Monday, April 21, 2014
Kilele Foundation is a community-based organization registered with the Ministry of Culture and Social Services in Kenya in 2002. The organization’s area of operation is Machakos County in Kenya with a concentration of its grassroots activities at Katangi Ward. Its strategic mission is to initiate and implement community development projects that are people-centered, gender responsive and socially, economically and environmentally sustainable.
The organization is led by an executive director assisted by a lean team of professionals and a board of directors. However, Kilele Foundation has an advisory board composed of local and international advisors including Tatjana Martinoska (Qatar), Beatrice Njenga (African Union, Ethiopia), Kelly Coladarci (USA)
The organization initiates and implements projects across various sectors that include water & sanitation, health, agriculture, education environmental conservation and civic education. Through the support of Global Philathrophy Alliance (GPA), Akiba Mashinani Trust (AMT) and Akiba Uhaki Foundation (AUF), Kilele Foundation is implementing a Youth Agribusiness Initiative, Village Microcredit Scheme(VIMISE) and Institutional Strengthening/Capacity Building projects respectively. The organization through a cost-sharing arrangement with households is also implementing a Solar Mashinani Initiative, a project meant to eliminate the use of kerosene lamps and instead introduce the use of solar lamps in 4800 households by 2016.
Many rural women in Kenya are bearing the heavy burden of poverty. While there is enough evidence that more women than men in the rural areas work longer hours, they are the lowest income earners and hence live in poverty. More specific, most women in the rural in Katangi Ward in Machakos County in Kenya have replaced men in their households as providers of food to their families.
Over 90% of the women in the area are wholly responsible for the education of their children from primary to secondary school education. The women find it difficult to educate their children in middle level and other tertiary institutions for economic reasons. Besides, you will find many women constructing shelters (usually grass-thatched houses) for their families and utilized their merry-go round income to pay for healthcare bills for their children. These actions do not redeem women economically but only serve to impoverish them.
The reality of women-headed households in Katangi Ward has been aggravated by the overindulgence in alcohol abuse by men. As men spend hours in non-productive activities, women are usually involved in subsistence farming, small household businesses (selling vegetables and rearing poultry) and merry-go rounds in order to provide for their children. These activities have not eased the economic burden on the shoulders of women in the area.
For a long time, there has been no development assistance (there is no record of government-sponsored initiatives targeting women in the area) reaching this community. The women have borne the consequences arising from the gaps in development funding especially on the area of economic empowerment. With a new threat of increasing cases of new HIV infections in Katangi Ward, the women in the area are expected to suffer more in both economic and health terms.
The foregoing economic realities facing women in Katangi Ward call for long-term and sustainable economic empowerment interventions that will enhance the capacity of the women to take care of their families but also to increase their economic voice. Well thought-out economic empowerment interventions will help to generate sustainable solutions to food, water, health, education and housing household needs.