Climate change is clearly being felt in the areas where GAM is developing its Samburu women's literacy project, which entered its third and final phase in January 2022. Since last year, in Lodoung'okwe (Kenya), we have been suffering from a major drought that is limiting the lives and wellbeing of our communities. This April, which is usually a rainy month, has been very dry. Some families have lost their animals, there is no milk, and many have had to migrate to other places to graze their animals. This situation has complicated the participation of the Samburu women in our training project, although, with great effort, they continue to attend their literacy courses whenever the situation allows.
On top of this, there has been a fuel shortage throughout the country for the past month; the price has doubled and this is having a huge impact on the communities. The prices of the little food they consume have increased by up to 50%. Those who have small shops in villages like ours are disappearing because of costs and debts. In addition, now in May the school year begins and families who have their children studying abroad have no way to send them. In short, it is a very complex situation for our communities.
Despite all this, the Samburu women do not lose their joy and hope that the situation will improve soon. Taking advantage of the school holidays and while their children were taking care of the herds, we organised for them, as part of GAM's training programme, a trip to Nairobi for exploration and training. An experience that they described as unforgettable and for which they are deeply grateful.
On the 5th of April, after a 7-hour journey, we arrived at an organic farm in the metropolitan area of Nairobi, where the beneficiaries of our project participated in a literacy and training workshop given by one of the teachers, Irene Lewanatoop. The training sessions lasted until the 8th of April and culminated with a city tour, thanks to which they got to know the most emblematic places of Nairobi and the country. Most of them did not know Nairobi even from television. Travelling with them was really fun and when they discovered the different cultures in their country, they were impressed and grateful to GAM, because it had allowed them to fulfil their dream.
This activity has helped them, without forgetting their roots, to discover their country, to open their minds in a space far from everyday worries, and where, treated with dignity and respect, they can grow as women thanks to the training given to them by a woman from their own Samburu tribe. This trip allowed them to discover that they are not only Samburu, but also Kenyans, and that, although they are marginalised, this part of the country also belongs to them. This experience also allowed them to discover that female genital mutilation and early marriages are practices that many tribes no longer practice. The experiences gained from this trip and the training workshop in Nairobi also allowed us to appreciate who they are.
Thank you GAM for the support you give us with this project. Thank you, because with your generosity you help to transform the lives of others.
Jimmy Gil Ocampo
GAM representative in Kenya