Maragua Division, Kenya
Our cassava project to increase food security and improve the economic situation of my community members has been progressing extremely well over the last year. I want to tell you about two of my community members, Mrs. Njoki and Mr. Maina, who have benefitted in a significant way.
Mrs Martha Njoki was widowed 10 years ago. She inherited a piece of land measuring 2 acres. Ever since, she could not afford to cultivate her land due to large amount of costs incurred and frustrations involved with corn growing. Last year, she decided to venture into the cost -effective and much profitable cassava farming. She received free cuttings from the project. Her whole land is now under cassava. She sells a part of her produce raw, while the rest she grinds into flour at the mill you helped us acquire. She uses the cassava flour for her own domestic consumption and sells the extra to some of her neighbors. She says," The cassava project has enabled me to utilize the only resource that my late husband left behind. This has put some good money into my pocket." Please see the photos of Martha at the mill for the grinding of her produce.
The other community member I would like to tell you about is Mr. Charles Maina a 35-year old father of 6 children. To fend for his family, he had been working as an on-and -off casual labourer, picking coffee berries in an estate at Thika, 23 Kilometres away. When you helped us acquire a mill, Mr. Maina asked to work as the operator. He now earns Ksh. 5,000 (about $63) monthly, much higher salary and a more stable position than what he did previously. Mr. Maina says," Out of this higher and more stable income that I now receive, I am sure to save enough to educate my children and secure them a better future!"
When the workload intensifies, particularly during harvest seasons, we hire 2 more people to assist the operator. More importantly, the mill provides indirect employment to many others. These include small businesses milling flour for preparing and selling doughnuts, chapattis, porridge and other dishes.
I am grateful to have this opportunity to help make a change in my community. Thank you for helping us !! We feel the future is bright.
With heartfelt gratitude,
Dear Global Giving Friends,
Two weeks ago, I visited one of the our mentees who joined university in October to establish how the mentorship helped her to fit in the university. Esther, is grateful that she built strong values and was introduced to gender and human (particularly) women rights issues at SAWA. She shares a room with a girl from North Eastern Kenya, and has been able to adjust living with her because SAWA helped her to embrace diversity. In her own words "I never valued people from other communities, I stereotyped them, I regarded women from disadvantaged communities as primative and would not have imagined friendship with them leave alone living together. At SAWA I was made to understand that we are all equal. I liked the Girl Effect lessons and know I can make a change in a girl's life. I no longer consider myself poor and disadvantaged because I was empowered to see my strengths."
These were powerful words for a rural girl who spent only two months with us. Her perspectives speaks volumes of the impact of our program. Esther formed a group of eight girls from her university to meet together on Sunday afternoons to discuss leadership issues. She reminded me that SAWA inspired her to register as a voter and she is eager to vote come the general elections on March 4th. She also inspired others to register as voters too, bearing in mind that the youth have in the past years taken a back seat as far as this is concerned. Esther had this to say "We discuss the qualities we want of our leaders in our meetings using the wisdom I gained from SAWA. I am the group chair, and I coordinate the group using principles acquired during the program"
Agnes is also another young girl that SAWA is mentoring. In early January, she participated in our program for three days and the impact was overwhelming. She drastically acquired superb computer skills which she uses to communicate particularly with other SAWA girls that she met. She plans to continue with her mentorship with us when she breaks for her long holiday in May this year.
Currently we are mentoring two girls that Caroline, our full time officer is training on computer skills and business skills.
With my sincere gratitude for your support in this effort to improve the opportunities for young girls,
Thank you so much for supporting Jemimah Peters, Dennis Mutwiri, Michael Murigi, who are progressing towards completion of their university studies while also contributing to the uplifting of their communities. The community members have continued to benefit through the projects the PATHWAYS scholars have initiated. Below is an update on the specific progress they have made in the last few months.
I hereby wish to give a report on my project progress. Our plan was to construct a poultry house and keep poultry for income generation purposes. After a long discussion,
the members decided to put up the poultry house at our central project area which is our local church. So far we have completed the construction with only the door and wire-mesh installation remaining, as we ran short of funds. But with the assistance of the second half of the project funds, we are going to complete it soonest and begin the poultry keeping. I have attached photos of the poultry house (the view of the photos may not be that clear as the poultry house is in between two other buildings and so the photos were taken somehow from the side view). The members are eagerly waiting for the completion of the house as they are optimistic about getting income from the project.
We are grateful for your support,
I also met my group over the brief holiday and they are all doing fine. My projects are also progressing well.
Our trees are almost of age and will be in the market during the coming rainy season, in April. We still have people paying for solar panels we loaned them. In fact, one of our members to whom we loaned a panel 11 months ago has completed her payment. We have three solar panels that we intend to loan to three more members.
The fish project is also doing well. Nevertheless, the market has been a challenge. We had a chance of discussing the way out with my members and we contacted several buyers who promised to get back to us. So far, we are still waiting to hear from them.
The merry-go-round project is doing exceptionally well. We closed 2012 with a finance base of sh. 165 250. The loans continue helping members meet their financial obligations. They mainly use the money to boost their agriculture. At the close of the year, every member was awarded a sh. 500 bonus! I am currently undertaking a project related to micro finance as my university project. I discussed it with my members and we intend to use my findings in expanding the project. We also intend to lay down a sound framework that will enable us lend to other groups with the region. I believe the project is right on a growing path.
I am completing my degree in May this year God willing. It has been a period where a lot has changed in my life, thanks to PATHWAYS. I have been able to impact my community, progress my leadership skills, and integrate well with society. I think I would be a completely different person were it not for this organization. I still feel that PATHWAYS is the way to go. In this regard, it is my intention to continue manning my projects even after completion of my studies at the university.
Thank you for your support of me and of this organization!
Our cassava project continues to grow and impact lives. Among the beneficiaries of our project are the aged and the physically challenged. Mrs. Mary Wambui is 70-year old and physically challenged. Previously, Mary never used to carry out any farming on her land as she lacks the ability to manually plant, weed, thin-out, apply fertilizers and thresh corn. She decided to try cassava cultivation which requires no weeding, thinning-out, fertilizer application or threshing. She excitedly says, "I am very satisfied with cassava farming and I will carry it on." With the mill that we purchased last year, near her, she is spared the agony of having to walk farther and spending more to get flour.
Thank you very much for your continued support.