Showcasing some of the activities we've been pursuing to help elevate grassroots women
Mobilization and community sensitization meetings
RWN held community sensitization meetings with communities in Kajiado county. The meetings targeted over 100 women spread across 8 groups, county government authorities, civil society organizations and the private sector agencies operating in the project area. The significance of deliberately targeting the specific interest groups was borne out of the need to ensure the local community ownership of climate adaptive mechanisms; continued advocacy and climate adaptive action, promote enabling policy and operational environment by the government agencies, and development and dissemination of climate adaptive technologies, innovations and management practices. Women in agro-pastoral communities forms an important part in managing adaptive climate mechanisms because they don’t migrate with the livestock in search of pastures.
RWN held 3 community sensitization meetings in August – September 2021. The meetings brought together civil society organizations including Agricultural Council of Kenya (AgCK), Agricultural Policy Development Institute (APDI) and Kenya Poultry Farmers Association. It held direct engagement meetings with the Governor; Kajiado county, Department of Agriculture and Livestock Development, ……… The private sector agencies included Agroforestry Association of Kenya, Advanta seeds.
The community meetings were important mechanisms to pass on climate information including definition of climate and climate change; impacts/evidence of climate change; adaptation and mitigation mechanisms; climate governance; and viable local adaptive mechanisms. During the meetings, RWN identified community members to be trained as climate champions/trainers of trainers (TOTS).
Members trained as Trainers of Trainers/Farmers (TOT/Fs)
Construction of nursery structures, kitchen gardens and tree nurseries at the identified sites
Transfer vegetable seedlings for establishing kitchen gardens
During the training and establishment of the vegetable gardens at the center, RWN mobilized the seedlings from commercial plant nurseries for the purposes of training. The seedlings in the nurseries at the center were not ready for transplanting. African Leafy Vegetables (ALVs) or indigenous vegetables were prioritized because they are resilient to the hot and dry conditions. The multi-storey gardens were populated with the African Nightshade (managu) and amaranthus (terere) vegetable seedlings. ALVs in Africa vary within countries depending on market demand and their nutritional value. The most common varieties in Kenya include African Nightshade (managu), amaranthus (terere), spider plant (saget) and slender leaf (mitoo) among other popular traditional vegetables. https://ruraloutreachafrica.org/african-leafy-vegetables-project/ (Rural Outreach Africa, 2021). ALVs are known to be rich in vitamins, proteins, minerals and micronutrients such as selenium, zinc, potassium, beta-carotene, iron, folate, copper and iodine. They have also been found to have medicinal value in addressing illnesses such a diarrhea, eye and renal ailments, hypertension and even HIV/AIDs. (Khadudu F.; 2021). https://www.fao.org/family-farming/detail/en/c/886044/. They are well-adapted to local conditions and can thrive at times of drought, when staple crops are likely to fail. Hence consumption of ALVs can improve nutrition and help meet food shortages. However, ALVs are currently harvested from the wild; meaning that smallholder households have no control over availability ALVs. Cultivation of ALVs would help enhance the environmental sustainability of smallholder farms. Increased crop diversity reduces pest and disease incidence, and the water use efficiency of ALVs provides resilience to climate change impacts and limited water availability. Furthermore, cultivation of ALVs can provide income opportunities for smallholders due to their high value. https://gtr.ukri.org/projects?ref=BB%2FR020345%2F1 (UKRI, 2021). Many indigenous African leafy vegetables contain higher levels of nutrients than commonly grown "exotic" species like Swiss chard, kale and cabbage. Important species consumed include spider plant (Cleome gynandra), African nightshades (Solanum scabrum/S. villosum/S. americanum/S. tarderomotum) and amaranths (Amaranthus blitum/A. dubius/A. hybrdus /A. spinosus). These vegetables are popular in cultural diets and have potential for increased production and use in areas where traditionally grown. https://horticulture.ucdavis.edu/project/increasing-production-indigenous-african-leafy-vegetables-kenya (Feed the Future, 2021) Rural Women Network (RWN) partnered with Advanta seeds Company and Premagrow Services to provide training on vegetable nursery management and production. They also supplied ALV seedlings which comprised include African Nightshade (managu), amaranthus (terere), and spider plant (saget) for planting on the multi-storey gardens during the training activities.
Follow up and backstopping
Monitoring and evaluation
Monitoring and evaluation are essential tools to determine progress of the project, take corrective action if needed and to address challenges, and to help inform future operations so that they are more efficient and cost-effective. RWN undertakes monthly project sites monitoring visits to monitor the progress of the evolving climate resilience learning center and technologies adoption by the communities. The visits are critical in supporting the communities continuous learning and to ensure successful delivery of the overall goal of climate resilient communities.
Showcasing how the efforts we've made so far have transformed the lives of grassroots women in Kenya
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