Before working with Ripple Effect, most of Caroline’s land was covered in unproductive shrubs that did little for her except ‘harbouring snakes’. With little knowledge of how to farm sustainably, the staple bean crops she planted would often fail, leaving her with no choice but to beg for food from her neighbours.
She describes how this made her feel:
“I used to sit, go round the village begging and sometimes farming for people…I used to be one of the vulnerable compared to others. I was young, but I felt very weak… My neighbours could not trust me with their money.” - Caroline, Kenya
With constant money worries, Caroline’s relationship with her husband was tense. She describes how he would not share his money with her or their children, so she would steal it from him to pay for transport home to her parent’s house.
“My occasional trips back home [to my parent’s] were to get food… I did not want to starve.” - Caroline, Kenya
The weather in western Kenya is becoming steadily more erratic due to the climate crisis, pushing many mothers like Caroline further into poverty. Heavy rains are not uncommon, and have ruined Caroline’s yellow bean crop in the past, cutting her harvest by two thirds. Last year, the drought was so severe during the planting season that she would walk for an hour to queue at her local water point, arriving by 9am and not making it home until 5pm.
Training and support from Ripple Effect has helped Caroline to achieve so much. Today she stands proudly in a field of nutritious cassava crops, which was once covered in unproductive shrubs. She and her husband share their money and chores, and the responsibility for making decisions. Her children help on the farm after their school work, which is encouraging them to become independent adults.