Dear Global Giving Friends,
On 28th May 2016 I visited a group of women in Ntugi, Meru county to find out what they are doing with the knowledge and skills imparted to them through our training since November last year. The group has been introduced to concepts of income generation activities and are being encouraged to develop entrepreneurial minds and interests to curb poverty trends in the areas. This way we will use this model Training of Trainers group to reach others in the village. During our first meeting with the group, Caroline, one of our mentees and I had introduced them to the topics of income generation activities and reproductive health.
We are happy to report that the group meets twice a month to educate each other and share knowledge and experiences mainly concerning family life, children’s education and health and business involvement. They have also devised ways of adding value to their liquid soap that they make through adding traditional perfumes to make it more appealing to young mothers. The vertical gardens that we introduced them to are also doing well though the challenge of water shortage is reducing their yields.
Glory, another of our mentees who hails from the same county, is also doing well in a hair dressing job which she got into after her experience with our organization, SAWA. To complement her income from this job, she has learned to sell vegetables and fruits in the evenings near her place of residence. She hopes that she will save enough to start her own hair dressing business so she can quit employment. She is optimistic that she will also be able to offer employment to a few needy girls, thus giving back to the community
With my sincere gratitude for your support in this effort to improve the opportunities for young girls,
June 13, 2016
Thank you so much for supporting the PATHWAYS scholars. Today we want to report on our annual conference that was held from April 30 to May 1, 2016 at the PEC House in Nairobi. The program was run by third year scholar Eric Lemungesi, who emphasized the need for group cohesion by discussing the proverb, “If you want to go fast, go alone, but if you want to go far, go together”. Among the speakers were Michael Murigi (alumnus) on the topic of leadership and integrity in Kenya and Joy Mbaabu on the importance of communication, especially in the way of expectations. Time was taken to discuss the importance of wellness, physical as well as mental, and even everyone participated in a short yoga class. Finally, as a fun exercise and to think about where their life path is headed, the scholars wrote what they think their epitaphs would be (see below).
1 Erick:“1994-2070.”Eric was a peace loving person who brought smiles to many. He will be highly remembered for many good things he has done. May his soul rest in eternal life”
2 Marilyn : “Daktari always walked in the light. May she R. I. P…”
3 Samuel:“Samuel fought for the rights of people…”
4 Isaac:“He achieved his goals. May he R. I. P….”
5 Ascarnancy:“Ascar was a joyful person who put a roof over the heads of many…”
6 Catherine:“BORN: 29.12.1991,SUNSET: …“You were a great leader, have treated many, you are irreplaceable. We love you but god loved you more
7 Annastacia:“A professor with a name i.e. mama Lucy…”
8 Monicah:“Here lies a woman who inspired many and gave her all to the community…”
9 Justas:“A great teacher of his time…”
10 Brian:“Was a true leader who helped many to build destinies…”
11 Shadrack:“Your body can be dead but millions of your big heart are alive…”
The conference was a good opportunity to share and learn from each others' experiences with university as well as community projects. We are extremmly grateful for your continued support in this program to develop future leaders through leading community development projects.
The impact of our girl’s mentorship program is attracting other members of the society as individuals and as groups. One such group is the young mothers, majority of them being housewives. Out of this need, we have brought together 12 young mothers aged between 18 to 30. This group has identified two areas where they want to be empowered: income generation activities and reproductive health. The group is based in Meru, the home area of Caroline, a pioneer participant in our mentorship group. It is out of Caroline’s efforts that she has become an icon of hope that women are eager to learn from her.
Our aim is to use this group of 12 in a Training of Trainers (TOT) model where they will train others in the village. During our first meeting with the group, Caroline and I introduced them to the topics of IGAs and Reproductive health. Many of them have two to three children between 6 months to 12 years. Although married, some have abusive spouses who do not care for the family leaving the mothers as sole bread winners. Others are single mothers who got children out of wedlock, with two becoming mothers when they were 16 years old and in primary school. The highest level of education in the group is class 8 certificate (did not join high school). In the meeting we planned activities with them and for them this year which includes the following:
1. Learning soap production skills which will be used at their homes as well as being made an economic activity for those who wish to do so. We will provide a small starting financial support for the first 5 who initiate soap or a related project within the course of the year.
2. Introducing them to vertical gardens where they cultivate vegetables for their own consumption as well as for small businesses. The gardens require small piece of land as well as limited amount of water. One vertical garden occupies less than one cubic meter and can produce vegetables enough for a family of four for a period not less than three months. We will support one garden per woman which includes buying seeds/seedlings, fertilizers and pesticides.
3. Lessons/seminars on reproductive health, targeting on family planning. It emerged that some women are not in any kind of birth control plan and do not know where to turn to for advice. One of the members aged 21 is two months pregnant and the first born baby is barely nine months. We will engage services of trained nurses/health workers who will be able to offer monitoring support to the women.
The group has agreed to organize others after the training to disseminate the knowledge acquired, thereby producing a multiplier effect.
We thank our supporter for enabling us do all this.