A lack of education and standing for women is creating a cycle of child poverty
Margaret Ikiara, leader of CIFORD, our partners in Kenya, has nearly 30 years' experience in crop husbandry, agricultural economics, teaching and community development. She explains this cycle:
"Continued poverty in the society was due to high school drop-out rates among the girls due to Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), early marriages and teenage pregnancy. The women continued to be marginalized and could not make decisions which would affect community development. In a community where many women do not complete primary school, high malnutrition and child mortality are common due to ignorance."
- Educate women and girls, increasing their knowledge and skills to reduce extreme hunger and child mortality
- Empower women through education to raise their whole family's standard of living
- Enable women to create their own employment through efficient and effective growing and selling of crops
Meet the brilliant: Harriet.
Posted on 16th Mar 2018
Harriet is 59 and works six days a week farming and running her own shop, where she sells fruit and veg and other groceries.
Every Thursday, she goes to Kauria Self-Help Group meetings. The group is one of many that are supported by Child.org's partner organisation CIFORD. Women in Harriet's community meet together and receive vital training and support each other.
Harriet speaks proudly about her involvement with the women's group. She says that the group provides vital basic assistance to vulnerable people in the community.
As an example, Harriet highlighted the importance of the group's 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 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.
Hard working community-focussed women like Harriet are determined to lift their whole communities out of poverty. All they need is practical training and support.
With training, women can support themselves, their families and their communities
“Our neighbours are using the skills from us and we believe with the continued training, our community will be food secure, I thank CIFORD for supporting Women in our community.” Margaret Muthee, Akaiga Women group
Child.org supports women like Margaret Muthee by providing the skills, resources and the confidence necessary for sustainable farming.
Our partners CIFORD provide training in agricultural practice and vital tools needed to ensure crops succeed, principally water storage so that during times of drought, their livelihoods aren't at risk and their families and communities can thrive.
Where we work
Meet Margaret Ikiara and the women of Meru
These women live in one of the poorest parts of Kenya, and this is where Child.org's Meru Women’s Garden Project is changing lives, in collaboration with Soroptimist International Great Britain & Ireland.
CIFORD, a local Community Based Organisation will be delivering the programme and is based in Maua (meaning flower) in Meru County, Kenya. The Soroptimists are partnering with Child.org to fund the project. Read more at meruwomen.org
Empowering women can break the cycle of poverty.
By supporting women in the community, Child.org can lift families out of poverty by opening up new opportunities for their children to have enough to eat and go to school.
We work in areas where many women have lost their husbands to HIV/AIDs, or been abandoned by husbands who left to look for work and never returned. In these most rural of areas, women can leave school early for many reasons ranging from child marriage to FGM, and be left without the knowledge they need to grow food and support their families.
Child.org partners work with these women to give them extensive training in growing healthy maize, vegetable crops and fruit trees. This valuable knowledge can be passed on to other women in the community and to their children, effectively leading whole communities out of hunger in a way that is self-sufficient, with everyone able to grow the food they need.
Child.org have supported over 400 women led households to become independent and able to feed their families, and there are many more who need our support.
How you can help
If you want to help give children access to more opportunities by supporting women and girls, we would love to have you on board.
You can support Child.org in the best possible way by becoming a part of Child.org Core, the club for supporters who want to understand how International Development works, and value transparency, not sales spin.
Want to do something else to help women to support their families? Take a look at our Do Something page.
If you're a Soroptimist, we would love to hear about the work you are doing in your group to support the Meru Women's Garden Project! Please get in touch with Amanjit for support and ideas by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or find more details and resources at meruwomen.org.