Dear Global Giving Friends,
The girls we are mentoring are continuing to benefit immensely from the instruction and guidance we are giving them.
Here is an update of how things have been going recently with our mentorship program. We have managed to engage a full time computer trainer, who is competent enough to assist in the other courses we offer.
The full time computer tutor has been retained on a six month contract. It was amazing that during the interview, one of the girls who went through the mentorship program, Caroline Gacheri, emerged the best beating two others from other training institutions. Caroline who started her appointment on 15th November is grateful that her interaction with SAWA has opened her employment opportunity as a computer trainer.
One of our mentees is Glory Kanorio, a girl who completed her high school last month. She is waiting to hear if she is accepted to join university. Within only two weeks, Glory has gained business skills and thinks that she can start a small agricultural based business at her rural home come early next year. In her own words:
“This training has changed my perspective in life, I only thought of employment as a career, but with the skills I have acquired, I can identify a business idea, write a plan and implement it efficiently. I am confident that no matter how my KSCE results will be, I will not be stranded in life, thanks to SAWA.”
We have also received news from Margaret Naipanoi, another mentee, that she is training the girls in her own mentorship group in bead making and they are optimistic of a good sale this Christmas. She has requested us to offer her with marketing skills, and we are thinking of including this component into the program. SAWA staff have an invitation to visit Margaret’s group on 1st January 2012.
Attached in this email is a photo for Caroline and one of the mentees that Caroline is now training.
With my sincere gratitude for your support in this effort to improve the opportunities for young girls,
Maragua Division, Kenya
I wanted to pass along two specific stories that illustrate the immense impact your support of the cassava project is having on the lives of my community members, especially the women.
Winnie Muthoni is a 38-year old single mother of four. For her family's daily bread, she had been fetching water on her back and selling to her neighbors. She does this no more. Being among the first to be trained on how to prepare cassava dishes through the project, Winnie has started her own business. She mills cassava and grains into flour, at the mill you helped us acquire, and with that she prepares dough nuts, chapattis and porridge. She sells these at the nearby Irigiro Shopping Centre or whenever there are ceremonies in the village. She merrily says," I have become my own employer, earning much higher income than in my previous agonizing job. My children are now assured of a better up-bringing. Being a girl-child in my father's homestead, I inherited the smallest piece of land. I am therefore saving towards renting a larger plot to grow more cassava." She thanks all those who have made her life-change possible. See photos of Winnie at the mill.
Mrs. Rachael Wanjiku is a mother of four. She owns 2 cattle that she milks and sells the milk to her neighbors. The revenue that accrues greatly assists her towards meeting her family's needs. Rachael proudly says that the cassava project has been a " double - blessing" for her. She was among the first farmers to adopt cassava growing through the project. Now, she is able to mill a part of her cassava produce into flour for her cattle feeds, at the machine that you helped us acquire. She says, " By milling my cassava into flour for feeding the cattle, I have in a big way cut down costs and improved the animals' health. The corn-based feed that I was buying earlier were much more costly and less nutritious." She grows her own cassava and mills it at the nearby milling machine, at a reduced cost. As a result, her profit has greatly increased. She adds, " Next year, I am venturing into pig rearing. I will be milling my cassava at the machine for pig feeds." She thanks all those who made her "double-blessing" happen. See photos of Rachael with her cattle.
I am happy to have been given this opportunity to make a change in my community. Thank you for helping us succeed. I look forward to seeing this project grow even more and starting other social businesses in the future.
With heartfelt gratitude,
8th Report November 30, 2012
Thank you so much for supporting Dennis Mutwiri, Nafisa Ayuko, and Michael Murigi, who have benefited greatly from the combination of university education and leadership training through community development activities. As we reported in August, graduated and is now teaching at a girls school, so we have asked Jemimah, another PATHWAYS scholar, to report on her project. The members of the communities have continued to benefit through the projects the PATHWAYS scholars have initiated. Below is an update on the specific progress they have made to improve the lives of their community members and their community environments.
Jemimah Peters report- Improvement of the local economy through developing a water source to aid food security
I would like to take this chance to give an update on my project. At the moment the poultry project implementation is going on well. After a long discussion, our women’s group decided that the poultry house would be constructed at the church compound as that is the central point and also to avoid any misunderstandings that could possibly emerge if it was constructed at a member's home. As the first phase of the poultry house construction, the members dug the foundation, and brought together the required materials like sand, construction stones and bricks. The construction has already started (see photos) and they hope to complete it in the next three weeks. From the healthy discussion they had with my fellow PATHWAYS scholars who visited my project, they have decided that they are at first going keep the local breed of chicken, unlike we had earlier planned for layers, which will be very expensive to maintain. They are very optimistic about the project and they just can't wait to see the outcome. For the farming, they had decided to transplant their seedlings once it rains as they are expecting rains. But as Alphonse, my fellow PATHWAYS scholar, shared, it is still very dry and dusty and the rivers are also dry. But they are hoping that soon it is going to rain. The members appreciate the help that the water tanks purchased earlier have been to them. Besides watering their crops it has helped the church members and especially on Sundays because the water is used for drinking and cooking among other uses. This has helped the mothers because before,it was still their responsibility every Sunday to bring water to church with jerrycans. Therefore, with water available in the tanks, it has reduced their burden and that of other community members of carrying water every Sunday. Again as a self help group which is registered, they have benefited from seminars which are normally organized by the ministry of agriculture and specifically for registered groups to learn more about ways of farming in dry areas. Even though there has been no improvement in their income as per now,they are determined to move on as they look forward to more growth and expansion of the project. With the motivation and inspiration they got from my fellow PATHWAYS scholars, Dennis,Alphonse and Brian, I know there is going to be a great improvement.
I am looking forward to communicating with you about our progress. Thank you so much for your support of our efforts to help improve our local economy.
Dennis Mutwiri’s project – Solar panels, planting trees and fish farming.
Dear Global Giving Donors and Friends,
It is my hope that you are doing well. Am also good. I traveled home and I met and spent time with my group's members. We held a meeting to review the year 2012 and discuss the way forward. We had an opportunity to analyze and discuss each of the four projects. In this report, I will shed light on each of them.
i. Fish Farming Project
I begin with appreciating your aid in fencing the pond. We bought materials to complete this work and fencing will resume after members set a day to work on this. I had reported earlier that the Ministry had supplied us with 300 fingerlings. The group had earlier made effort to put more fingerlings ahead of the Ministry's supply. In total, the pond holds approximately 700 fish with around 400 ready for sale. In terms of feeding, the Ministry provides food for the fish. In October last year, we received 100 Kg of fish feeds. This will go a long way since a grown fish consumes only 3g daily. We have appointed a chairperson who attends the fish daily and attends seminars regarding fish farming frequently.
As at now, at least two thirds of the pond's population is ready for market.
The Ministry had allocated four ponds in our location, however, it is only our pond that has survived and raised the fish. The rest failed. This has impacted us negatively in the sense that the Ministry meant to market our product in bulk. The targeted quantity is cannot be reached as at now hence the delay. My group officials are however negotiating with the responsible officers to get things done.
ii. Tree nursery Project
We realized that the most demanded trees are the exotic ones. This realization came by when the forestry department that had agreed to purchase the indigenous breed failed us. We were only able to sell very few of the trees and distributed others to members who were willing to plant them. It is from this that we put up an exotic trees nursery in September so that the trees would be ready during the April/May long rains.
In the previous season, three of our members planted 50 exotic trees from our nursery. The trees are now grown and will be of benefit soon.
iii. Solar Power Project
The project is fairly doing well. We are still carrying on green energy campaign in the region. The main challenge of late is the government's initiative to electrify rural areas under Rural Electrification Authority. This has greatly shifted the region's interests from solar to electric power. We are hoping that they will soon see some sense in what we stand for with time.
However, those who are continuing to purchase the solar kit are at the moment reaping a great deal of benefits (see photos). The member is using the power for lighting and powering a radio set (also pictured). Commercially, she charges people's mobile phones in the neighborhood at the rate of sh. 10 per phone. She uses the money to repay the solar. She says that, of late she has cut costs on fuel and charging her own phone and those the rest of the family members.
We are looking forward to intensify this trend among the members and community in general.
This project has been of immense benefit to every member in the group. Three members can now borrow sh. 10000 while five can borrow up to sh. 8000. The interest rate is still 10%. Initially, we were loaning out everything to make our capital grow. But from the 15th of this month, the members agreed that they will be banking sh. 4000 monthly to secure the project.
The group members agreed to save money in all the projects in order to start other projects like sheep rearing which is more viable and profitable.
As always, I want to extend my deep appreciation on behalf of myself and all of my community members for your constant support,
Michael Murigi’s report -Growing cassava for food security and income.
I am happy to report that our community participated in the World Food Day Celebrations by holding a public forum on cassava on 16th, October 2012 at Kigumo Divisional headquarters. During the event, hundreds were taught on the benefits of the highly nutritious and drought resistant Cassava as a food, fodder and cash crop. The community members also utilized the opportunity to sell various cassava products including doughnuts, porridge,chips, crisps (see photos of people buying and enjoying cassava products).
A few months ago I was invited to the AGRA dinner. AGRA is a group that promotes food security in Africa. It was one of the best moments in my life. Being amidst technocrats from all over Africa. From outside AGRA, Prof. Agnes Wang'ombe, the Principal, College of Agriculture, University of Nairobi and I were the only Kenyans in attendance. I was by far the youngest guest, all the others being Professors and Doctorate holders. I made a brief presentation of how we are enhancing food security through cassava . We celebrated Dr. Namanga Ngongi , from Cameroon, for his efforts towards a green revolution in Africa as the First President of AGRA. It was a wonderful experience!
Many thanks to all of you for believing in our cassava project for food security. You are making a large difference in our community!