Working with the physically challenged farmers to generate food and Income for families -Ismael’s story

Ismael Simiyu in his farm

“Many people believe that the disabled and physically challenged people are beggars and survives on the mercy of others. I chose my course to be different and promised to only eat from my sweat. I was born crippled and spend most of my childhood secluded from others. when I came of age, I met a lady who loved me the way I was. We started a family together but I started facing challenges providing food them. My father was kind enough to give me a piece of land which became our source of food and income.

In 2016, I joined Anyinta self help group in Mnagei ward. I wanted to learn sustainable agriculture to increase my farm yields. through interacting and sharing with other farmers, I was motivated and realized that we all face the same challenges. I was keen with the training and decided to shift to drought tolerant crops production.

Most people thought I had lost my mind as well when I prepared my farm and planted millet, sorghum, cassavas, sweet potatoes and bananas instead of maize as usual. I believed that with the skill I had acquired, my harvests will be plentiful and my family will have enough for consumption and sell the surplus.

My wife and children have been very supportive. Although I am the only one who attends the training, My family helps me with the farm work. I share with them everything I learn while they implement under my supervision. This year my farm has done exceptionally well. I am no longer worried about how my family will feed because I have harvested enough and some crops are still in the farm. My neighbors have been coming to me for small portions of food in exchange for money. I was reluctant because of how they treated me but due to lack of any other source of food, I started selling to them.

From my farm, I have purchased 2sheep which I am rearing and some chicken for my wife. I believe that agriculture will transform my life and my children will get good education. I thank God for giving me the determination and will power despite being crippled. I am thankful to Jitokeze and my family who have helped stay true to my promise of not becoming a beggar.”

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Empowering the physically challenged farmers -Amos Tinjaa’s Story

“I joined Anyinta self help group in Mnagei ward in 2016. This was the only group in the region that had considered the physically challenged persons like me. I got an accident which made me disabled but I never lost hope in life. i had a farm and I decided to utilize it both for food and income generation. It was hard at first because I did not have agricultural skills. This compelled me to join Anyinta group that had been recruited by Jitokeze under the farmer empowerment project.

I attended the weekly trainings without fail with the intention of implementing everything. I sub divided my land into plots and planted different crops. My target was to plant early and capture the green maize market. Having learnt the importance of organic farming, I have turned to the use manure and my crops are doing well.

I am optimistic that this year my harvests will be plentiful because I have applied everything I have learnt. Although I can not walk well, I am using my head to get where I want to be”

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Women earning a living from raising and selling tree seedlings -Paulina Rutto’s story

Paulina Rutto selling her cyprus and gravellier seedlings

“I decided to venture into tree seedlings production after I acquired some skills from our trainer Perpetual Yator. My home is our group’s farmer field school and when I saw that other farmers were reluctant on establishing tree nurseries, I decided to do it alone. Luckily, my neighbor who is also a member of our group joined me and we started working together.

We collect seeds when mature trees are cut and sometimes we pay young people to climb and harvest seeds for us. Our nursery has cyprus and eucalyptus and a few gravellier seedlings because this seeds are scarce and very expensive in the market.

Since we started this project, we have sold seedlings worth Khs 40,000 and we still have more seedlings in our nursery. From my share, I have managed to start a cloth business in town and it is picking well. Other group members have started approaching me wanting to be part of this project. I have however advised them to start small nurseries in their farms instead.

Apart from tree seedlings, I am also rearing poultry for income generation through selling of eggs.”

Old women in West Pokot taking up Agro forestry projects for income generation -Chepongarit Nguriarita’s story

Nguriarita harvesting her papayas

“Age can be a limiting factor to most people when it comes to farming but that is not my case. I have embraced farming and it is one of my stable sources of income since 2015 when I joined Cheptirek Self Help Group in Lomut ward.  through the help of Edmond and other farmers who are also in my group, I acquired a wide range of farming skills which i am implementing.

I received five Maradol papaya seedlings from the group’s nursery bed and planted in my kitchen garden. I also received some sesbania and Moringa seedlings which I planted along the hedges of my farm.

I spent a lot of time guarding my farm from goats that had destroyed other farmers seedlings. I also invested in irrigation during dry seasons to prevent them from drying up. After one year of hard work, I started harvesting my paw paws and selling them in Lomut market and to my neighbors.

The profits I was making prompted me to raise more papaya seedlings to plant. I realized that this breed does not take long to mature and the fruit is big compared to the indigenous one and its market is also good. I have also preserved other seeds for other farmers in my group because I want them to plant this fruit so that we can meet the ever growing demand of paw paws.

My husband has supported me so much despite not being a member of our group. He helps me with erecting the fence and when i am not around, he guards our farm. Sometimes he takes the fruits to the market when I am engaged in other activities.

Despite the adverse droughts in this region, I have seen that we can still survive on irrigation and raising drought tolerant crops instead for food and for income generation.”

Women in West Pokot engaging in farming for food and income generation -Lucy Martin’s story

Lucy Martin harvesting her pumpkin

“I joined Kakuko in 2015 when our leaders called on us to unite and work in groups. our group was recruited in the same year to work with Jitokeze under the farmer empowerment programJitokeze’s approach to development was different because they focused more on building capacity as opposed to giving handouts. I did not like this because I wanted to receive money to feed and educate my children.

I decided to be patient and attended the weekly training without fail.  I took interest in drought tolerant crops and decided to implement in my farm. I focused more on planting cow peas, and pumpkins because my major challenge was getting fresh vegetables for my family. One of my daughter had even broken her arm once when she climbed a tree in search of sokoria ( tree leaves that we use as vegetables).

Although I practiced in small scale, I am pleased with the results. We are no longer competing with others for sokoria as it used to be. I am also generating income from the sell of some of the cow peas. To top it all, I have harvested some cow peas seeds which I am planning to plant in another plot.

My pumpkins did exceptionally well also. Apart from enjoying the leaves as vegetables, I have also started harvesting the fruits. My children like the pumpkins a lot and for this reason I am not going to sell any of them. I will preserve them and have them enjoy it from time to time.

I have come to realize that knowledge and skills is of more importance as compared to money. I have made more money than what I would have received from the group through my farm. ”

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Breaking loose in pursuit for financial freedom -Dorothy Cherop’s Story

Dorothy Cherop

“I joined Jitokeze in 2014 to learn dress making and fashion design. Before joining I used to be an ordinary house wife. Life was hard and the little money that my husband made as a casual laborer was barely enough to cater for our needs.

In 2014, my husband agreed to allow me join Jitokeze for the tailoring program. I had mixed feelings, On one hand I was leaving my husband and my kids and on the other hand I was going to pursue my dream course. Dress making was not as simple as had expected. Being a primary drop out, I had challenges grasping some concepts but my trainers were patient with me. In 2015 I joined the production class and started earning commission on products I was sewing. This helped me get a sewing machine the same year. Having completed my training, I went back home only to find my husband married a new wife and my children were staying with my mother.

He agreed to give me a space to build my shop and start my business. He however neglected me and spent most of his time with his new wife. I stayed focused and started sewing cloths especially for my neighbors and my his relatives. I wasn’t making much though because they were not paying and when I ask for money they would remind me we are relatives.

My father owns a piece of land in Lomut center and when I shared with him the challenges I was facing, He allowed me to relocate and start my business there. My husband opposed the idea but at this point I had made up my mind because he already had another wife and I had to cater for my children.

Things went smoothly in Lomut and I acquired customers within a short period of time. Through my business, I have started constructing an Iron roofed house in the land my family gave me. I have enrolled my children in school and have established a small food café where I sell porridge and chapatti. Unfortunately my husband still sees me as an immoral woman because I left my matrimonial home. When I compare my life now and how it used to be I don’t regret my decisions though. ”

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Poultry project uniting families, Benson and Pauline’s story

Benson Koria and his wife Pauline feeding their chicken

“Poultry was initially termed a woman’s project in the Pokot culture.  However, my perception changed when all my cows and sheep died due to lack of food and water when we were hit by drought. My wife who is a member of Kaiparer Self help group encouraged me and asked me to venture into poultry keeping with her. she had acquired poultry keeping skills but she needed my support to start the project. After giving it some thought, I decided to sell one of my remaining goats and we purchased 4hens and one cockerel to start with.

It didn’t take long before eggs started coming. We worked together with my wife and she always ensured after collecting the eggs and selling them for one week we buy another hen. At first I didn’t feel like this was the right thing to do. However as the hens continued increasing, I started embracing the project and even started taking the eggs to the market my self.

This project not only united my family but also transformed our lives.  We raised Ksh 30,000 from the project and purchased a piece of land. I noticed that my children were healthier than before because they had access to three meals a day unlike in the past. We also decided not to be selling all eggs but preserve some for our consumption.

Poultry is an easy project because it only takes six months before you start harvesting through the sell of eggs and even chickens themselves. I have realized that the secret lies in selling the chickens and the eggs in large numbers to raise more money and invest in other projects. At the moment my family looks up on poultry for provision of all our basic needs. We have also opened up a small baking business where we sell mandazis to our neighbors.

My wife attributes our success to the unity that exists between us. Before selling any chickens, we must agree on the number, the price and how the money raised will be spent. I have learnt to listen to her opinions and ideas unlike in the past.”

“Benson Koria and his wife pauline, (participants in the Farmer empowerment project)

Husbands working with their wives in West Pokot to improve their families living standards- Doiywo’s story

Josephine Doywo with her chicken

“I am a member of Elite Self Help Group from Mnagei Ward, West Pokot County. I started working with Jitokeze in 2015 when my group was recruited under the farmer empowerment project. My interest was in tree seedlings production and poultry keeping. Together with my wife, we attended the weekly trainings and implemented everything we learnt from the farmer field school. I am blessed I have a piece of land near the river. We converted this piece of land into our tree nursery and bedded different seeds. The seedlings we raised we sold to our neighbors and took some to the market. we raised a total of Ksh: 21,300 and we agreed to channel it into purchasing farm inputs and two indigenous sheep for rearing.

Our poultry Project has also been doing exceptionally well. We sold some chickens and purchased a male cow for rearing. At the moment, we still have a large flock of chicken. We are still generating income from the sell of eggs and at times we consume them when we lack vegetables.

In our culture men do not engage in projects with their wife. I however broke this norm and started working closely with my wife to better our living standards. Most people know me a poultry trainer because of our success in this project. I believe that with time, we will purchase more land and give our children quality education”

Tailoring redeemed my honor in my community -Lilian Relin’s story

Lilian Reline

“I joined Jitokeze in 2014 to learn fashion design and garment making. I dropped out of class eight due to lack of fees and started helping my parents with home chores and taking care of goats.

One year later I got pregnant and my hope of continuing with my studies crushed. I continued staying home but everything changed when my baby came. I hand to fend for him and I had no means of income. My boyfriend abandoned me and married another girl from my village.

In 2013 I came to know of jitokeze and applied for a tailoring course. My father agreed to pay half of my fees and I had to look for the other half. I joined and through my hard work, I started producing products at a commission in my first year. The commission helped in offsetting my fee balance and in my second year I started making commission towards the purchase of my sewing machine.

I graduated in 2016 and set my business the same year. It took me time to get customers because most people did not trust that such a young girl can make cloths perfectly.

Through my shop, I am making enough money to cater for my needs and my son’s. I have also opened a small shop that is also giving me some income. I have regained the respect I had lost when I got pregnant out of wedlock.”

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Why Men are turning to Poultry Keeping In West Pokot-Philip Lomureng’s story

Lomureng's wife feeding their chicken

“Poultry is no longer a woman’s project as it used to be in West Pokot county. We have also stepped in and are working closely with our wives in this project to generate food and income for our families. I lost most of my sheep and cows during the recent drought. Goats became valueless because they were being sold at throw away price. This was a major setback to me and my family because we depended on animals for survival.

Being a member of Cheptiangwa Self help group, I had acquired some poultry keeping skills and I decided to set the project. My wife agreed to help me despite not being a member of our group but my friends viewed me differently for stooping so low as to engage in women’s projects. This gave me the determination to work hard and prove them wrong.

It didn’t take long before I started selling eggs and chicken. I decided not to sell them to middle men but instead took them to the market on market days to fetch good prices. I have a stock of 80 chickens and my wife collects 55 eggs daily which we sell at 10 shillings each. Most people come to me for eggs because there are no vegetables due to the ongoing drought. My friends who were laughing at me have started visiting and asking for favors.

My children’s education is catered for by my project and they are no longer being sent home for fees. they also have access to balanced diets unlike in the past. I have learnt to operate my project in a more professional manner and I ensure my chickens are vaccinated, have food and I keep a record of all the transactions.”

(Phillip Limareng, Cheptiangwa Self Help Group, Farmer empowerment project)

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unrelenting quest for knowledge, the story of Christine Chepengat

Christine Chepengat with her children at her their home

“I am  a single mother of five children. I was married but when my husband became abusive and drunk, I was forced to return to my mother with my children. Life was unbearable because i had to fend for my children and my elderly sick mother. I depended on odd jobs and later started burning charcoal and selling.

our situation was worsening day in day out and I started thinking of what I can do to alleviate our living standards. I visited one of my cousins, a former student at Jitokeze who advised me to enroll for the tailoring course. She had taken this course and in two years she had graduated, acquired her sewing machine and was planning on setting up her tailoring business. I took a bold step and sought for admission knowing well that I had no money to pay my tuition fees.

I received my letter of admission in 2016 and joined the tailoring school. The administration was very understanding because they allowed me pay my fees through supplying them with firewood. I worked hard in school and during the holidays, I ensured I have burnt enough charcoal to pay my children’s school fees and enough firewood to cater for my fees and to raise money for my family’s upkeep.

I am happy I have registered good progress and I have joined the production class where I am earning some commission from making products for our online shop. I believe that through the skills I have acquired my life is going to change for the best. My family will be food secure and I will be able to generate income as well.”


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Providing learning opportunities to girls who dropped out of school-Alvine Loitareng’s Story

Alvin Loitareng drafting a piece of cloth

” I joined Jitokeze in 2016 to learn fashion design and garment making. Being uneducated single mother of one, life has not been fair to me and my son. My mother suffers from temperamental problems and this made her turn me and my son into her punching bag. when I couldn’t take in more of her ill treatment, I took off to my elder brother’s home. He took me in and took care of me and my son. He later enrolled me for a tailoring course at Jitokeze.

At first, I thought my program will only revolve around sewing but I later came to learn that it covers sustainable agriculture training, poultry keeping and adult and continuing education. I dedicated most of my time to studying and took much interest in learning to read and write. My son is growing fast and soon he will be expecting me to help him with his homework. I knew I had to learn to read and write to be able to help him.

I sat for my adult and continuing education exams which I passed well and got my self a certificate. I am still attending this classes though because I feel I still need to learn more and even sit for my primary certificate exams.

In garment making, I am making good progress. I have joined the production class where i am making some products for the online shop. During holidays, I keep myself busy by working in my sister’s tailoring shop thus earning some money.

I believe that once I am through with my training, I will establish my own tailoring shop. I will be able to provide for my son and ensure he gets good education.”


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women living their dreams despite the challenges they face-Sabina Lokoreti’s story

Sabina Lokoret in her farm

“I joined Nyaltin Women group in late December 2015. I was impressed by the progress i was seeing in Pauline’s (Nyaltin Chair lady) farm. when my request to join their group was approved, I dedicated most of my time to implementing what I had learnt from the farmer field school where we were meeting weekly. I acquired a wide range of skills in poultry keeping and tree seedlings production.

My husband was against me joining any group of farmers because he feared I would end being involved in peddling rumors and causing conflicts. As a result, he banned me from attending any meetings and instead opened a posho mill for me.

I was not discouraged by the turn of events. I went a head and collected some tree seeds and established my small tree nursery. My aim was to raise the seedlings and plant in my farm. I knew that once my children grow up and start schooling, I will need more money. I have managed to raise some gravellier, Cyprus and Eucalyptus seedlings. From what I see, I have more than enough seedlings and I will be selling some of them to my neighbors.

I have also planted some bananas which are doing well and I will soon start selling the fruits at my posho mill which I only open in the evening after am done with farm work. Apart from this, I have also started keeping poultry for income generation through the sell of eggs. Although my husband was opposing my projects, he is enjoying the benefits unknowingly. I no longer wait upon him for basic commodities like sugar, salt and soap. The money I get from my eggs caters for this small expenses. Recently I sold two cockerels and gave my daughter the money for her school trip. Although I am no longer in the group, I am still implementing the skills I acquired to support my family financially and to provide food for them”

Factors limiting the uptake and Longevity of Self Help Groups (SHGs) within the Rural Communities of West Pokot

In Jitokeze Wamama Waafrika’s work of strengthening capacity for resilience to the negative impacts of climate change among vulnerable farmers in West Pokot, the organization makes use of Self Help Groups. Although very useful in rural economies, Self Help Groups are not immune to shortfalls that limit their uptake and longevity. One example of a factor that limits the survival of self-help groups within rural communities is poor record keeping. Because of low literacy levels within the community, it is difficult for the group members to keep proper records. To mitigate this, Jitokeze Wamama Waafrika has launched an adult literacy program that mobilizes interested members of the community to learn basic literacy and numeracy to enable them to keep better records in their groups. Conflict is normal within groups, it is even beneficial if maintained at a manageable level. However, in some cases, people are skeptical about joining groups because of fear of conflict, or because of previous negative experience with another group where conflict was not resolved properly. For this reason, Jitokeze Wamama Waafrika trains group members on conflict resolution and team building to help these groups manage conflict. In some instances, there are other groups in existence with a concept similar to Jitokeze Wamama Waafrika’s Self-help groups making people hesitant about forming self-help groups. However, with more education and an understanding about self-help groups, they are more willing to form them. Lack of commitment among group members and very low/irregular savings are other factors that limit the longevity of self-help groups. To mitigate these problems, Jitokeze Wamama Waafrika makes regular monitoring and evaluation visits to these groups and encourages them to discuss and try to find solutions to the problems they face.

Impacts of practicing soil and water conservation techniques- The story of Jennifer James

Jenniffer James checking her bananas

I formed Okin Self help group in 2015 with the help of Perpetual Yator the field staff of Jitokeze wamama wafrika. We were only interested with learning sustainable agriculture but when Perpetual started training us she incorporated poultry, self help group conceptcrops production and Agro forestry. I was Impressed by the soil and water conservation training and decided to construct contour ridges to minimize soil erosion. Although the task required a lot of energy and time My husband saw my determination and promised to help.

I decided to plant sweet potatoes, sesbania and bananas along the ridges. My crops are doing so well especially the bananas which I have started harvesting and selling the fruits. My sweet potatoes did well and the harvests were bumper. I am planning to construct more ridges in my farm to reduce soil erosion and to produce more bananas and sweet potatoes.

My farm was bare and I used to suffer massive soil erosion during rainy seasons. I am glad I finally found a solution and my land is now productive and earning me some income as well as food.

I have also established a small tree nursery site. I am planning to raise some wood lot seedlings which I will plant in along the hedges of my farm.

(Jennifer James, Okin Self Help Group, farmer empowerment program)

Young girls in West Pokot forced to chart their own course as parents neglect them -Viola Kong’asis’s Story

Viola Kongasis before graduating in 2016

” I dropped out of school in class four to get married. I was very young and had no idea of what I was getting myself into. Its not like I had any choice anyway because my father had already received my dowry. I was blessed with two beautiful daughters and that is when my problems began. My husband became irresponsible and started taking alcohol. He also became very abusive forcing me to go back to my parents home.

Being a young mother, the burden of raising my daughters was overwhelming. After struggling for two years, I was introduced to Jitokeze by my former teacher who also helped me get admission in 2015.

No one wanted to help me raise my fee but I was not discouraged. I was allowed to pay my fee through farm work and supplying the school with firewood. I was determined to change my life no matter the sacrifice. After my first year of training, I was lucky to be promoted to the production class. This was like a miracle to me because I was to start earning some commission from the products I made.

I completed my training in 2016 and graduated. My commission had not only covered my tuition fees but also gotten me a sewing machine. I was overjoyed but this was short lived. My dream was to start a tailoring business but I only had a sewing machine but no fabrics to kick start my business.

I decided to go back to Jitokeze to continue producing products at a commission to raise more money. I was able to raise Ksh 19,000 in cash and some that I was sending home weekly for my children’s upkeep. I went back home and established my small tailoring shop.

I have leased out a two acre piece of land where I have planted maize, beans and vegetable from my profits. I have also enrolled my children to school and am helping my parents despite what they made me go through. I still go to Jitokeze when they have a lot of products to make.”



hard work, commitment and determination to succeed -Gladys Chepkura’s Story

gladys Chepkura

“I was adopted when I was still young because my parents had no means of raising us. My new family loved me because they had been married for a long time but had no kids. They took me to school but I dropped out in class seven when I got pregnant. Although they were disappointed in me, they helped me until I delivered and nursed my son. They wanted to take me back to school but money was a problem and that is how I ended up working as a house girl in Makutano town.
My employer was generous and when she knew that I had interest in sewing cloths, she decided to take me to Jitokeze in 2015. I would wake up very early, complete all house chores and report to school. In the evening I would do laundry after cooking before sleeping. I was always exhausted but I needed the salary to cover my tuition fee.
In my second year, I started making products on commission and this boosted me a lot. My employer agreed to allow me be a boarder but I would still go on weekends to clean the house and do laundry. I did this until I completed my training and luckily for me my commission was enough to offset part of my fee and the purchase of a sewing machine.
After graduating in 2016, I went back home but I couldn’t establish my tailoring business because I lacked rent and money to purchase fabrics. My father helped me get employment at one seamstress’s shop. I wasn’t making much but I loved my worked because I continued learning and interacting with customers. From the little money I was getting, I purchased some fabrics and my father rented out a shop for me. Most of my clients have been school going children who request for school uniforms and bags. I also have a few adults.
My business is picking up slowly. I have started making profits and am happy I am helping my parents with home expenses and also saving towards my sons school fees so that when he comes of age I will not struggle to educate him. I plan to look for my real family and unite with them although I have no intentions of cutting ties with those that raised me.”

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What are Self Help Groups (SHG’S)?

Self-Help Groups or Chamaa as they are popularly called in Kenya, are exclusive groups started primarily to empower women in rural and suburban areas. These groups typically consist of 15-20 members who are predominantly women. The women in rural areas pool their savings in order to offer short-term loans to members of the group or to contribute towards a group project. Self-help groups are fundamental in Jitokeze Wamama Waafrika’s work in promoting the social and economic empowerment of women in West Pokot.  Through the use of Self Help Groups, the organization has been able to help the women become economically independent and help them contribute to the socio-economic development of their society by helping to finance many individual and group projects. Initially, all self-help groups focus on cultivating a strong saving habit amongst its members by making them deposit a little portion of their daily income in a kitty so that in case a member needs money immediately to tackle a personal issue or an economic project, these savings could be offered to them as an internal loan to be repaid at a fixed interest within a stipulated time. Jitokeze Wamama Waafrika has over sixty-five self-help groups in West Pokot County working to strengthen the capacity for climate change resilience among vulnerable farmers, and to improve the livelihoods of these groups within the Pokot community.  

Indigenous Drought Tolerant Crops contribute to Food Security in West Pokot, Kenya

Lucy Martin's preserved sorghum seeds for next planting season

Climate change has affected food production in most areas of West Pokot County. Most crops withered and those that survived the drought had low yields. However our participants in the food security program who planted drought tolerant crops have started harvesting their farm produce. Millet, sorghum, cow peas, green grams, cassavas and pumpkins did well compared to maize and beans. unfortunately, most people planted maize and beans and therefore suffered losses.

What is climate change?

Climate change is a significant regional or global change in patterns of weather occurring over a long period of time. Climate change ultimately affects the global climate. Global climate is the connected system of the sun, wind, snow, oceans, earth, savannas, deserts, forests, rain and human activities. This means that one continent’s actions in, say, deforestation will to an extent affect the global climate. This systemic connectedness makes climate change so important and complicated. The global climate has been constantly changing over time, according to NASA, in the last 650,000 years, glacial advance and retreat have occurred seven times. The last ice age is said to have occurred 7000 years ago at the commencement of the modern climate era. The modern climate era coincidentally marks the beginning of human civilization. While pre-modern climate change occurred as a result of small variations in the earth’s orbit, climate change in the modern era is greatly caused by human activity and is proceeding at an unprecedented rate. Jitokeze wamama Waafrika’s mission is to increase climate change resilience among the vulnerable, marginalized communities of West Pokot. The organization does this by empowering these vulnerable groups with knowledge in sustainable agricultural practices and teaching on improved and sustainable economic practices.

Reducing Gender inequality in West Pokot County in Kenya, One Family at a time

As we work to empower farmers in West Pokot to improve their resilience to the impact of climate Change, one of the cultural issues we experience is the inequality in the sharing of responsibilities within the homes here in West Pokot County. Women often bear a load that is far heavier than that borne by men because they are tasked with the responsibility of taking care of their homes, their children and the the farms. We saw this as an oppressive issue that would be hard to tackle without involving men as participants in the training that we give women, besides this we also realized that empowering women without empowering men as their allies, will not only increase the responsibilities borne by women but might also continue the violence inflicted upon women whenever their men feel sidelined and as if their women compete against them. Hence in 2013 we started encouraging the members of our Self Help Groups to open up their membership to men from their village who are committed to the empowerment of their community. Since then we have seen gender empowerment take effect in both men and women as men started to share roles that were traditionally set aside for women.

Farmers set to receive farming equipment.

Kemrkou Lokedingole recieving his water tank

We are delivering some of the farming equipment that had been requested for by our farmers in November 2016.

We have acquired funds for purchasing water tanks alone. As a result we are still fund raising for funds to purchase chain links and chicken nets.

We have purchased 22 water tanks of different capacities ranging from 1000 liters to 10,000 liters based on farmers’ needs. We also purchased 44 iron sheets for Elite self help group. This group ventured into poultry keeping and wanted to construct a poultry house.

Unlike the previous years, farmers had to raise the transportation fee from Makutano to their homes. This move is meant to kill dependency and foster sustainability.  We also delivered 44 iron sheets to one of our groups that had requested for them to construct a group’s poultry house.

Our focus this year is on water harvesting thus farmers who requested for water tanks received a 50 % matching . other farming equipment received a 25% matching support down from 50%.

Our participants have been patient with us despite having taken a whole year to deliver

Farmers in West pokot enjoying the benefits of early Planting- Pauline Lematukei’s story

Mrs Lemtukei in her farm

“I am a member of Kuku ni mali self help group in Mnagei ward West Pokot county. I started working with Jitokeze in 2016 when my group was recruited under the farmer empowerment program. We we trained on the self Help group concept, sustainable Agriculture and poultry keeping.

My interest was on sustainable agriculture because I wanted to learn how I can increase my yields which have been going down year in year out. I was advised to use certified seeds, plant early, practice crops rotation and drought tolerant crops due to the changing climatic conditions.

I took my training seriously and implemented everything I had learnt from other farmers.  This year, I am among the first few farmers whose crops have done well and will have bumper harvests.

I had targeted the green maize market and I am glad because I have sold maize worth Ksh 25000 from a small piece of land. My beans are also ready although I have not harvested them yet. I am not planning the beans any time soon until when the prices are good. I have also set a side a plot of maize which I will harvest and store for next year’s consumption. I am glad I will not buy food this year as has been the case before I joined other farmers for weekly trainings.”

(Pauline Lematukei, Kuku ni Mali Self Help Group, Farmer empowerment program)

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Food Security and Nutrition

Jackline sagami in her sorgum and vegetable plot

47% of children in West Pokot County are malnourished. This is because pregnant women and children below five years don’t have access to balanced meals.

This situation can however be mitigated through capacity building and increasing the availability and access to quality food to all.

As a result we are providing food and nutrition training to our participants in their Self Help groups. Most participants are women and we believe building their capacity and increasing practice will help reduce the percentage.

Our participants have embraced  kitchen garden approach. They have secured small pieces of land for raising vegetables and fruits for consumption. they have also embraced diversification and poultry keeping for eggs and meat production.

Jackline Sagami, a member of Kuku ni Mali shg in Mnagei ward, shares that getting a balanced diet is now easier. She does not see the cost anymore because she has planted everything in her farm and she has several chickens as well.

Mrs Lokwasia has a plot of pumpkins from which she gets vegetables and fruits all together. Apart from consuming them, she also generates income through selling them.

Most kitchen gardens have kale, spinach, black knight shades, cow peas, pumpkins among other vegetables as opposed to maize.

They have also planted bananas, papayas and mangoes for fruits production. As a result, our participants have access to balanced meals generated by themselves in their farms.

Empowering Farmers; OKIN Self Help Group. January 2015

Members of Okin SHg

Okin Self help Group is one of our groups in Kapenguria ward. It was formed in 2015 and recruited in our food security program in the same year.

Participants were motivated by the desire to produce their own food for home consumption and for generating income.  As a result, the 14 women came together to receive weekly trainings on sustainable Agriculture and poultry keeping. 

Besides Agriculture, participants are also interested in getting training on the Self Help Group concept

Poultry projects in West Pokot providing women with means of generating income and food-The story of Sofia Chepiatich

Sofia Chepyatich feeding her chicken

I am a member of Elite Self Help group in mnagei ward West Pokot County. Our group has been working closely with Jitokeze Wafrika in building self help group concept capacity, tree seedlings production and poultry keeping. From the skills i acquired, I decided to venture into poultry keeping. Through the help of our trainer Mrs Perpetual, I constructed a chepkube for rearing my chicks. I also received a chicken net from Jitokeze which I used to construct a poultry house. I took a loan from our group’s savings and purchased one cockerel and 5 hens to start with.

Although I had been trained on poultry keeping, I realized that rearing chicken is a hard task and requires a lot of patience and dedication. despite the challenges I faced, I am proud of my progress. I have 50 mature chickens at the moment and most of them are laying eggs. My project has changed my life a lot. unlike in the past, I now have means of generating income through the sell of eggs. My children’s health has also improved because I have incorporated eggs into their diets.

(Sofia Chepyatich, Member of Elite Self Help Group, farmer empowerment program.)

Elite Youth Group

members of Elite SHG during their weekly meeting

Elite is one of our Self  Help Groups in Mnagei ward. We recruited this group in January 2015 after their chairman approached us and requested for our support in capacity building.

Their main area of interest was on Poultry, sustainable agriculture and tree seedlings production. Just like their name, participants have the quest to acquire knowledge to transform their lives and subsequently the entire community.

Their vision is to champion for environmental conservation through increased tree planting and protection. They have a tree nursery in which they intend to raise 20,000 tree seedlings to promote tree planting.

The group has a total of 16 participants, 4 men and 12 women. Apart from agro forestry, they also participate in SHG training.


Empowered Men Collaborate with Women in West Pokot Kenya – The Story of Johnson Atira

 Mrs. ATira showing other participants of Kamerinya her chicks

“I have been the chairman of Kamerinya Self help group since its formation in 2015. I have benefited from the trainings on improving poultry production provided by Perpetual Yator.  As a leader I have been committed in improving food security and income security within my family, other members families and the entire village.To achieve this, I have started implementing what I learn in my farm and this has attracted others to do so.

I am raising and maintaining a nursery bed of kale seedlings, some of which I plant in my farm and the rest I sell in the local market.  I am also raising enough chickens to meet my family’s consumption of eggs and meat and I still have enough to take to the local market during peak season like December.

My wife is very supportive and recently she helped me get 180 day old chicks  to add to my flock, unfortunately 60 of them died. This did not kill my morale and I am still rearing. I have however decided to reduce this risk of loss by purchasing one month old chicks that have a higher rate of survival and lower demand of food supply and energy to keep them warm.”

Video – Talk on Climate Justice and Empowerment at UNEA 2019 – Faith for Earth Side Event

Here is a video of a talk on Climate Justice and Empowerment that our Director gave at the Faith for Earth Side Panel Event held at the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) conference in Nairobi in March 2019.

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