Nakuru County, meaning ‘a dusty place’ is located North-West of Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, situated in the former Rift Valley province. Agriculture is seen to be the backbone of the county and it is here that the first of five International President’s Appeal projects is gathering momentum, working with the Mwihoko Women’s Group, supported by the SI Union of Kenya and local stakeholders.
Implementing the targets in Sustainable Development Goals, 4, 5 and 6, the Mwihoko Project, based around a unique education and training programme, is generating opportunities for women and girls in leadership; creating sustainable food security to families; facilitating access to water and clean energy, and through these activities, developing opportunities for the economic growth.
SI is delighted to announce that Phase one of the project is now nearing completion. Following a recruitment process, the Mwihoko Women Group, supported by the SI Union of Kenya and local partners, identified 74 women farmers to be leaders, participants, and beneficiaries of this transformative project.
The community resource centre was significantly upgraded to include a refurbishment and the setting up of a farming demonstration plot, which was equipped with technologies and tools required to provide high-quality and relevant training programmes to the women. A training programme was designed, and two water tanks and a water pan were installed and connected to a toilet building, resulting in the centre being fully water self-sufficient.
An immense amount of organising and hard work has taken place on the new demonstration plot; trees were planted, vegetable seed nurseries and beehives were installed, and subsequently, a two-day training session took place. The women were educated in farming techniques such as seed planting and double ploughing and a variety of crops were planted, all of which are in various stages of growth. Many of the vegetables are now ready to be harvested and thanks to the education and hands-on training provided, the women are now farming at least five different crops on their individual farms and receiving much higher yield than ever before.
The first phase of the project is considered a significant success. The women no longer need to buy their vegetables for home consumption and are instead harvesting their own vegetable crops to feed themselves and their families. Grains planted are expected to be harvested in two-months-time.
SI President Mariet Verhoef-Cohen says: “It is wonderful to see the project taking shape and already reaping rewards. Yields have already doubled and the women are hugely ambitious and committed to the project and their own future sustainability. I wish to thank the Mwihoko Women Group, the SI Union of Kenya, especially the team of five, Rose, Elizabeth, Lenah, Sophie and Asha, and all those who have played a part in the great achievements gained so far. I would particularly like to thank the Federations and the SI membership for giving so generously to make this project a reality”.
A celebratory launch at the beginning of the two-day training programme welcomed Dr. Morris O. Omondi, Nakuru County Directorate of Agriculture, representing the County Governor, and a tour of the area was conducted for the SI UK President, Dorothy Shiroya and Deputy Governor, Christine Achola. It is hoped a total of 2,000 persons will achieve increased food security through properly cultivated selected crop in 396 acres and 126 multi-story gardens and 374 women farmers will improve their economic situation as a result of using best practices and appropriate technology. It is anticipated that the project will then be copied to other communities within Kenya, under the supervision of the SI Union and Clubs in Kenya.
The SI Union of Kenya (SIUK) has 12 clubs and 156 members and is working on the project with four SI clubs: SI Nakuru Club, SI Milimani Club, SI Karen Blixen Club and SI Maseno Club.
Help us Help the women of Nakuru County – How Soroptimists can make a difference
The purchase of a 5000 ltr water tank with infrastructure – € 361 = £320
Purchase of seeds, fertilizers, and pesticides – € 112 = £99
A multi-story garden – € 40 = £35
Soil testing and advice – € 20 = £18
On-site training on the test field by local agronomists – € 16 = £14
6-day hands-on training at Egerton University on Agricultural business such as new techniques, crops and seeds, entrepreneurship and finance – € 264 = £233.69
Renewable Energy saving pollution-free stoves – € 32 = £28
Total costs for one women farmer – € 845 = £748
To make a donation and help ensure the success of the next phase of the project, please do so through your own Federation.
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