The women of Makindu, Kenya – Mangos as an export hit

Women in Makindu, Kenya invest in their own development.
Women in Makindu, Kenya invest in their own development.

Jambo” from Kenya – this means „Hello” in Kiswahili. Today I like to tell you about my fieldtrip to Makindu. I was told that Makindu holds some of the most successful Welthungerhilfe projects. I was looking forward to meet the people there, especially the women´s group.

Rural women´s ability to invest in their own development is greatly delimited. Many women in underdeveloped countries lack the opportunity to improve their quality of life and those of their families, as it happens in the Makindu area of Eastern Kenya.

Just arrived – I got to know Miriam Ndunda and Josephine Mwema. They became part of a women’s group within Wikwatyo wa Kisomo – which means Hope through Education, a local club evolving financial empowerment for the women of Kisayani Village of Makindu – to start income generating activities like planting tree nurseries and mango trees which they sell locally. Miriam even became the club´s chairwoman by now.

Proudly, they both showed me the current achievements:

  • The group has planted over 300 mango tree nurseries in which last year they made over 12.000 Kenyan shilling (more than 100 Euros) from the sale of the seedlings.
  • The group also empowers each other individually, by working in the farms of the other members in turn. Once they compete one farm they then move to the next and replicate the same.

Our local partner has taught them sustainable methods of farming. Josephine now owns a land filled with Mango and Paw Paw trees that she planted four years ago. Although the Paw Paw have not done very well over the years, she has had an increase in income every year from the mangos.

The biggest challenge the women encounter is an oversupplied local Mango market, so they told me. The mango fruit is a seasonal and one of the local fruits that does well in this area. So in „Mango season”, nearly everyone is selling them, thus lowering the overall prices.

But the women group is looking for some solution. The village gardeners are experimenting with new Mango varieties, hoping to lead to fruits that are not all ripe at the same time. With great success: In February, they now harvest Apple Mangos and in May Kent Mangos. And both varieties on the same tree!

Great! What do you think?

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