Spirit in Action is honored to partner with amazing community-based organizations, run by people who are passionate and knowledgeable about sparking change in their own communities. Below is a report written by Margaret Ikiara, Founder and Program Coordinator of CIFORD Kenya, about the impact of a SIA grant on women in her community.
Rebecca Ncekei is one of the grandmothers who attends the weekly meetings for the Muthara Guardian group*, which meets next to our office.
The group meets every Monday afternoon and has a total of 41 members who are all guardians. Rebecca comes from the furthest village, walking for almost ten kilometers [6.25 miles] to attend the group, and still she has been among the very committed members of the group.
Rebecca has received ridicule from the neighbors who laugh at her and tell her that she does useless work walking for 1oKm to and from for just a group meeting.
But Rebecca knows the value of the group. On April 26th she was among the people to receive the water tanks from CIFORD Kenya. When she went home with the tank, she became the hero of the village. Everybody wants to know where she got the tank from!
Talking about the value of the tank, Rebecca was quick to say, “I have been having problems with my legs when I go looking for water, and I had to wait for my grandchildren to come from school to fetch water. Now the problem is solved.”
“All the people in my village can now see that I have a group which can support the elder women in the society,” were Rebecca’s words.
I have decided to share this story from Rebecca because every time she comes for the meeting she has to tell CIFORD staff of a new group wanting partnership and the way the water tank has helped her be recognized in the society.
Rebecca has been an ambassador for CIFORD in the villages nearby. She has also been a catalyst for CIFORD, as those are groups that CIFORD had wanted to work; they were slow in making decisions and are now very eager to be active to work with CIFORD.
We thank all of you for making Rebecca a proud grandma and making it happen at CIFORD. We appreciate your continued support and encouragement.
Tanya’s note: The water tanks collect water in the rainy season, storing it to be used further into the dry season. This water storage reduces the need to walk far distances to gather water. Since many of the families in the area rely on small gardens to produce food to eat, these tanks can nourish a family and help them produce extra food to sell. The tanks are purchased locally.
*The Guardians groups are support and self-help groups for men and women who are caring for children (often their own grandchildren) whose parents have died from HIV/AIDS.