On a training day, I start at around 8am with visits to families, along with some other group members, to help them evaluate one another and see where things went wrong and what the farmers did right.
At around 11am, we sit down to work out recommendations, and then we will have a meeting. Because of Covid we are now only allowed train 10-12 people at one time in a group. Before we would have 18 or 20.
Ripple Effect’s work starts with the cornerstones – our principles, and a lot of training on social inclusion and gender, improving relationships, and leadership. When the group is working together, we can move on to the project, and the skills they need for that.
We need to address relationships in the family because our work targets 80% women, and in the beginning women are denied land. So even if you train them they can’t put it into practice until they have a chance to make decisions in the family.
When women start earning money and bring food for the table, and the family can pay school fees, build a house, even drill for water, then the men realise the wives are also productive, and the training binds the family together.
People see that they can grow vegetables within just three weeks. Some people earn 200 KES in a day (£1.30) selling their produce. Some sell vegetables three or four times in a week and earn more than 7,000 KES (£47).
Training is not a lecture – it is a conversation between you and them. Some people have been to school, and others don’t know how to read. We have young, old, people with disabilities. We may use Kiswahili and the local language to make sure everyone understands.
The training session cannot be more than three hours – everyone will get sleepy after that. We sing songs to energise ourselves all the way through. We have songs about how to make compost! When you learn with music you will not forget.
In the afternoon I might do another farm visit until about 5 or 6. Most days I will walk around 10km – I’m a very strong woman!
When I finish I will call a motorbike to take me home.
I get home between 6 and 7pm. I check my cows and chickens, and pick vegetables to sell to my neighbours at the farm gate for about 20 minutes. Then if the house girl hasn’t cooked the meal I will prepare supper for the family.