A women group in Kitui County has been using afforestation to fight gender-based violence (GBV) in Kitui County for over five years.
Speaking to KNA Vivian Kanini, founder member of Jordan Youth Group confirmed that the group which was founded in 2017 and has 15 active members drawn from different parts of Kitui County trains marginalized women on how to make a living from afforestation.
“I identify women affected by gender-based violence, train them and later give them seedlings and help them start their own nurseries to enable them become self-dependent as this help in reducing cases of gender-based violence,” explained Kanini.
She pointed out that among the 15 members 10 have used capital earned from the nurseries to start other businesses like mobile money M-pesa services and clothes shops.
“So far ten of the fifteen members have used money from their nurseries to start other businesses like M-pesa and clothes shops and their lives have really changed,” she added.
She observed that most of the GBV cases in Kitui are driven by poverty whereby in most cases the victim entirely depends on the attacker. “Empowering these vulnerable women thus helps in reducing gender based violence cases in the area,” Kanini added.
She noted that though the afforestation enterprise is doing well, they experience challenges during dry seasons as she has to support these women by supplying water to their nurseries.
“I support them during dry seasons to sustain their businesses; I supply water, train and give seedlings for free to enable them to cope with the hard dry times” she added.
Kanini confirmed that they are now supplying tree seedlings to different public institutions and schools at subsided prices.
“The last few weeks have been busy for us, we have so many bookings from different institutions in Kitui and nearby counties of Makueni and Machakos, and it’s a good season for us. This will help us support other victims of GBV as well as green the environment and mitigate climate change,” said Kanini.
Kanini confirmed that the group members plant trees equal to a member’s age during birthday celebrations either at the member’s home or in a public institution.
“If a member turns 35 years, we plant 35 trees in a nearby public institution or in her home,” she said and urged the government and other well-wishers to support the group by purchasing tree seedlings from them.
“I want to request the government and other non-government actors to support the group by awarding us tenders to supply seedlings to public institutions,” she said.
Stanley Marioko Kitui County Kenya Forestry Services (KFS) deputy conservator said that the government through KFS has been training the youth group on various tree species including indigenous trees.
Kanini divulged that the group mostly deals with species of Melia vokensil, Acacia geradii, sycamore fig, croton megalocurpus, Grivelia Robusta, Acacia tortillis, Travellers palm, Neem and Alcaria.
By Charles Matacho