This morning, I received this report from Tracey Onyango of the Nyatike Women’s Group in Kenya. I visited them and was impressed that they had gained confidence and were absolutely delighted with the progress they had made due to the installation of five CanAssist-funded rainwater catchment tanks in their community. Two of these tanks are at schools, one at a church and two at personal homesteads. Adjacent to one of these they have erected a greenhouse and are now selling produce from that venture. They were very proud of their accomplishments which has given them some financial independence, lessened the time and risks of walking several miles to the river to fetch water, allowed young girls to go to school instead of being water donkeys and improved the health conditions in the community by reducing waterborne illnesses like cholera and typhoid.
The CanAssist board has agreed to continue to support this women’s group by helping them install public latrines in their community. They will start at Nyaktike village where there is currently no public toilet. They will maintain the toilet 24hrs a day, and keep it clean in exchange for a small user fee (common in this part of the world for public latrines). The income generated will be used to support the women in the group and to expand other public service projects to improve living conditions in the area.
Here is her report.
I’m happy to share some success stories some of which you witnessed during your 28th January 2013 visit to Nyatike Interior Women’s Group (NIWG)
– CAART support has enabled Nyatike Interior Women’s Group to address the overlooked and unpaid economy, where women predominate. Women perform all domestic tasks. They are responsible for the care of children, the sick and the elderly, in addition to performing essential social functions within their communities. Nyatike women’s fundamental contributions in their households, food production systems and national economies are increasingly acknowledged. This is due, in no small part, to African women’s own energetic efforts to organize, articulate their concerns and make their voices heard. Interestingly, women have started to not fully economically dependent upon their husbands.
– There has been a growing recognition of women’s contributions which is translated into significantly improved access to resources or increased decision-making powers. It is noted that the dynamism that women display in the economic, cultural and social lives of our communities through our organization and informal networks has been instrumental into creating new models in women’s participation and leadership.
– Issues of rape, sexual assault and domestic violence including drowning and crocodile attacks are also are beginning to receive due attention/mitigation measures in discussions of women and children health. Also important to note is that women and children are relieved of labour, distance and time they walk daily in obtaining this basic resource. The beneficiaries are now able to translate the time and workload they usually face into education and other socio-economic developments.
– Evidence from our innovation, actions and replication has shown important links between improved HIV and AIDS outcomes and nutrition. The establishment of Water & sanitation facilities and the only green house established in Nyatike demonstrates the ability and viability of women in adequately responding to health and nutritional needs in a sustainable way. It is clear that nutrition is necessary to maintain the immune system, manage opportunistic infections, optimize response to medical treatment, sustain healthy levels of physical activity, and support optimal quality of life for a person living with HIV (PLHIV). Good nutrition may contribute to slowing the progression of the disease. Food insecurity and poverty may lead to high-risk sexual behaviors and migration, increasing the risk of acquiring HIV. At the same time, HIV weakens a household’s ability to provide for basic needs. Also, awareness on water and sanitation, the community have gained skills and knowledge on dangers of using surface water and benefit of maintaining hygiene and good use of sanitation facilities e.g. VIP latrines as such there is ensured access to equitable water and sanitation services in the community. It is evidenced from the impact assessment that fewer referrals on water related diseases are done to the local health facilities. Thus, it is our assumption that families livelihoods have improved.
The Nyatike Interior Women’s Group thanks CAART for your support. We hope future partnerships will impact more in the lives of the vulnerable in the East Africa.
Tracey Onyango , NIWG, Kenya