Empowering women to address the issues that propagate the cycle of poverty creates large-scale change for the society. When women access sustainable economic self-sufficiency skills so do their families and communities.
Reflect circle is an innovative approach to adult learning and social change. Reflect circles educate women on micro finance, reading, writing and healthcare. Since the presence of these circles, empowerment of women has increased while violence against women has decreased. Ndwiike Ngutwiike, which loosely translates to lets hold each other in English, consist of 12 women and four men who have significantly transformed lives of women in Makima Location, Embu County.
“We have been languishing in poverty and hunger for long. Many of us could not take our children to school due to lack of school fees and getting proper meals was very difficult,” says Mwikali Anna, group chairperson.
Our partnership with ActionAid Kenya through Reflect Action Reflect Circles programme empowered vulnerable women to come together to seek ways of improving their lives. The women were trained on various income generating activities where members acquired knowledge on various issues including farming. The group also offers social and psychological support to each other in case of problems.
“ActionAid made us realise we cannot empower ourselves as individuals and we need to act in groups and hold each other for the success of the community. The organization instilled in us the culture of supporting each other and through that we have been able to uplift ourselves out of economic hardships,” she says.
Through the programme they each save Ksh20 every week, which they use to buy chicken for rearing. So far they have done three rounds, making it possible for members to own chicken which they sell for income at the local market to meet basic needs. Most members have been able to increase their number of chicken as a result of the programme thus able to provide basic family needs.
“Before I joined the group and began rearing chicken I would not afford even to buy my school going children basic learning materials like books. Last term my daughter who is in primary school was sent home for school uniform and I sold chicken and got money for the dress,” says Jedidiah Kasyoka, a mother of eight children.
Although diseases such as new castle have in the past caused them loss in poultry farming business, members of the group are not deterred and have already set their eyes on bigger things. They have turned to goat rearing and so far one member has benefited from the Ksh3, 000 which they have raised for the project.
Additionally through the reflect circles some members have been able to buy improved jikos that conserves energy thus use less firewood. In future they would like to step up their income generating activities to include horticulture.