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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.