SANGO Diaries, Chapter 37. International Women’s Day: Honoring the Women of SANGO-Kenya

This week, around the globe, people are celebrating International Women’s Day. At SANGO-Kenya, we celebrate remarkable women every day. We are inspired by their kindness, their hard work, their endless commitment to their families; their love of learning; and their determination to build a better life for themselves and their families.

We Invest in Women by Providing Knowledge

The 2024 theme for International Women’s Day is investing in women. That’s exactly what we — the SANGO-Kenya team and all of our generous supporters — do. We invest in women by providing them the knowledge and the technical support they need to strengthen food and nutrition security for themselves and their households.

It’s the most powerful investment imaginable, one that results in an incredible return. And, importantly, it’s sustainable.

This week our team in Kenya — Winnie, Evance, Peter, and Franck — arranged for me to speak to several of our farmers so I could talk to them about their lives, their roles as women and mothers, and how being in SANI-Kenya, as the program is known in Kenya, affects them.

As always, it is so wonderful talking to them. We are always so inspired.

Women are responsible for everything related to the household, and every day is a marathon. They start very early in the morning so they can fetch water and get themselves organized before getting their children ready for school. Then there’s cleaning, cooking, going to the farm, going to market, taking care of any other issues, such as caring for a sick child or other relative. And for our Lead Farmers, they also go to visit the farmers in their groups.

“I am Now Producing More, Selling More”

The women are, of course, responsible for preparing all the meals. They are also responsible for ensuring there is enough food. One farmer told me “When it’s time for a meal, and the children start to prepare, if there isn’t food there, they get stressed. It is up to the woman to make sure there is always food.”

The farming techniques they learn through our programs help ensure there is more and more accessible food: they get higher crop yields using the sustainable agriculture methods we teach and the multi-story gardens help utilize the land more effectively. We emphasize climate resilient crops, so even with the effects of climate change, the farmers have more reliable harvests. They also learn how to harvest seeds so they can replant. We also promote a more nutritious diet, including a lot of green leafy vegetables. “I am now a better farmer. We eat more vegetables and I have more to sell at market,” we were told.

“Savings and Loaning Has Helped me a Lot”

They have financial responsibilities as well. School fees is one that so many of the women talk about. One farmer told us “Being in the Saving and Loaning Group has helped me so much. I am saving and can borrow when I need it.” She added, “I am now so disciplined I save a little every week to be sure I have enough funds so my child won’t have to miss school.” Others said they can also get loans when they need to buy additional food or other household items.

Their responsibilities, their days, their work are endless. But they persevere. They don’t give up.

They do it all for their children.

Mothers, wives, farmers, caregivers: All of the women of SANGO-Kenya are heroines, and we honor them not just on International Women’s Day, but on every day.

Erokamano. Asante. Thank you. None of this would be possible without you.

With much gratitude,
The SANGO-Kenya farmers, their families — and Winnie, Evance, Peter, Junior Franck, Constance, and Kit

None of this would be possible without you and your support

Your generosity has made all of SANGO-Kenya’s programs possible. Your tax-deductible donation today will help SANGO-Kenya continue to recruit, train, and support more farmers so they can improve their nutrition, food, and economic security for themselves and their families. Please consider making a tax-deductible contribution. Thank you.

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