Nyando, a conservative society, is a rich agricultural flood plain around Lake Victoria in Western Kenya. Most households in Nyando are headed by women and food insecurity is a major challenge. As of 2011, 81% of the families experience 1-2 hunger months in a year, while 17% of the families experience 3-4 hunger months; a period when they are unable to produce from their own farm source. During the dry season, rivers in Nyando often run dry, requiring women to walk long distances for water.
Since 2011, the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security East Africa (CCAFS EA) has been training women farmers on sustainable agricultural practices and climate-smart interventions. There are three active community-based organizations (CBOs) – Friends of Katuk Odeyo (FOKO), NECODEP, KAPSOKALE. These CBOs cover 106 villages in Nyando, and more than 70% of the active members are women. As a result of the trainings, there have been several changes in the community and these include women starting small businesses, earning an income and making enough money to send their children to secondary education, something that was not happening before the targeted capacity building initiatives and empowerment.
To celebrate the International Women’s day, we highlight stories of four women farmers who are making a difference in their communities and inspiring other women.