In the arid landscapes of Turkana, Kenya, a remarkable group of women has been silently but steadily transforming their community. Registered in 2016 in Katilu location, Turkana South, the Maranatha Enyem group comprises 25 dedicated members who have earned a reputation as the “women in agriculture.” They farm maize, cowpeas, watermelons, and pumpkins on leased land near the life-giving River Turkwel. Recently, their efforts received a boost in the form of a grant from Global Partners for Development’s Grassroots Community-Led Development (GCLD) Fund. This financial assistance comes as recognition of the crucial role locally-led, women-led grassroots groups play in addressing community needs, and it underscores the untapped potential within these communities.
A Glimpse Into Maranatha Enyem’s Everyday Activities
One of the key reasons these women-led groups are so effective is their profound understanding of the unique challenges and opportunities within their communities. As local residents, they are intimately connected to the needs of their neighbors and possess an inherent motivation to drive positive change. Each member contributes a monthly fee of 500 Kenyan Shillings, which not only supports their collective financial capacity, but also empowers individual members to invest in their own livelihoods.
However, like many grassroots initiatives, Maranatha Enyem faces significant challenges. Their primary obstacle is the inadequate irrigation of their farms due to the uneven terrain. While they rely on canals for water supply, the slope of the land results in uneven irrigation, causing substantial crop losses. The cost of hiring labor to ferry water to these uneven patches further increases their challenges. To address this issue, the group aspires to acquire a generator and pipes for more efficient irrigation, ensuring a consistent water supply regardless of canal status.
Additionally, Maranatha Enyem recognizes the need to diversify their crops. They want to explore planting tomatoes, kales, beans, green-grams, and sorghum, which are in high demand in the region. This diversification not only supports their income potential but also contributes to food security in Turkana by broadening the variety of locally grown produce rather than relying on outside sources.
Understanding the seasonality of farming, the group has explored alternative income sources. They are considering investing in tents and catering equipment for hire during events. In Katilu, where most members reside, there is a shortage of such services, and hiring from the neighboring town of Lokichar is both costly and inconvenient. By offering these services locally, Maranatha Enyem can not only generate income but also contribute to the growth of the community event industry.
Advancing Locally-Led Change through Grassroots Initiatives
The success of the Maranatha Enyem group demonstrates the incredible impact that locally-led organizations can have on their communities. These women have not only established financial stability but also set their sights on addressing critical issues like irrigation and crop diversification, contributing to food security and economic development in Turkana. Their innovative approach to income generation through event services highlights their adaptability and commitment to finding sustainable solutions.
The support from Global Partners for Development’s GCLD Fund is a testament to the importance of recognizing and empowering such groups. These grants enable grassroots organizations like Maranatha Enyem to amplify their impact, reach more community members, and drive lasting change.
In Turkana, where the challenges are as vast as the landscapes, Maranatha Enyem serves as an inspiring beacon of hope. Their journey showcases the remarkable potential of locally-led, women-led grassroots groups to not only understand and address community needs but also uplift and empower their fellow residents. As they continue to grow and innovate, it is clear that the women of Maranatha Enyem are steering their community towards a brighter, more prosperous future.
Learn how other grassroots organizations supported by Global Partners for Development’s GCLD Fund are driving impactful change in our dedicated Grassroots Fund page!