For many years women in the rural semi arid areas of Rongai and Mogotio sub counties in Nakuru and Baringo counties respectively have faced harsh times from lack of water to retrogressive patriarchal society.
Many were forced to walk longer distances to get their water for domestic use as well as that of farming.
At Mogotio centre where Dandelion Africa has a health clinic and an office,
we meet Kamnatet Women Group going on with their daily Table Banking activity.
Here, the 13-member group who are beneficiaries of the Socio- economic empowerment program training they received from Dandelion Africa say this has been of help in transforming their livelihood.
The Table Banking has enabled them get involved in Farming activities such as poultry rearing, hay farming among others.
“We started at merry go around before we joined Dandelion and started engaging in table banking that has seen us start projects for economic empowerment.Challenges are there but we are trying” says Ms Sang.
Ms Dinah admits that the group has helped her personally as she can now stock her health clinic at Mogotio centre.
“I am a resident of Mogotio and I joined this group in 2015.Since then I have benefited even in my clinic at Mogotio centre since I can now stock even drugs. So I call on other women to ensure they join groups” says Ms Dinah.
The group, through their table banking they have also been able with assistance from Dandelion to start poultry farming at individual level.She says she took a loan a tune of Kshs 40,000 to Kshs.50, 000 from the group as an individual for the project.
“As members we are allowed to take a loan of up to Kshs.50, 000 for the project and as it stands now I see myself getting extra cash from this” says Ms Sang.
In Sarambei, Rongai Sub county we meet another group by the name Ogilkei Women Group.
The project has helped members acquire 10,000 litres capacity water tanks that they use for irrigation farming owing to the scarcity of water in the area.
It should be note
d that the area around Sarambei has several flower farms which a times divert water interfering with the normal flow which in turn makes the locals suffer due to lack of water as admitted by chairlady Margaret Kiptoo.
“Our biggest challenge was water scarcity as we could walk longer distance to look for water for domestic use as well as farming. But this project Dew drop has helped us a lot” says Ms Kiptoo.
According to her, the burden that she used to bestow on her children to fetch water from far distance river is fore gone and she can now go about with her farming activities smoothly as she has enough water-thanks to Dandelion Africa.
Similar sentiments echoed by Evaline Sirma-the secretary of the group who has embraced sheep rearing as an economic activity to empower herself.
“At the moment life has changed with the harsh economy you cannot sit there as a woman and expect from your husband. We therefore thank Dandelion for they have helped us come out of the comfort zones and we are now equipped as women” says Ms Evaline.
Other groups that have been empowered include Berur Women Group which has 15 members and Nabirik Women Group that has 12 members.
Through the activities, members of the groups are able to sustain themselves economically.
Apart from the economic empowerment, Dandelion Africa has also been able to train the women on matters of health among them Family planning.
She however admits that men were not ready to accept the same as they had their focus on particular myths about family planning.
According to Dandelion Programs officer Ms Sally Akinyi Socio-economic empowerment towards women is key in transforming the society.
Sentiments echoed by the founder and Director Dandelion Africa Ms Wendo Aszed who when asked why she chose to start the initiative, she is quick to point out that hers was to ensure a society where women are empowered to be self reliant.
She says this helps in addressing the challenges facing the women at grassroot level who have to walk longer distances to reach a health facility in various sub counties.
“Our aim is to see women who are self reliant but besides empowerment we are also education them on matters of health and that is why we have a health facility here and we are setting up maternity” says Ms Wendo.
Through the sensitization programs they have been able to curb the FGM vise in the grassroot areas that was messing up the lives of women and young girls.
Indeed, the women groups in Rongai and Mogotio sub counties in Nakuru and Baringo counties respectively are a clear indicator that the society is changing and that if empowered women can also be ambassadors of change and transformation.
PHOTOS/Pristone Mambili:Meet Rongai, Mogotio rural women going against the odds to transform society.