Walking on Egg Shells – reintegration of female ex-inmates

A lady stood with vegetables grown in her garden

ELWOFOD (Eldoret Women for Development) is a community based organisation started by 2 women in Eldoret Slum who had been convicted for 6 years for a crime they did not commit, with an aim of enhancing re-entry of previous female prisoners into their communities, through economic skill development, agri-business skills and financial literacy training, with an additional aim of ending gender based violence upon the women’s release.

ELWOFOD work with 50 women ex-prisoners teaching them agribusiness skills, and teaching them how produce fresh vegetables through organic farming for both domestic uses and sales. The women participate in 4 weeks of practical training, followed by 3 home-based practical tests to assess the level of understanding, this helps to decide what level of mentoring is needed. The best participants are then identified and trained as ‘Trainer of Trainees (ToTs) to mentor the other 40 participants on the best practice methods, through home based monitoring and mentorship.

Half way through the project, a one week refresher training course is provided by ELWOFOD and the Government Department of Agriculture. A further 2 day refresher training is provided for the 10 ToTs, whom are then trained as ‘Women Ex-Prisoners – Farming with Purpose’ Champions by the Governmental Department of Agriculture. The women were trained on the basics of; making efficient use of space, identifying and treating diseases and pests, weeding, watering and pre-harvesting. All women received fast maturing certified vegetable seeds (kale, spinach and onion).

Since the project began, all women have established kitchen gardens, and have started harvesting their fresh farm vegetables for household consumption, 32 of these women are earning some income from the sale of the vegetable surplus. 18 of the women have established vegetable nurseries.

All women were chosen based on their malnourishment, or risk of malnourishment. Since the project has been running malnourishment figures have had a 100% decrease and only 2 out of the 50 women have a risk of malnourishment.

Since the beginning of 2018, 100 recently released female prisoners have been registered on the project. Overall the project has empowered the women by allowing to take charge of the project themselves. Additional training on financial literacy has allowed the women to learn and adopt a business mindset, make incomes and use their incomes responsibly.

 

Fighting Hidden Hunger – organic vegetable garden project in schools

Children planting in a field

The aim of CAMAAY’s (Connected Youth of Cameroon) ‘Fighting Hidden Hunger’ programme is to teach children to grow nutritious food to improve health and knowledge of sustainable farming practices.

CAMAAY have worked with schools and the community to set up gardens within six schools in Bali, Batibo and Oku regions.  These projects give children the seeds, tools, information and experience to grow organic vegetables that supply necessary nutrients without chemicals.

The aim is to train tomorrow’s farmers in techniques that increase productivity, model effective agricultural practices and protect the environment. The projects will help improve family diet in Cameroon, provide extra income from sales of surplus produce and reduce dependency on outside aid.

From an educational point of view, the project provides school children with practical opportunities for learning science and maths, improves the school environment with fences and gardens and strengthens the partnership between the school and community

So far, the project has been successful in improving the health of children, enhancing the knowledge of sustainable gardening and occasionally providing additional food or seeds for the broader community.

Integrated Development Approach through Training and Infrastructure to Improve Education, Health, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene in Manga Cluster Area in Lake Victoria Region, Kenya.

Health and Water Foundation (HWF) run a programme called Integrated Development Approach through Training and Infrastructure to Improve Education, Health, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene in Manga Cluster Area in Lake Victoria Region, Kenya. The programme has many aspects, one of which is vocational.

Two polytechnics within the region were rehabilitated, classrooms and a carpentry workshop were renovated. Within the polytechnics, training for 60 girls to learn sewing techniques over two years occurs. HWF also provided 20 sewing machines (10 to each polytechnic), these machines tend to be used in large-scale clothing making enterprises, meaning the girls develop the skills for a future profession.

The two polytechnics also train 60 boys in carpentry for two years. HWF provided 20 carpentry kits between the two polytechnics, which comprised of plough plains, bit bushes, timber clamps, Stanley hammer, set of chisel, pliers, auger bit, screw drivers and spanners, Jack Stanley No.4, Stanley plane No.5, Tape measure, brace and try square.

Traditional Silk Weaving

Stung Treng Women’s Development Centre (SWDC) offers a 6 month, full time programme in the art of silk weaving. The programme is aimed at a target audience, typically women from a female headed household. To begin with, women have to complete and pass a literacy and health education class, this enables them to develop news skills and increase their employability. They are then able to apply to attend the vocational training in traditional silk weaving and sewing. The course is offered free of charge and is taught by a professional trainer.

In order to support the women further, SWDC provide a monthly allowance, and free lunch to all trainees. This enables the women to leave current jobs and participate in the training, in order to further their professional skills and job prospects. Women who have to travel long distances are offered a fair payment scheme for a bicycle.

After the women have completed their training, they are offered jobs in the areas they are most confident in, within SWDC’s ‘Mekong Blue’ enterprise, where products are sold around Cambodia. Further to this, on the job training is provided meaning both new and old skills are constantly being developed. So far this programme has led to previously unemployed women being able to gain employment and has also led to women feeling a sense of independence and empowerment. There has been a reduction in local and regional poverty as women are able to generate an income and therefore are able to support their families and invest in the local economy.