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Microloans, Rainwater helps Women during draught

Project: Safe Water Solutions for Sub-Saharan African Women

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Source: THOMSON REUTERS FOUNDATION/James Karuga
Source: THOMSON REUTERS FOUNDATION/James Karuga

At the turn of the last century, Central Kenya received four months of Rain every year, which was enough for small scale farmers to make their living and feed their families. Today, those months have dwindled to two months. Rose Wanjiku initially resorted to irrigating from the local river, with the assistance of a pump. The new technology was expensive, however, and Wanjiku soon turned to harvesting rainwater. Gutters have been installed on her roof, and with aid from a local micro finance program, she purchased a 600-gallon tank to store the water. Wanjiku is one of 7,000 Kenyans receiving aid through a water credit scheme allowing homes to purchase tanks to capture clean rainwater, especially important in a country where 17 million of Kenya’s 41 million people lack access to potable water.

Kenya has 29,000 beneficiaries of water-related loans countrywide, with some funds going to building latrines or fix sewer systems to improve sanitation. The scheme also operates in Uganda, Bangladesh and India.

You can read the full article here.

International Women’s Day: A Powerful Reason for Hope

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Women farmers and rural NGO leaders sign a Declaration of Women Farmers to assert their rights as farmers at the 2011 India Women, Food Security and Climate Change Training Program
Women farmers and rural NGO leaders sign a Declaration of Women Farmers to assert
their rights as farmers at the 2011 India Women, Food Security and Climate Change Training Program
Dear Friends and Supporters,
Happy International Women’s Day!
It is fitting that we take this inspiring day to focus on women’s leadership. In 2012, WEA will be deepening the conversation about the centrality of grassroots women’s leadership in sustainable development processes.
At WEA, we have seen first-hand how grassroots women leaders are driving change in their communities.  Through our partnership with the Global Women’s Water Initiative, we see how women are stewards of their water resources and are providing safe, clean drinking water to their communities. Similarly in India, our partner, Gorakhpur Environmental Action Group has been holistically building the capacities of small and vulnerable women farmers so that they can reclaim their rights as farmers: overcoming hunger by farming organically, saving their indigenous seeds and restoring the health of their soil and natural resources. And in North America, Indigenous women leaders are organizing to protect their traditional homelands from industrial and commercial development.
Grassroots women’s leadership is key to building community resilience. Women are leading by example. Their work is community-based and community-driven. And women are building the leadership of others to meet the environmental and climate challenges of our time.
Small tools, big impact!
Small tools, big impact!

Here are some inspiring stories where women are leading by example: Manju Devi, a farmer and trainer in Bihar, India, is participating in the Women, Food Security and Climate Change Training Program, a partnership of Gorakhpur Environmental Action Group and WEA.  Manju has gone on to mentor and guide 144 women on seed saving, mixed farming and organic farming practices in her community. And in Kenya, two inspiring participants of the 2011 East African Women and Water Training brought clean water and hygiene education to a women’s prison Kenya in partnership with their organization, Life Bloom Services.  We also recognize that the exclusion of women from the planning of development programs—whether it is water and sanitation schemes, sustainable land and resource management efforts or climate change adaptation programs—can lead to a high rate of failure.  Through our partnerships with grassroots groups, we can see that when women have access to information, resources, training and peer support, they are able to promote the food and economic security of their families and build their resilience in the face of environmental and climate challenges. And we are honored to support the efforts of grassroots women leaders around the world and share stories of their accomplishments.
It is amply clear that when we invest in women, we invest in food and economic security, community health and protection of land and our precious natural resources. Join us as we deepen the conversation in 2012: how can we powerfully stand with the leadership of grassroots women leaders who are on the forefront of struggle and transformation?
We hope that you will consider making a tax-deductable donation in support of women’s leadership to usher a safer, more equitable and healthier world for all.
In solidarity,
WEA Team