Doreen Kawira is a dedicated teacher at Nuru Early Childhood Development (ECD) center, one of many such centers established by G.R.A.C.E. in Chuka to provide integrated ECD services to children below 5 years. In 2012 G.R.A.C.E. staff trained Doreen and other ECD teachers as trainers on the establishment and management of Savings and Internal Lending Communities (SILC). After the training, she mobilized caregivers of the children enrolled at her ECD center, trained them on SILC and assisted them to form a SILC group. The group has 22 members (20 women and 2 men), who meet once a month during which each member contributes 400 Kenya Shillings (the equivalent of 4 US dollars). Members take out loans from the savings to cater for their basic household needs as well as investing in small businesses.
According to Kellen Kambua, the Secretary of the group, most members had challenges in watering the kitchen gardens that they had established in their homesteads due to the hassles of fetching and carrying water from far off water sources like boreholes and rivers. ‘Even after receiving seedlings and other farm inputs from G.R.A.C.E, most of us had problems juggling between fetching water from the available water sources and attending to other domestic duties’, she explains.
To address this challenge, Kellen led her group members to approach their area Member of Parliament (MP), Mr. Muthomi Njuki and requested him to assist them to access water more easily. The MP and his team evaluated the situation and requested the group members to contribute a nominal amount to supplement the cost of piping. By October 2015, piped water had been availed in all group members’ homes.
The long distances to the stream to fetch for water for their families and livestock are a thing of the past. Kitchen gardens are flourishing with fresh produce and children are set to benefit from a wide variety of fresh greens throughout the year.
Children attending the Nuru ECD center including Kellen’s son Diblase Murithi are assured of improved hygiene and food security, and are on a sure path towards meeting all their developmental milestones.