Empowering women through income generating enterprise in Rural Kenya
Nakwijit Village is an extremely rural area with very little infrastructure. The people who live here are primarily livestock and pastoralist farmers. They frequently relocate to find new water sources for their animals. Due to the nomadic nature of the community, there is little emphasis on formal education, resulting in high levels of illiteracy. Girls are often married at a very young age and forced to drop out of formal education. Sadly, women are often seen as second-class citizens, primarily to look after the home and bear children.
Women empowering Women
Everyln Prech founded the community-based organisation, CICR, in 2019. She saw the lack of equality between genders in Kenya and the lack of women’s rights, particularly in the areas of FGM and GBV. CICR empowers women and children by informing them of their rights, teaching them about their bodies (menstrual hygiene) and advocating for them. Through their work with women, they also ensure that men are part of the conversation in order to see a sustainable societal change.
Three enterprise groups formed to train women
Signpost International began working with Everlyn and CICR in August last year. We funded a project which empowered and equiped a group of rural women with income generating enterprises. Three enterprise programmes were established – “Songuot” Poultry Rearing enterprise, “Chepkulumen” Honey Processing enterprise and “Mochukwo” Kitchen Garden enterprise.
CICR trained a total of 32 women (10 poultry, 10 honey and 12 kitchen garden). They were trained in their specific area as well as how to manage their business and keep records of accounts. Each woman accessed a loan as part of the project which funded the start-up costs.
Whole communities changed through women enterprise projects
Community leaders commend women by gifting 2 acres of land
Traditionally, women in Kenya have not been permitted to own land. However, community elders in West Pokot saw the amazing work of CICR and have gifted the women two acres of land to use as they wish. The women aspire to use this land as a women’s training centre.
Signpost International funded a teaching trip to visit the Twala Project. This is a days journey south east to the Laikipia County. Everlyn took 8 women leaders to learn from the women there. The Twala Project, run by local Maasai women, has 212 members. They have a centre where they make and sell beautiful bracelets, traditional Maasai necklaces and household décor. As well as running a beehive project and an aloe vera project.
The women learnt the importance of women land ownership, forming an executive committee, getting the community involved and integrating different income generating activities.
In order to fulfil the women’s dream of a training centre,
there needs to be sufficient infrastructure in place.
The women have highlighted the need to access safe, clean water.
Read more about our next project in Nakwijit, West Pokot, here.
Photos of the women’s enterprises in Nakwijit, West Pokot, Kenya.
Photos from CICR, May 2023
Monica with her kitchen garden enterprise and selling at the market.
Dorcas with her poultry rearing enterprise.