ActionAid is a global movement of people working together to further human rights and defeat poverty for all.

A mother of six reclaims social and economic power

In Kikili village, in the heart of Isiolo County, Mary Lomuna mother of six toiled to feed her children. Her husband had completely been enslaved by the local brew, Chang’aa. Her body has visible scars inflicted on her using a kitchen knife by her husband whenever he was drunk. She is a survivor of domestic violence with a different story.

 

 

Every single day, she picked her machete and headed to the bush. With bare feet, her body had become immune to the piercing thorns of acacia shrubs. She never was worried about daring snakes. After five days of hard work, chopping and arranging pieces of wood in a kiln, and if lucky to get a buyer she would earn Ksh.500 from charcoal which could barely feed her family.

It was not until 10 years ago, despite being pregnant that she gave up on her marriage life and left to her parent’ s house with her children. Her husband, unable to fend for himself fled to another town to search for a new livelihood.  Lomuna and her children went back to her matrimonial home where she continued fending for them. She rebuilt their house and joined a merry-go-round group whose members were charcoal sellers. That was the only source of livelihood for her family, sometimes supplemented with food aid from well-wishers.

In 2012, in partnership with the community ActionAid Kenya introduced the charcoal sellers to irrigation farming as an alternative livelihood option.
“At first I thought it was impossible for me to do farming, but after receiving several trainings I planted onions  ,three months later ,my onions were ready and a buyer came from Nairobi . I sold the onions at Ksh 120,000. I couldn’t believe my eyes because I had never counted this kind of money before. I could not handle this money and had to call my sister to help me count it. This was the turning point of my life. I have constructed a better house, I have a bank account, and I am able to pay school fees for my children without any problem. I have also expanded my acreage and even employ casual laborers to help me .I thank ActionAid for changing my life for the better!” Lomuna said
 
Lomuna is  among other 200 households that are benefiting from the irrigation programme that is increasing food security in the area.