have achieved since we started working with them in our Food security program.

Kakuko SHG is one of the groups we have been working with in Batei Ward under Mr. Edwin Juma. The group had started years back as a movement against sokoria, a popular tree whose leaves are used as vegetables by most people in the low land areas of Pokot, after some girls fell off it. Members came together and started farming with the aim of producing vegetables and selling them to the community around but due to harsh climatic conditions the project did not go far.

Their dream however did not die and when Jitokeze came in the region in 2015, the 14 women and two men agreed to work with the organization in raising poultry for generating income and engaging in farming of drought tolerant crops through attending training and practicing what they have been taught in their farms.

Members share that their vegetable project had failed the first time because they did not have the knowledge which they now have. They have acquired skills in Agro forestry practices; poultry keeping and crops production which has seen them raise money and improve their living standards through farming.

Through building local brooders (chepkubes) members have been able to raise chicks and most of them have sold part of their flocks to raise money for purchasing chain links for fencing their farms. They have also been able to purchase grafted mango seedlings and tissue culture bananas which each member will be planting in her farm besides the pawpaw seedlings that they had raised in their demo site and shared among themselves.

Participants are now aware of drought tolerant crops such as cow peas, ground nuts, cassava, maize, beans and sweet potatoes and after seeing how well they did last year in the demo site, they are each going to plant some in their own farms. They thank the organization for the trainings and above all helping them meet half the required costs of purchasing farm inputs.

Apart from farming, the group also engages in making bracelets and ornaments from beads and selling them in the local market. Some members also engage in preparing herbs for treating various diseases which they also sell at the local market. The money acquired belongs to the group and it is loaned to members who later pays it back with an interest.

Mr Richard Lokuk, the group’s chairman feels they have achieved their goal because they can now feed their children, pay fees and have a little more money to save. He says all this would not have been possible without each members’ effort and contribution. He is grateful to the organization for boosting them and making it possible for them to grow and have the desire to continue growing. He shared that most people from the community around are asking to join the group but at the moment they have not yet decided if to expand the membership or create another group and share the knowledge and help them also grow just as they have been helped by jitokeze.