While 2021 has continued to be marked by the pandemic, our community has faced other needs and difficulties. The most complicated of all has been the lack of rainfall, which has caused many families to migrate in search of pasture. In these situations, the women have to walk more kilometres with the animals, the water is not close, the animals are weak and there is no milk, a fundamental element in the Samburu diet. So it has been a very difficult time for our communities. All this has hit our Samburu women's literacy project very hard, as we have to be more patient, they have to walk further, they often arrive late and tired to the meetings or they can't get there at all. However, with the help of the teachers, it has been possible to consolidate two groups of women in each community, who continue with the literacy courses and other training spaces: in Nonkek, these two groups are supervised by Professor Ann; and in Lpus, by Professor Josephine. In addition, a new women's group has emerged in another village, led by Julita Lekoisa. In this way, we can grow and continue to offer our support, thus giving other women the opportunity to train and learn.
In order to maintain the participation of mothers of young children in education programmes, other elements need to be put in place to motivate them to persevere. Hence the importance of developing strategies that allow us to offer other elements of training and growth. In Nonkek, for example, before the dry season, we set up two productive projects with the two women's groups. We gave them five goats, so that in a few months these goats will procreate and the women will be able to benefit from the breeding of these animals. Although due to the drought we have not yet been able to see the expected results, the goats are doing well and when the rains come we will start to see the fruits. For this work we have put Irene, a young woman from the community who has already finished her university studies in social work, in charge of this work and who is helping us in the projects, especially with the women, providing them with training and accompaniment. The drought and their lack of availability has prevented us from carrying out some activities, such as the human formation trip to Nairobi. We hope that, with the arrival of the rains and when the peak of the pandemic is over, we will be able to carry it out.
This time of drought has pushed us to take action for them, since food is scarce, we must support them and, on school days, give them a snack. In spite of all the challenges we face at this time, it is nice to see how in the midst of need they unite, help each other and even go together to sing at the river asking God for the grace of rain.
In December, we celebrated Christmas with them and their families and in each community there has been a lot of joy and welcome. We have given the women in the programme a gift of art from GAM asbl, a piece of cloth that they use to dress themselves.
So, friends and benefactors of GAM asbl, we want to thank you for the help you offer us, the teachers and all the women involved in the project.
Jimmy Alexander Gil Ocampo
Representative of GAM asbl in Kenya