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The women’s empowerment project at the farm involves a vibrant group of power-women.  It is a truly holistic approach using tools to break down the barriers of a woman’s role in a male orientated society

Here using dance to learn to work and have fun  together whilst making the ‘chicken projects’ come to life where they invest in a micro-finance style self-run project. A number of our ladies have become land owners in their own right through this program.  Thus been able to become area leaders (Chiefs) and make change in the rules of their community.

Of course economic empowerment is crucial in all stages.  The old adage ‘(He) who has money has the power makes the decisions’ is still true and must be used as a driver.  But know, when you become involved in Shoe4Africa programs, our holistic approach drives from the acorn to the oak with a multi-pronged approach.

Our Dairy college is the center meeting hub for this program:  This safe space has been created for our women’s group to convene and learn critical life skills such as best agriculture practice, financial literacy with planning for effective and efficient strategic plans for their future, critical thinking and good health practices, build self-esteem, self-awareness, and develop leadership skills that will enable them to be confident, influential decision-makers among their peers, households, and communities. Dairy specific classes start with feeding, looking at zero-grazing benefits, fertility matching verses costs, cow ‘weights’ and vet measures.  Dairy hygiene and relation to milk production.

Our group is led by trained mentors, facilitators and local business folk who serve as positive role models. They play a critical role in our efforts to provide tailored support for ladies, most of whom are victims of domestic violence. We believe that the women in our program deserve to be physically, mentally and emotionally healthy and we have key elements to help them along life’s journey enabling them to starting their own sustainable businesses, and becoming positive, influential leaders within their communities.

Learning course topics:

  • School drop-outs and girls’ further education – what is locally available
  • Child Abuse – what should be done and when
  • Early marriage and pregnancy – pitfalls and plans
  • Women’s unemployment – what jobs are best for your area
  • Land issues – how to own your land, what are your rights with land.
  • Healthcare – what is available
  • NHIF – what is this and why you should sign up
  • Preventative steps for better healthcare
  • Women’s rights and where is your women’s group
  • Leadership plans – united we stand and (women’s) leaders we demand.
  • Divorce, legal issues, mentoring and helpline.

Our empowerment program doesn’t just stop with the ladies: Whether it is getting women (and men) to partake in health runs, building schools, employing construction teams, finding teachers new jobs,  Whether it is the massive team that built the hospital (all locals), or the fact hundreds of jobs have been created by this institution, whether it is our women’s dairy farm project beginning with $3 startup plans, or us giving scholarships to bright young economically challenged kids, we are always working on empowerment.  We know what Africa needs is opportunities and business and we are creating them.  Every one who is employed on our projects is a local!

Project shot in Iten, Kenia for Shoe 4 Africa with Toby Tanser

Irrigation farming taught with the Shoe4Africa ladies

‘Agriculture is key to driving poverty reduction’ – The Gates Foundation, talking about small scale farming.

SHOE4AFRICA DAIRY PROJECT IMPACTING SCHOOLS

By Project leader Chelimo Sainasnip_chelimo

When Shoe4Africa started the Women’s Empowerment Dairy Project, we were targeting rural women, women who basically run the homestead, work 50% more than rural men; but see 80% less income. We knew that empowering these women, would by extension build up their families. This reality is nothing new to many third world communities and not new to donors who promote impact funding. Yet each third world rural community is unique in what will culturally, economically and logistically make a difference in each person’s life.

Traditional cows are the center of Western Kenya’s rural homesteads. Each family averaging one or two cows per family and each family made up of about twelve members. These ‘traditional’ cows (defined as traditional from lack of sophisticated breeding, feeding and upkeep), each produce an average of 2-lt of milk per day (daily 8 cups of milk for 12 family members as the only source of calcium and protein).

Naturally a dairy project then made sense. To teach the women additional skills that would make an impact in their lives. While our women were learning new skills on our dairy, they in turn were improving the production of their traditional cows. This caught the attention of neighboring schools. Each of these public schools all learn Agriculture as part of the national educational curriculum. Under which animal husbandry, nutrition and production are a part. The gap that the dairy then fit into, was that these public schools did not have a place to practically learn these areas agriculture.

The Shoe4Africa Dairy Project has been a huge part of community learning and these are some of our success so far:

  1. Feb we had our first students from Kibuswa St Mary’s Primary School visit the farm. They were a class of 108 students and two teachers. Many of them had never seen a functional dairy with modern facilities even as simply as pipped water and salt licks.
    1. We are now working with 6 different schools in the area and the students have not only benefited from comprehensive practical learning, but are able to schedule field visits throughout the year.
    2. The students also have a fun filled experience on the farm.
  1. July the dairy was visited by KCC (Kenya Corporative Creameries – a government dairy board) and was recognized as one of the best upcoming diaries in a 20-mile radius. It was at this visit that the KCC production team nominated the dairy to receive a cooler scheduled to arrive Dec for the community. This cooler would serve the nearby dairy farmers at no cost and make the Shoe4Africa Dairy a main collection hub.
    1. The Shoe4Africa Dairy, has enjoyed many informational privileges. KCC have asked if the dairy can be used for mock demonstrations, thus benefiting in exposure it will draw.
      1. With being a mock dairy, we want to introduce production of animal feeds and sell to local farmers. This will boost the women’s group greatly as they become more and more self-sufficient.
  1. September the area local Chief asked the Shoe4Africa dairy team if members of the community, other than schools and the women; would be allowed to have scheduled time to visit the dairy to also learn new practices.
    1. We scheduled one Saturday of each month to have ‘open class’. Anywhere from 5-30 community members would come and learn the same lessons we were teaching the women.
  1. January the dairy gave away its first 2 heifers to two of the neediest women in the group.
    1. The students that come to the dairy to learn, are children of some of the women in the empowerment group. These students will take their learning and practice them on both their traditional cows and those that their mothers will be awarded.
    2. Although the calves are now 7-months old, in 16-months time, they will be old enough to be inseminated.
    3. These heifers the women get are pedigree and will provide them with up to 18-Lt of milk each day, which is a difference of 16 Lt from their traditional cows. This also means they milk enough for their families and for sale.
  1. April, we have been connecting with a number of experts in farming, asking them to come and talk to the local farmers on smart dairy methods (thanks to Smart Dairy for being one of the first to step up).
    1. We will be the first dairy farm to grow some of the best grass for the animals that are leading in nutrients, energy and number of cuttings per year.
    2. Westernforage will also be monitoring progress of the grass production and impact to overall milk increase.
  2. kenya_dairy_board

We were honored that the Managing Director of the Kenyan Dairy Board, Maggie Kibogy, came with her staff to come and offer advises for the community dairies.

We have a long way to go and great intentions on making a tremendous impact to the community.

Project shot in Iten, Kenia for Shoe 4 Africa with Toby Tanser

Ladies milking with their cattle

AVOCADO Project

Fruits to sustain the women’s project, and feed the children.  Starting off the Summer of 2017.

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