Posted on
08th Mar 2017
by Anjali Dwesar

Community engagement Education Health Nutrition

Today is International Women's Day - a day to celebrate the achievements of hard-working and strong women across the world. 

We're proud to work with CIFORD, an organisation based in Meru County, Kenya. CIFORD work with women's groups across the county, training them in sustainable agricultural practices and providing them with the tools and seeds to generate their own income. Through educating, empowering and enabling the women, they are impacting the whole community. The women can support their families with food, fund their children's school fees and educate their peers on sustainable farming practices.

 

Harriet (above) is 58 years old and a member of Kauria Self-Help Group, supported by CIFORD. She works 6 days a week in farming, as well as running her own shop. In her shop, Harriet sells fruit, vegetables and other general groceries. 

Harriet speaks proudly about her involvement with the women's group and she attends a weekly meeting every Thursday. She says that the group provides vital basic assistance to vulnerable people in the community. In addition, Harriet highlighted the importance of their weekly 'merry-go-round' scheme. This scheme, known as 'chama' in Kiswahili, is common across Kenya and acts as an informal saving group for members of the community. Members of the women's group, Kauria, contribute a small sum of money once a week during their meetings. Each week, this collection of money is paid to one of the members of the group. This allows the women to save their money informally and use the larger sums of money to pay for things like school fees and invest in farming tools. Harriet says that with the scheme, she's been able to increase the stock of her shop, maximising her income so that she can fund her children's school fees. 


(Above) Mwero Muthanga's Women's Group completing their weekly merry-go-round. 

Our partnership with CIFORD is generously supported by Soroptimist International Great Britain and Ireland (SIGBI). We won a bid to be SIGBI's Federation Partner for 2016-2019 in November 2015. 

In 2016, Child.org and CIFORD created a comprehensive plan to ensure the future sustainability of the women's groups. A key focus of our future work will be training new mothers in the community on nutritional health. The overall aim is to have a long-term impact on the nutritional status of children in the region, using the women's group model as a vehicle for driving change. For more information about the women that we work with in Meru, please visit meruwomen.org