Dora’s Corner: September Updates from East Africa

Eight months into 2023 and there is a lot more to share on projects and activities. Team GPFD Kenya was able to commission two education projects: Kamser Primary in July and God Agak Primary on August 11th. Each project entailed the construction of new classrooms and latrine blocks for both students and teachers.

In the first week of August, between the 6th and 8th, I visited Turkana South to reconnect with friends and community partners as well as the Turkana Paralegal Resource Organization to listen and learn from four women groups going beyond their daily challenges to empower themselves economically. I met the Kiya Sua Women group in Katilu who are traders and tailors. The profits made from their trade is shared among the members and some are invested back into the business. Then there was Esajit Herbal Group with around 30 members all invested in herbal medicine. This group maintains a tree nursery where they have over 13 mwarubaini trees, and they collect, dry, grind and make herbal medicine to cure diseases.

There was also the Mwinuko Wa Deborah group with 50 members and a detailed financial accounting system enabling each member to account for their savings, loans, and interests. This in exchange empowers women who never gained formal schooling on learned how to track their expenses and savings. Lastly, while taking a road trip to Katilu, along River Turkwell, I spent half a day with the Maranatha Enyem Women group in their farm where they plant maize, cow peas, watermelons, and other vegetables.

Each of the groups received grants of $2000 that would go towards various projects that they were committed to. I look forward to seeing what the groups do with the funds and the impact thereafter on their lives.

TedX Kisumu

On August 26th, Clarah (GPFD Senior Community Facilitator) and I attended the TEDXKisumu talk at the Sarova Imperial Express Hotel in Kisumu. The theme for the event was “How can we make a difference? Innovating for Climate Conscious Cities.”

I arrived early and got to make some friends before the event officially started. This was considered a pre-event to the Africa Climate Week expected to run from the 4th to the 8th of September in Nairobi. The speakers at TedX Kisumu ranged from scientists to cultural champions. Dor example, Anne Eboso, the event organizer for the Rusinga Festival, celebrated the way of life of the Abasuba every year and their indigenous knowledge with regards to climate change and environmental conservation.

I was particularly impressed by Dr. Oscar Aghan, the founder and CEO of COREC-Green Savers, an organization here in Kenya that recycles plastic waste into building materials and employs over 1,800 staff. There was also Dr. Catherine Mungai who reminded us that ‘Culture eats strategy for breakfast,’ when she talked about climate change through the gender lens.

The event ended at 6:30pm and I look forward to the next session in October that celebrates women and the strides we’ve made focusing on personal stories of engagement and expertise.

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