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Monday, 3 March 2014

Makutano B women group empowering members

Bob Aston 

Makutano B Women Group has grown from strength to strength in the past seven years. The group formed to uplift economic status of women in Makutano area of Sipili division in Laikipia County now has 17 members.
The group members have benefited a lot through agriculture as the economic livelihood of members has greatly improved since it was formed.
Tabitha Mwita, Treasurer of Makutano B Women Group said that individual members have been able to undertake different economic activities through various projects initiated for the group by their development partners.
Group members being trained on post harvest grain handling
Tabitha said that they have been attending various capacity building training organized by the Ministry of Agriculture and Sustainable Agriculture Community Development Programme (SACDEP).
“Capacity building trainings that we have been attending has really helped us. We are more informed now than we were before,” said Tabitha.
SACDEP has trained the group members on; Formation of networks and its importance, introduction to water cycle, water use and different water harvesting methods, diverse low cost water storage methods construction, skills on water treatment, sanitation, hygiene, metering and tariffs, catchment areas protection and formation, advantages of Water Resource Users Associations (WRUAS), resource mobilization and rural savings.
Tabitha said that one of the major problems that the group used to face was scarcity of water. The issue is now being addressed as most of the members have been able to build water tanks through funding from SACDEP.
SACDEP has also assisted group members to get dairy goats, water tanks and water harvesting pump. Lariak Conservation Area Project has been instrumental in assisting the group members to get energy saving jikos. The jikos have brooders thus members are able to keep chicken. The group has also been able to get stores for storing food.
Group members posing for a photo
“We expect the group to continue benefiting members. Our economic status has drastically improved compared to before. We expect that all the members will be financially empowered,” said Tabitha.
Most of the members have been taught about kitchen garden. This has enabled them to start kitchen garden and thus saving money to buy food as they are able to feed their families from what they have grown on their kitchen gardens.
The group has also benefited from seeds as and insecticides from the Ministry of Agriculture.
Tabitha said that members have diversified their activities and are now cooking during field days so that they can get an additional income.
The group has also planted trees and transplant from the nurseries when the long rains start so that they can sell to the public.
 “We have just been equipped with post harvest grain handling technique. This will really help us as we will be able to reduce post harvest grain losses,” said Ann Wangari, a member of the group.
Ann said that they won an Award for being the best farming group in Organic farming during a farming congress organized by SACDEP in Thika last year.
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