In my third week Juliet from UDI introduced to me a group of 8 young mothers from Mnarani, the village where I lived, located about 3 km from Kilifi.
It was a getting to know each other and we exchanged our expectations concerning the project. The women’s goal is to do a start their own business, for example, chicken farming. Furthermore, they are very willing to start a soft loan project within their group, which they eventually started later during my stay.
In the framework of the agriculture initiative, the young mothers should be able to start their own farming project. Therfore, it is necessary for them to achieve knowledge on how to start, what is needed and what to do from nursery until harvesting the crops or vegetables.
On April, 26th, a free agricultural training took place in the area. This was a good opportunity for the young mothers and also for me to join. Juliet, youth leader of UDI, went there with 3 of the young mothers from Mnarani, Purity, Kadzo and Elisabeth, and their kids.
The training was conducted by Bayer, a German pharma company. I was new to me that Bayer has headquarters in Kenya and that it markets agricultural products there.
The participants were farmers from around the region that were interested in the topic. The Bayer staff taught about farming tomatos and watermelon from nursery to harvesting and explained which of the Bayer products can be used in which stadium. Although this training for Bayer is a promotion of their products, I think it was really informative for the participants.
The feedback of the 3 young mothers was very positive. They said that they got a lot of helpful information. So, the Bayer training can be considered as a good opportunity to train more of the young mothers on farming.
Today I joined a training on family planning. It took place in Bofa Maweni village. In this session UDI worked together with Kesho, an organization which advances access to education and employment in Kenya.
Walter and Juliet from UDI taught the women about family planning methods. Although I knew that there is lacking a lot of knowledge concerning contraceptives it was still astonoshing to experience that this was really how it is and that there are so many myths and rumors on this topic rooted in the society. There are various factors bringing about these myths about using contraceptives. The male domination in relationships or marriages and also in the society is a strong factor. Therefore, it is really necessary to also include the males and the community in family planning education.
In the session the women were taught on different family planning methods. They got to know about how they function, advantages and disadvantages and how they are used. Also, they saw live demonstration, for example, on how to use condoms. It first raised shame among the participants which showed that it is a taboo topic they are not comfortable with.
In fact, using contraceptives in Kenya is not a matter of cost. All contraceptives are available for free for everyone. The biggest barrier is the knowledge and overcoming the rumours rooted in the community. Additionally, they have to get access to hospitals where they get the services.
Thus, visiting communities in the villages to educate them is a first important and necessary step to make the people aware about the importance on family planning, to stop the rumours and to help them in making decisions.
On 17th April 2017 we hold our meeting with our partners from Pwani University and our partners from Uwezo Development Initiative . Since our project kickoff meeting in September we finished the first project period.
Data collection as a basis for further initiatives
This first project period consisted in collecting data about the targeted women. 43 women have been interviewed by both Pwani and UDI team on their situation and their goals and expectations. Moreover, there have been key informant and focus group discussions in order to get a picture from different perspectives. The results from the data collection will be analysed both qualitative and quantitative. This data is an important basis for deriving suitable initiatives and to measure the future success.
For the next initiatives, we agreed on the following topics and activities:
- An agricultural project with the goal to enable food security and nutrition as well as and provide job possibilities
- the young mothers should be given some land where they can grow crops and vegetables. The products can be used for themselves, the community and for sales.
- Training on family planning for different groups, including the targeted women, their partners, and the community
- This should be done by training the groups in their villages and to give them access to family planning methods in nearby hospitals