Empowering Women in
We want to contribute
towards women's status and economic independence by giving
them a sustainable source of income which they can grow and develop for
themselves and their families.
This programme started off
in 2006 with the
Honey Project. The initial pilot phase of this programme
was for the purchase of 200 hives, 100 of the Langstroth
type and 100 Kenya Top bar hives. These were to be provided, on a repayable loan
basis, to 20 women's groups.
Immediately after launch, the bee
population of Ukambani was decimated following the exceptional rains of
winter 2006, and has not recovered.
2008, hive occupancy rates of 35% or so were still far below the 75% level required for
sustainability. We relocated unoccupied hives in an attempt
to recover as much as possible from the investment.
In 2007, when the first indications that
the beekeeping programme might fall behind expectations, we diverted
empowerment funds into other income generating activities which have
proved more successful in the Ukambani environment, such
Bags and Chickens!
women's groups in the parish of
Zombe have now built up a track record in micro-businesses. These income
generating activities produce a significant contribution to the household
budget and give a small cash reserve to meet unexpected demands. Friends
of Kitui provided the seed capital for four income
generating projects. Under the dynamic leadership of Sr.
Florence, four groups were established for soap making,
basket and bag making, honey production, and raising
chickens. The women organised themselves, each group
electing their Chairperson, Secretary, & Treasurer, and
collected a small contribution from each member. The seed
capital was used for training in soap manufacture, using
the local aloe vera plants, and for purchase of materials
and equipment. The women are also selling their
produce at local markets,and in
Group” got together in 2008 and funded the construction
of a chicken coop in Zombe from their own resources.
Following that successful pilot scheme,
Friends of Kitui is now supporting a larger scale project
and will contribute further seed capital to
purchase good quality breeding stock and to provide the
essential vaccinations against endemic diseases.
quality local breed chickens sell for €1.50 each, or can
be traded for other foodstuffs. Compare this with the daily
wage for a skilled labourer of €3 and you will realise
what a huge impact this project can have on the household.
Our thanks to
Mary Brogan, and also to Dalkey “Young Lions” under
Robert Lambkin for sterling work on sales of soap and bags.
Click to enlarge
The leader of the women's
group at Zombe explains to Paul Healy, Alex Kavili and Sr. Florence
how the group have successfully set up a goat rearing
project with a loan from the Diocese. Having repaid the
loan, they are now starting an aloe vera soap making
project, and are seeking support for a honey production
Click to enlarge
examine the smoker, used to pacify the bees while working
on the hive.
Click to enlarge
Alex Kavili explains how
the Langstroth hive is constructed
Worldwide, more than two thirds of those living in poverty are
women. A similar proportion of women have been deprived of educational
opportunity, and suffer the penalty of illiteracy. Gender based violence has a major impact on huge numbers of women in the developing
world. All to often the consequences of chronic poverty fall squarely on the shoulders of women and girls.
The Honey Project
aimed to give
participating women an annual income of €100- €200
($125-$250 approx). To see the impact this would have, let's look at
financial data published by the World Bank:
Gross National Income (GNI)
comparisons for Ireland and Kenya
|Kenya's 2004 ranking placed it 138th in a World
Bank listing of 171 countries. Kenya's average GNI figures
do not tell the whole story- a huge percentage of the
population of the Kitui Diocese lives on less than €1 per
first training course for the first 20 women participants
in the Honey Project took place week commencing September
17th 2006 at Baraka Agricultural College, Molo, Kenya.
Baraka College is owned by the Catholic Diocese of Nakuru
and managed by the Franciscan Brothers.
restrictions on womens' access to,property and resources are a
major contributing factor to poverty in the Kitui District, as is
the case in many parts of Africa. The Honey Project will
empower women by giving them control over a resource which will generate wealth
for them and their families, and in a way which can expand in the future.
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||This programme intends to
improve womens' status, and hence access to, and
control of resources, by providing them with their own
source of income through beekeeping. The use of beekeeping
as a means of supplementing income is becoming more
widespread throughout the African continent, and in many
other countries also, and has many environmental benefits.