Dear Global Neighbour
In the last few weeks I’ve had a number of people ask me, “what do you want for Christmas?” I don’t know about you, but I am very practically minded and when someone asks me this question I instantly think what do I need? What gadget would make my life slightly easier next year? Whatever gadget I get for Christmas it may save me a few minutes each day, it may allow me to look at my messages on my wrist or it may tell me the weather. As I say it may save me a few minutes a day, if that, but ultimately if I don’t get my new gadget my life isn’t going to fall apart. A new gadget will be a convenient addition, but it’s not going to change my life.
But there are some things we can give people that will change their life, and although not glamorous, one thing that can change people’s lives is an opportunity and a chance to learn a skill and a trade.
At Signpost International we want to give those in the communities we work with the gift of a new beginning, an opportunity for a new start in life.
In September of this year, Signpost International began working in Kenya and with a new partner, CICR (Centre for Indigenous Child Rights). Our first project with CICR, focuses on providing training for women which will provide them with skills in certain areas that will allow them to generate an income. This project is located in Nakwijit, West Pokot County which is in the West of Kenya.
It has been identified by CICR that in remote parts of West Pokot, women are generally treated as second-class citizens and are seen as someone to look after the home and bear children.
The majority of women and girls in the area are mostly involved in household chores, and many do not have any say in family affairs. Most are excluded from receiving a higher education and are entirely dependent on their male counterparts. As a result, there are high levels of illiteracy in West Pokot which contributes significantly to the high levels of poverty amongst women in the area. Many women lack income generating skills as they have never received training or been given the opportunity to learn, which hinders women’s empowerment.
To begin tackling this issue, this first project will equip 30 rural women with skills and knowledge on poultry farming, kitchen gardens, and honey processing. This will be done through training and supported practical implementation. Those involved will receive a small start-up capital after three months of training. The three income generating activities were specifically selected in this area due to the availability of land, water, and favourable climatic conditions for poultry farming and honey harvesting. The women involved will have the necessary skills to begin earning an income and as a result will become economically independent for the first time in their lives.
(The first group of women receiving their training)
Although this project is still in its infancy, we have already seen other women from the community coming to attend the training for their own interest. Although they are not directly involved in the other activities, they have come along so that they too can receive teaching in these areas and have new skills. The way the project is set up it will mean that those trained will be able to share what they have learnt with others in the community.
The project will also play a part in reducing hunger in the households of those involved, as in the culture Pokot women are expected to provide meals for their children and husbands but many struggle as they are not bringing in a salary. However, as the women who have benefited from this project will now be earning an income they should be able to provide regular meals for their families.
We hope that this project will also serve as a model that can be replicated across the County with other activities, and at a larger scale to improve economic independence for more women.
(Land being prepared for the income generating activities)
It is horrendous that in 2022 many women in countries throughout the world are treated as second class citizens and deprived of opportunities to learn skills and succeed in life.
This is why projects like this are essential, as what many women around the world are missing is the opportunity to succeed. Once given the opportunity and the training they have the platform for a new beginning.
At Signpost International we strongly believe in giving people the opportunities to be drivers of their own change in order that they can fulfil their full potential.
By supporting this year’s Christmas appeal you will be giving the gift of a new beginning to someone for 2023!
Thank you for your continued support, and happy Christmas.
Jamie Morrison – Chief Executive Officer