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.
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.
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.
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
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.