UNITY IS STRENGTH

Sankuri women group is a Self Help Group in Sankuri location, Sankuri ward, Balambala Sub County, Garissa County. The group is comprised of 50 members whose main activity is farming. Within the group there are 3 youth and 2 people living with disability. The group is among the 44 groups in Sankuri ward who are targeted by the project by the end of the GLIP project. The group has been practicing farming for the last 3 year using Tana River for irrigation on their orchard with mangoes as the main crop. However, In May 2018 floods affected the orchard and everything inclusive of the installed equipment was washed away that resulted to massive losses and a section of the River was diverted far away from their farm forcing them to look for alternative fallow land to start the project again.

Before the introduction of the GLIP project by ADSE, the group was involved in mango farming and small scale livestock keeping that they encountered challenges that contributed to poor produce. The two enterprises have been highly affected during the drought periods which frequently occur within the location and lack of knowledge on management practices. The group lacked information about farming and the inputs to use and they applied indigenous knowledge which translated to huge losses. During the May 2018 floods, the farms were washed away inclusive of the pump set which was the main equipment supplying water from the river source, planted crops were also washed away. The sudden disruption affected the livelihoods of the group members as they all depended on the two enterprises and they now depended on emergency responses.

The group governance systems was poor due to lack of a set framework to act as a guide for them while working as a group. Most of their activities were based on local agreements that did not have any accounting and group capacity building involved at all and has resulted to differences among the group members.  After the floods had subsided, the group tried reconstructing the farms but due to internal differences and lack of knowledge on leadership and governance skills they were unsuccessful. During the project inception processes, the group was taken through the PVCA process to determine the vulnerabilities and the capacities in the location which was a great eye opener for the Sankuri women group as it provided them with a platform to voice their needs and immediate problems. After the PVCA, they a developed an action plan that would guide them for future planning after being taken through disaster identification and mitigation. They have been trained on group leadership and governance skills at the project management committees.

With the trainings on diversification of economical horticultural crops, the group embarked on farming and grew tomatoes and Capsicum as high value crops. ADSE in collaboration with the ministry of agriculture has trained the Sankuri women group on good agricultural practices, pest management among other practices, ADSE has supported them with a pesticide sprayer to combat losses incurred through pest and disease damage to their crops as well as trainings on market quality and aggregation to help us access better prices for their produce.

Upon implementing the lessons learnt in the trainings by ADSE and the Ministry of agriculture, the group has experienced a breakthrough in their enterprises. They now have good group governance and record keeping that helps them know what have invested as cost of production and the gross margins, group has been linked to different stakeholders within the county including the county departments. The training by ADSE and ministry of agriculture, they now hire a water pump 3 times a week to irrigate the tomatoes and capsicum for local market and production has improved greatly and therefore increasing the income. The farm is promising as they sold 80kgs of tomatoes from the farm, made profits and saved some income for the farm operations and activities. The income from the farm is used by members to support their household needs with major part going food and school fees for their children.

The group is delighted for the milestones of success that they have achieved through ADSE for having a functional farmer group that is realizing profits and also moving forward to expand its production activities. The group member lives will continue to improve and attain a self-sustaining level.  The group would like to be linked with more partnerships within the County and National governments for enhanced development in the area on the issues of food security, water harvesting, and linkage to external markets for our products.